An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

“You are like a living rose amongst wax flowers. We may last forever, but you bloom brighter and smell sweeter, and draw blood with your thorns.”

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I’ve been really excited for An Enchantment of Ravens for a long time, so when I managed to get an ARC in a twitter trade (thanks again, Kelly!) I was over the moon! This book pulled me right out of my reading slump and is literally the perfect autumnal read.

An Enchantment of Ravens follows Isobel, a portrait artist living in the town of Whimsy, whose citizens mostly serve faeries through their ‘craft’. Isobel is a master of her craft, and is renowned both throughout Whimsy and the faerie courts. However, when Rook, a prince of the autumn court, commissions Isobel to paint him, she makes one deadly mistake – Isobel sees mortal sorrow in Rooks eyes and adds this detail to his painting, a weakness which could cost him his reputation and his crown. Rook then sets off to take Isobel to the autumn court to stand trial for her mistake, but the path through the faerie courts is a dangerous one for mortals to tread.

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So first off, I have to say – I definitely thought I was over faerie books, at least, YA faerie books. An Enchantment of Ravens, however, is unlike any other faerie book I’ve ever read. Although it incorporates all of the usual faerie-lore, such as an aversion to iron, being unable to lie etc, it still managed to be so unique. The faeries of Isobel’s world are unable to create anything seen as human craft (which ranges from painting to cooking, and everything in between) and therefore, they crave it – hence Isobel’s high end clients of the faerie world. I’ve always been a fond artist, and so I loved that Isobel was a painter, and the details of her painting style, method, and even her favoured oil paint colours really are what made this book stand out to me. You really could tell that Margaret Rogerson had done her research when it came to Isobel’s art, as literally no detail from the pigments to the creation of each oil painting was missed out. The descriptions throughout were vivid and beautiful, and I found it incredibly easy to picture Isobel, Rook, and their journey from Whimsy through to the Autumn court.

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I’m not generally a fan of journey books, however, this managed to be a journey book without feeling too much like one for me to get tired of the theme. The majority of the journey focused on character and relationship development, rather than jumping from one path-blocker to the next, and again, this really made the overall story for me.

If I had to give one slight criticism, it’s that I think An Enchantment of Ravens certainly could have benefited from being a bit longer. I believe it’s just about 300 pages long, and I definitely could have read about Isobel and her story for another 200 pages or more! I connected with her as a main character instantly – besides immediately clicking with her love of art, Isobel was a smart, down to earth protagonist, and you all know how much I love strong female characters. The writing was also absolutely beautiful – I cannot stress enough how much each sentence within this book was just perfectly crafted. Unfortunately, I believe that this book is a standalone, however I can say with confidence that I’ll immediately pick up anything else that Margaret Rogerson writes.

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An Enchantment of Ravens is out today and I’d highly recommend that you add it to your autumn TBR!

(PS. we’ve also just released a candle inspired by An Enchantment of Ravens on Two Candle Thieves! Take a look here!)

Love Becky @

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This Savage Song – V. E. Schwab


This Savage Song is the story of Kate and August, the heirs to the two men in charge of either half of Verity, a city torn by monsters that are formed from the violent acts of sinners: the Corsai, formed of shadow and feeding on flesh; the Malchai, the blood drinkers who roam the streets; and the rare Sunai, the coal-eyed, human-like soul eaters. Kate and August, through family feuds, should be enemies. This is what happens when their lives collide. 

Disclaimer: 
we were both sent this book by the publisher, Titan Books, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are our own.


Becky’s Thoughts:

This Savage Song is definitely unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and it was right up my street. A dark urban fantasy written from two points of view, some amazing badass characters, an ending full of suspense and leaving me needing the sequel already, and on top of that, monsters?! This book was amazing! I feel like I’ve read so many books about vampires, werewolves, fairies, angels and demons, chimaera, even zombies, but monsters seem to be often sadly left out of fiction. I’m officially putting out a call to action for more monster related books to be written. 
Anyway, this book. it was perfectly written and laid out, with the sections being titled as verses, and the idea of the story being a song was prevalent throughout. 
Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal.
Sing you a song and steal your soul.

