Review From User :
Margaret Rogerson was born to write.
This was my most anticipated novel of the year, and I nearly cried when it showed up on my doorstep. So first and foremost, thank you, Simon and Schuster, for sending me a gorgeous physical copy that I will take 10 billion photos of.
This is the type of story that leaves an impression on you. If you're a writer, have a notebook handy, because you're going to want to highlight or jot down literally HALF this book because the language and prose are that gorgeous. I'm not joking when I say this is absolutely hands down the most beautiful book I've read.
I don't say that lightly. I want SO BADLY to share so many quotes with you all in this review but since it was an ARC, I feel that I should wait a little longer. UGH.
That being said, If you have any love for original fairy folklore, this book is for you. It holds true to so much existing folklore, but at the same time, it is totally unique and a free breath of air. The plot is completely unpredictable, in my opinion, and while it was in majority a traveling book, the adventure aspect had me totally hooked. I also found myself laughing out loud at several bits - like okay.. the fairies have to be proper or they get all freaked out. You'll see what I mean. It's great.
Isobel is an artist. Let's pause there. Holy wow did Margaret research her art terms. That, or she must be one herself. She described (perfectly) everything from making paint/pigments from scratch to blending colors in ways that most writers would miss.
Alright, alright. Moving on... Isobel paints portraits for the fairy folk, because since they aren't able to do craft (i.e. cooking, painting, writing...) themselves, they are quite taken by it and collect any human craft work they can get their hands on. Isobel, being the clever girl she is, has found a way to trade her portraits for enchantments that make her farm life easier.
One particular fairy, who I won't spoil yet, tends to keep coming back to her for more and more portraits and in return, he helps her with such. (I ended up loving this character as much as I loved Rook because UGH so much sass, I love him. *whispers into the void...Can he please have his own book* )
And then one day, said fairy is all like 'Oh by the by... the Autumn prince is gonna show up tomorrow and you're going to paint his picture OK BYE.'
So Isobel freaks out. I would too.
Anyway, said prince shows up in a SUPER COOL WAY that I will not spoil, and as you can tell from the synopsis, his name is Rook. And he's adorable. I literally cannot.
I don't want to say much more aside from what you can glean from the synopsis because let's face it, the book is too good to spoil, but in short - faeries don't have 'emotions' save for love really... and that's even rare. Isobel sees a sorrow in Rook though and dares to paint it on his face. When Rook receives the final painting, he's pissed, because sorrow makes him look weak. He drags Isobel from her home and whisks her off to fairyland to 'stand trial'.
But the journey is nothing like they imagine.
All in all, every minute of this is breathtaking, heart-wrenching, and you won't want to leave this world. My only complaint is I feel like there were too many loose ends (and the ending felt a little rushed) so as I read the last page, I was like... what There has to be more, right
So my hope is that Margaret plans to write us 9023032984234 more books. And at LEAST one more in this world following Rook and Isobel. That being said, she totally got me. While I did see the plot twist about *someone* coming, I did NOT see the ending coming. Holy crap. So like, I loved it, but I was also like... what I NEED MORE....
Ps... I drew a hand-lettered quote that you can get via my Etsy, linked below!
My Blog ~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Etsy
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them.
Expand text… But when she receives her first royal patron – Rook, the autumn prince – she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one – at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.
Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.