This fall I made a more conscious effort to read books for just the fun of it. Mostly, this meant a lot of YA novels.
Growing up, I was a sucker for fairytales. Hours upon hours of Disney princess movies led to bringing home fairy tale collections from the school library. Once I had read through all of those, I traipsed all about the yard in my moms old bridesmaids dresses making up my own. Eventually, this evolved into writing my own.
And somewhere in the past few years I had let myself forget that.
And then I read Margaret Rogerson’s An Enchantment of Ravens.
Rogerson’s debut novel is a splendid new fairytale set in a world of old folklore with a fresh twist.
The fair folk are a fairy race who cannot create anything lest they die. As a result of their limitations, they will pay great amounts for beautiful handmade goods. Isobel is the best portrait artist the fair folk know, and it’s not a surprise when a fairy prince, Rook, comes to have her paint his portrait. Isobel paints the human emotion of sorrow into his picture—a crime punishable by death. To be tried for her crimes, Rook takes Isobel captive and she discovers the fair folk’s world isn’t everything her world has come to think it is.
Rogerson’s artistic background is a major asset to the telling of this novel, not only in the realism she brings to Isobel’s abilities, but also in the beautiful world within the book. It takes something special for the book to have a strong aesthetic, but Rogerson sets scenes with great strength. The images are not over-described, and yet so vivid.
The story keeps a quick pace and the tension rises nicely. Her characters are strong and believable and her world is one I would love to return to. I would have not guessed this was her first novel.
Reading her book reminded me of a love of fairy tales I haven’t returned to in too long a time. I’m now revisiting old favorites and why I was inspired by them in the first place.