To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of this book – Click HERE
Total Star Rating: 3.5 Stars
Not too bad for a debut novel!
Fantasy novels that star the Fae are always entertaining; whimsical with adventure, romance and danger work together and this title is a fun addition to read for anyone who love to read about them. It’s a sweeping adventure with a long journey with two characters who just can’t admit to each other their feelings towards each other.
It’s simple, but effective, and is surprisingly a standalone novel, which is so rare for any sort of Fantasy-genre piece of literature, especially one so short. Nonetheless, It was a nice change of pace and a simple, lighthearted, feel good, fairytale-like quick read that could be read in one sitting.
I had some doubts going into this title, basically because it has some mixed reviews on Goodreads, and the fact that I have so many more books I need to read. One of my new coworkers at my new location at work (Same company, but different location) recommended I try it, plus the reviews for the authors latest book, Sorcery of Thorns, have been absolutely glowing, so a part of me felt like I should open this one up and give it a chance, because if I read it after her other title, there’s no way I’d like it.
Also, Charlie Bowater is such an amazing digital artist! She’s one of my all time favs and is the cover artist for this title and plenty others! Seriously, check out her stuff and enjoy! (Link on her name is towards her site!)
What It’s About:
This story stars a young woman, Isobel, who is a master painter for the Fae (this book terms them as the fair folk). Her works always impress her clientele, who can’t produce their own craft, so they seek out humans to cut a deal with. Give them something, and in return they will reward one with some sort of enchantment: to make them more attractive, to make them live longer, or to help their crops for a long dry season.
One day, the Fae Prince of the Autumn Court, Rook, returns to the mortal lands after a long hiatus, and visits her in her home and has Isobel commission a portrait for him. She winds up painting human emotion within her piece; making him appear sad and lonely, and a week later comes back in a rage. To the other fair folk, he now looks weak so she must come back to the Autumn court with him to be put on trial for her offense. Part of her is terrified, but another part of her is excited to leave her town of Whimsy, a land stuck in permanent summer. What must it be like to go to the other courts and see what winter, spring, or autumn for the first time ever?
Along their journey, so many unexpected things happen; they’re both in for more than they’d ever imagined, secrets come to light, but most important of all, Rook and Isobel discover an emotion towards each other that is extremely forbidden…Love. The problem is, Fae and humans can’t be in love by law of faerie kind, and is punishable by death.
What I Liked:
- Prince Rook! Rook was freakin’ adorable! He wins the MVP award of being my favorite character in the whole book. He’s the Prince of the Autumn court and he takes Isobel to put her on trial for her (accurate) painting of him, and along the way on their journey, they end up secretly falling in love with each other without the other knowing, and something about these brooding, snarky, intense guys in fantasy novels and how they act around the girl they fall for is my undoing…it’s so sweet to see their entire personality change, they show a rare smile only meant for that person…god, i’m such a hopeless romantic…Also, his inability to understand sarcasm or metaphors was a huge highlight! It was like Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, and how he takes every spoken word literally. It was like he had some sort of version of autism (or it’s just because he’s high fae), but it was so adorable, and added so much to his character!
- It’s A Standalone Novel! It seems for a lot of fantasy series now a days, it’s all series, and that’s totally cool! But sometimes it’s hard for us to be able to commit to so many at once, and sometimes it’s a nice change of pace to read a single story, which is so rare now. It’s a short, quick read that is a nice little bridge to read between major book series.
- Same Old Fae Lore, But Still Felt Original! So, after reading this book, I’m starting to see a pattern with a lot of Fae fiction that’s created out there: there’s the ability to not tell a lie, the seasonal courts, the weakness to iron, the hindrance towards humans, the strength of true-name, it’s nice that it stays consistent
- The Developing Romance! It felt like a bit of Insta-love, which is so played out, but one thing I really got into was the romance that built between Isobel and Rook. They had some fun chemistry, a lot of hilarious banter, but even just reading the author’s prose, I felt the unrequited love burn between them and really enjoyed it.
What I Didn’t Like:
- The Climax/ Ending…The entire set up of the book was spectacularly done; the build up was so incredibly entertaining, the banter between Rook and Isobel was stellar, but the climax and ending felt so rushed, so anti-climatic. It felt like I was back in 8th Grade reading the Twilight series underneath my covers so no one would see me with how the final confrontation is actually avoided rather than given to us in some epic way we’d hope for. The book also needed maybe 50 to 100 more pages of content and I think it would have been so much more successful. It was like all of Season 8 of Game of Thrones compared to the whole rest of the show, but of course, on a much smaller scale!
- It Needs more Danger!…Like Caraval, this book has a lighter tone and it’s more fun, whimsical, and fairytale-like, and that’s all fine and dandy, but there were parts where I wish more action, more drama, and higher stakes to add more to the story! It was slower paced, which was fine and acceptable, but I can’t read all books that are like that!
Overall, this was an impressive debut from Margaret Rogerson! She has a specific voice in her prose; tons of metaphors and similes, which is a turn off to some readers, but worked rather well for this kind of story. If this is her first published work, I can’t wait to see what else she comes out with!
It was a fun read, but I still wanted more: It needed more magic, more danger, more development of characters besides the two protagonists, more relationships beyond the main romance, more unpredictability, more political intrigue (which is ironic coming from me).
I recommend this title to anyone looking for a lighthearted, romantic fairytale-like story, or for anyone who loves to read fiction that stars the Fae, or anyone who needs a break from the trilogies or the 4+ book series and wants to read a fun, standalone title!
Thanks for Reading!
— Nick Goodsell