An Enchantment of Ravens is a standalone YA fantasy book.
Fae stories rarely work for me. In many books, faeries just feel like a magical version of humans. And if they’re monstrous, they only have appealing monstrous characteristics (wings, mainly).
Most of the times, they’re just thinly-disguised wish-fulfillment characters.
The courts from An Enchantment of Ravens are not places where any human would want to live. They are creepy and dangerous, and their inhabitants are so similar and yet so different from humans that they fall into the uncanny valley.
That’s how I want the fair ones to be. I don’t care about the perfect elf boyfriend with a savior complex; give me the monsters.
But if you are into fae boyfriends, there’s one here too. Flawed.
Rook is a fae prince with flaws that are acknowledged in-text. The story doesn’t try to put him on a pedestal, and I loved him more just for that.
For a monstrous fair one, he understands consent and power imbalances really well, which I liked – some of the far more human fae from other books somehow had a hard time with that.
I also loved Isobel. She’s a painter, and painting is her craft – not only it’s something she does, it’s also a way she sees the world. And she’s human.
Because while An Enchantment of Ravens is a fantasy romance, it is not a become-fae-and-sleep-with-hot-fae-dudes fantasy. It’s a book about how beautiful it is to be human.
The fair ones are eternal, immutable and magical, but humans have the ability to change the world, no matter how short their life is.
“You are like a living rose among wax flowers. We may last forever, but you bloom brighter and smell sweeter, and draw blood with your thorns.”
And humans can feel emotions. Now, this is the part of the book I liked the least. While I didn’t think the relationship between Isobel and Rook developed too quickly – I didn’t think it was instalove – I didn’t like how Isobel implied that romantic love is what makes you human. But it’s only a sentence at the start of the book (actually, she discovers, the fair ones can fall in love) so it didn’t bother me that much. I hate the romantic-love-makes-you-human trope.
The writing was lovely. Never too heavy, never too simple, descriptive and yet light. I flew through the book, and I loved the atmosphere. An Enchantment of Ravens is the perfect autumn book.
And listen: the teapot is of no consequence. You can defeat anyone, at any time.
My rating: ★★★★½