I was so hooked on this book that I was genuinely counting down the minutes until I could carry on reading it whenever I wasn’t able to. I connected with the characters so well, and a relatable character is one of the main necessities in a book in my opinion. 
First, there’s Kate, the daughter of crime lord Callum Harker who runs one half of the city. She was a character who I fell in love with straight away. She distances herself from others and shrouds herself in anger in an attempt to impress her father, but has deeply hidden secrets and problems that she buries. August is the adopted son of Henry Flynn, who runs the other side of the city. August is a monstrous boy who just wants to be normal. I loved both of these characters, as well as their interactions with each other and the way that their friendship developed through the book. They are completely different, but complement each other perfectly, and this development and their journeys, both separately and together, are at the heart of the plot. The story also revolves around the idea of looking at who is truly the monster in the situation; those who are called monsters, or the men who use and control them. 
As I said earlier, this book is so unique and I did thoroughly enjoy it. It’s not even been released yet, and I’m already anticipating the sequel!

Angharad’s thoughts:


+ V.E. Schwab can do no wrong when it comes to writing monsters. She takes the concept of them (which has been done so many times) and turns it on its head. This novel doesn’t only explore monsters vs monsters but more importantly, the roles humans play in showing that not all monsters are monstrous and not all humans are good.

“It hurts,” he whispered.
“What does?” asked Kate.
“Being. Not being. Giving in. Holding out. No matter what I do, it hurts.”
Kate tipped her head back against the tub. “That’s life, August,” she said. “You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts.”

+ I love that at the heart of this story is the friendship between Kate and August. Yes, you heard me, friendship. Whether or not their relationship develops in the sequel remains to be seen but at the moment, I am so happy with their journey as friends. I think authors can forget the strength in friendship. Kate and August are polar opposites (not just because they are different species) and yet they come together to form a mutual trust and a formidable team. They sacrifice a lot for each other and I’m exciting to see where their journey takes them.

“I read somewhere,” said Kate, “that people are made of stardust.”
He dragged his eyes from the sky. “Really?”
“Maybe that’s what your made of. Just like us.”
And despite everything, August smiled.

+ Kate Harker is a wonderfully written character. We meet her as she is burning down her boarding school’s chapel. Yep. After the death of her mother, Kate’s father sent her to six different boarding schools, all of which she purposefully got kicked out of. Her goal is not just to live with her father but to be like her father. Kate commits cruel acts but she has a good heart. She thinks this is the only way to win her father’s approval. She is brave but lonely, automatically isolating herself as she doesn’t want to do anything that will make her father class her as weak. She finds solace with August who doesn’t judge her because she is the daughter of an important (but assholish figure.) 

Kate smiled at the praise, even if it was an act. She’d show him. She could be strong. She could be cunning. She could be cold.

+ August is one of the three monsters in this book. He is a Sunai, a creature that is able to lure victim’s towards them with music only to kill them by feeding on their soul. He sounds scary right? Nope. August is a little golden retriever. He dotes on his adoptive family, wishes he was normal and has a very good heart. I loved his relationship with his sister, Isla (who I want to see a LOT more of in the sequel) and he is proof that not all monsters have a monstrous heart.

I am not a monster, that’s what he wanted to say, but he couldn’t. He hadn’t found a way to make it true.

+ One thing that I loved in this book was the mention of disabilities. Kate has lost her hearing in one ear and that is never mentioned and then forgot about a chapter later. It hinders her a lot but she still pushes on. August, due to the hunger that he often experiences, develops moments of sensory overload. As a person on the autistic spectrum, I too suffer with this and V.E. Schwab described these episodes in perfect detail. People just don’t get it when I can sometimes shout “It’s too loud!” so it’s so refreshing that this is explored. 

August cringed; the overhead lights were too bright, the scraping of chairs too sharp. Everything was heightened, like the volume on his life was turned up but not in an exciting way. Noises were too loud and smells too strong and pain — which he did feel — too sharp.

+ Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I did enjoy Vicious more so that’s why I’ve knocked off half a star. I can’t wait for the sequel so I can lose myself in the world V.E. Schwab has created. If you want a book with a strong friendship, flawed but wonderfully written characters and monstrous worlds, then this is the one for you.


This Savage Song is released on the 7th June in the UK and the 5th July in the US.

A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J Maas

• this review will be spoiler-free •

from the blurb:
Feyre is immortal. After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. 

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her girls and decide her fate. 

“I wonder if some part of me knew what was waiting for me. That I would never be a gentle grower of things, or someone who burned like fire – but that I would be quiet and enduring and as faceted as the night. That I would have beauty, for those who knew where to look, and if people didn’t bother to look, but only to fear it… Then I didn’t particularly care for them, anyway. I wonder if, even in my despair and hopelessness, I was never truly alone. I wonder if I was looking for this place – looking for you all.”


