An Enchantment of Ravens [The Book Depository] is a delight. Margaret Rogerson brings us the magic of a slightly different type of fairies. In this story, the fair folk are a little bit more frightening and savage than usual. However, they can also be fascinating.
The book has a fantastic cover. But the best is the story. Set in a world with spooky fairies, we discover that having dangerous clients is just another way of living. Humans want the fairies for their magic and gifts, coveting immortality. But the fair folk are obsessed with human craft. They buy dresses, cakes, and all types of food. Their vanity is massive, and their egos seem to have no end. They’re sturdy and mischievous. And even if humans want their magic, if they aren’t careful for what they wish for, it comes with a price.
[SPOILERS: this review contains massive spoilers from the book.]
Isobel is the lead character in the story. She is a portrait artist with very dangerous clients: the fair folk. One of them, Gadfly, convinces a friend to hire her services. This friend happens to be the Autumn Prince, Rook. He hasn’t been seen in the human realm for centuries. Because she doesn’t know what to expect from him, she apparently gets nervous.
Rook is awkward. Like the rest of his kind, he has an enormous ego. But unlike others like him, he doesn’t pay that much attention to the craft. He’s more curious about Isobel than the objects that are in her study room. When she paints him, she makes a mistake: she depicts mortal sorrow in his eyes, a weakness that can cost him his life among the fair folk.
Rook is furious and wants her to stand trial for her crime. So, he goes to her house and kidnaps her. Here starts their quest for trusting each other for survival. There more problems in the fairies kingdom that meets the eye. All their charms conceal secrets: from their real appearances to clothing, to how they eat! Thanks to Rook, she discovers that the fair folk are more sinister than she thought previously.
Hunted by Rook’s enemies, they end up fighting a monster in the Summer Lands. There are lots of things amiss in Summer: trees are dying, and there’s something rotten in the air. The beast almost kills Rook, and so she can see him fully. He’s not a monster, he’s different, but he can be very frightening. Without any other choice, he has to rely on Isobel to make it to safety in the Autumn lands so that he can heal.
After an ordeal in Gadfly’s court, secret start to appear. In this Universe, love between a human and a fae is penalized with death. And so, they risk death because Isobel and Rook love each other despite all their differences. Isobel has seen the truth of the fair folk, and yet, she cannot stop loving Rook. Brought before the King, they stand trial to death. But they manage to run and head for her home.
Rook even thinks about killing himself to save her love. But things spiral, and the one to save the day is Isobel. Her brains and knowledge on how the fair folk are and behave saves them. And now, she is the Queen.
Rook is a fascinating character. He copies human behavior but has no idea how humans are. He doesn’t understand irony, and he can take things literally. After reading the story, it appears that the fair folk, and in particular Rook, are autistic. He’s also pretty aloof, and he gets nervous for things that seem common to humans. Even if he has a great amount of ego, and he is very preoccupied with looks, his behavior is quite autistic. Being so literal creates comic situations in the book, but it also makes me think about my Vulcan (my autistic sweetheart). In a way, I saw him in Rook.
I doubt that Margaret found her inspiration to create Rook in autism, but the results are staggering. Many traits of Rook are pretty close to someone with Autism. Whatever the case, Rook is a sweetie that makes you fall in love in record time, despite his actual feral nature.
This book is a treasure. It also makes the perfect read for Halloween. It has love, adventure, horror, and poses a significant question: what makes us human?
Note: this blog contains an affiliate link. I only share things that I love.
Copyright: Images on this post (C) Charlie Bowater (C) An Enchantment of Ravens / Review banner by dePepi.com