Gosh this book was so stinkin’ cute! Margaret Rogerson did a great job creating a unique telling of the same old Tam Lin tale of a human girl kidnapped by a faerie prince yada yada yada, I’m having ACOTAR flashbacks. So. Many. Similarities. Until, you get a chapter or so in and it takes a very stark turn out of ACOTAR land and into its own adorable adventure.
The basis of the story can be given in just a few sentences; artsy girl paints portraits of Fae Folk who cross the ‘wall’ to her tiny village seeking out her Craft. One day she meets the Autumn Prince who commissions her for a portrait and she ends up painting human sorrow on his face which is a big 'no no' in faerie land. For humiliating our poor prideful prince she gets spirited off to the fae lands to stand trial for her silly crime. Again, lots of ACOTAR flashbacks happening here, artsy painter girl, breaks some silly faerie law, and gets taken by faerie prince.
If you are looking for a fun, lighthearted, silly adventure with faerie lore this is the book for you. I had a great time reading it and honestly laughed out loud more times than I’d like to admit. It’s definitely YA writing so it’s very clean in terms of sexual content or language but it kept me pretty intrigued the entire time. I did not feel like the plot was at all predictable once our MC and her Fae prince set off on their adventure. I do have a few comments though about the writing/story development that I’d like to explore though.
**Spoilers ahead Friends**
There are a few things that I would take away from this book, the first being that the world building needed to be so much more. The author seemed more focused on the little silly quirks about faeries that she sort of left big gaping holes in her world by being too transfixed on the details. An example, one of the most hilarious moments in the entire book is when Rook (Autumn Prince) is attempting to kidnap Isobel. It was set up a chapter or so earlier that when someone bows to a fae they have to bow in return otherwise they are completely driven mad with the need to find that person and return the bow. So our clever heroine uses this to her advantage and in the struggle to pull her across the wall she starts to bow to the prince and he in turn bows back. This goes on for several bows as he becomes increasingly frustrated with her and his compulsion to bow back. It is so funny and so well written I was almost crying with laughter. So clever! There are many moments like this one throughout the story but then Margaret Rogerson would leave giant plot holes like not fully explaining the confines of ‘The Good Law’ and why the Wild Hunt was suddenly chasing them? The Wild Hunt just seems to show up out of nowhere and attacks the prince for no good reason, it just didn’t really make sense. There is also this whole thing about the fae lands dying because of something to do with the Alder King falling asleep? Not sure, it was never full explained.
The biggest thing that bothered me the most about this book was the romance between Rook and Isobel. I WANTED them to fall in love, I truly wanted to root for them, but I just could not. Rook is either made out to be this silly toddler-like oddball or a skilled warrior, no in between. Also, there was a lot of instalove happening here. Both characters were infatuated with one another almost immediately even though they have absolutely nothing in common! Rook is handsome and saves her life a couple times and that’s it, no real connection was ever really established. I do not think it helped that Rook was constantly being made out to be a silly pompous prince. The guy has lived for hundreds of years; he can’t be that naïve to the ways of humans. He has also, apparently, been in love with a human once before so he must have some clue. I truly do believe that more time needed to be spent on world building and character development instead of just trying to force the love relationship. It might have been made to feel more organic that way.
All in all, the writing itself was fantastic, I think that Margaret Rogerson has great potential and I would be interested in picking up her next novel, whatever that may be. This book was certainly good for a chuckle and a sweet story with lots of unpredictable elements to it but its very surface. I believe this one was not meant to be an epic and complicated fantasy it was just supposed to be a cute adorable read. At least, that’s how it came off to me.
So until next time here's a quote from the book:
“Why do we desire, above all other things, that which has the greatest power to destroy us?” ― Margaret Rogerson, An Enchantment of Ravens