I’ve been looking forward to reading this book ever since I finished A Court of Thorns and Roses. In fact, I was so desperate for it that when the copy I’d ordered didn’t arrive on time, I went straight to town and bought a new copy (which happened to be a signed copy, so for once, I won’t begrudge my impatience!) 
This book as a whole was a strong, addictive piece of writing – something that I’ve come to expect from Sarah J Maas. When it was announced that this would be a reselling of the story of Hades and Persephone, I think a lot of fans worked out what (or who) that meant that this book would feature a lot of. ACOMAF explores some new areas of Prythian as well as expanding on old characters and introducing new ones – almost all of whom I loved, especially Mor. As with ACOTAR, the majority of the action was definitely in the last third of the book, and once again this irritated me slightly but has also left me anticipating the final book in the series. Looking back, this middle section definitely had a lot of important character and relationship building parts, and I’m so glad that they were included. 
ACOMAF also deals with a lot of important issues, mostly related to what is right and wrong within a relationship, and the importance of equality. 
I was blown away by this book, and had no choice but to give it 5/5 stars! 
Is anyone else reading A Court of Mist and Fury at the moment? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

– Becky x 

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas


“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

A Court of Thorns and Roses is Sarah J. Maas’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The story follows Feyre, a young girl who is forced to hunt in order to keep her father and sisters alive. However, when Feyre kills a wolf that turns out to be a faerie, she is taken across the wall that divides the mortal lands and faerie lands to pay for her crime by spending the rest of her life in the Spring Court of Prythian, where she will face trials that she could never have anticipated.


Angharad:
Oh wow, this book was a roller coaster of a ride.

I almost put the book down after 100 pages. It just did not hook me in any way and I found the huge information dumps about the fae world to just be monotonous. Although in its defence, I have never been a huge fan of fairy tales/stories. I was originally going to give this book 1 star but the last 100 pages saved it, in my opinion.


Before the last few pages, I was reading purely for the sake of reading. I found Feyre’s time in the Court to be so uneventful that I nearly tore my hair out. Painting, eating, hunting, painting, eating, hunting and on and on and on. The occasional event happened but other than that, it was extremely boring.

On to the romance side of things. The relationship between Feyre and Tamlin, in my opinion, was quite problematic (the whole bite thing. Her fault apparently??) but other than that, it was… there. They were basically like horny teenagers. The three characters I enjoyed the most were the side characters – Lucien, Rhysand and Nesta. 

Basically, to cut a long story short, as soon as the trials began, so did the story. It’s such a shame that we had to wait until the end of the book for that. I’ll be in no rush to get the sequel.



Becky:

Well. What can I say about A Court of Thorns and Roses?
I LOVED THIS BOOK.


I haven’t found a fantasy novel that I literally couldn’t put down in a very long time (probably since I read Throne of Glass, to be honest) so I was so happy when I was immediately sucked into Feyre’s story. 


I thought that Maas adapted the classic story of Beauty and the Beast enough so that it didn’t feel as though you knew exactly what was going to happen whilst reading, but at the same time the inspiration for the book still very much shone through. A Court of Thorns and Roses really is a fairytale through and through – from the events leading up to Feyre’s actions and the consequences of it, the way that the love story develops, the folklore elements, to the three trials at the end of the book. As always with Sarah J. Maas’s books, it was written beautifully and I thought that the world building was perfect – I really could imagine what both the locations and characters looked like whilst reading. 

As for the characters, I loved Feyre from the beginning. The Hunger Games (as it did for many others, I imagine) ignited in me a love for girls who are good archers, and Feyre’s passion for art touched a soft spot too. As well as this, I loved that she had shouldered the task of keeping her family alive, despite being the youngest and not really being noticed or appreciated for all that she did for them. Her strength and bravery carries on throughout the book, when she willingly goes with Tamlin to Prythian in order to protect her family yet again, and when facing the three trials. 

On to Tamlin – of course, I hated him to begin with, but as his and Feyre’s romance developed, he grew on me more. However, Rhysand is the faerie that truly has a place in my heart after reading this book. 
I really enjoyed most of the other side characters as well, especially Lucien and Nesta (her development was perfect!) and Amarantha was an amazing antagonist. 

I did feel like this would have worked really well as a standalone book, but at the same time I am so glad that it isn’t and I can’t wait for the sequel!

I’d definitely recommend A Court of Thorns and Roses to all fantasy and fairytale lovers, and definitely to people who’ve loved the Throne of Glass series so far!



Have you read A Court of Thorns and Roses? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!