- Page Count: 304
- Release Date: September 26, 2017
- My Rating: 5 stars
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. 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.
There’s a cocky fae prince of the autumn court who can shapeshift into a raven.
This book seriously had every element I was looking for and just makes me SO happy. I wish it was September now so I could read this with pretty autumn colors outside!
The basic idea: Isobel is a painter who’s kidnapped by the faerie prince of the autumn court to stand trial for painting him with an emotion on his face. They narrowly avoid the Wild Hunt and end up taking refuge in the spring court due to all sorts of politics and reasons. I don’t want to say much about the actual plot and ruin the way it unfolds, but the Good Law says that if a mortal and faerie fall in love, they both must die…
First of all, the main character totally made the story. She’s wonderfully self-aware, capable, and sarcastic. I was surprised at how funny the story ended up being, too! The prince was arrogant enough that he reminded me of Nikolai or Thorne… so I obviously loved him. His whole character was so well done and I just wish this book was 5x longer. Their moments on their journey (through TOTALLY GORGEOUS SCENERY btw) made me laugh out loud so many times. And he can turn into a raven, so that just won everything.
There were also a lot of the typical elements you’d hope for from proper stories with fae: they can’t lie, can’t touch iron, have power over you if they know your name, there’s a masked ball, their kingdoms are split into courts named after seasons, there’s some kind of blight, etc. I can get picky over how these elements are depicted and was SO thrilled with how it all worked perfectly here. Plus, the writing was absolutely gorgeous!
Soooo, yes. This is totally a new favorite book. Expect to see me shoving this at people for a long time (and posting way too many pictures on instagram). The world in this story was beautiful and I just wish we could have seen more of it! I’m hoping for a sequel (or 7). Basically, this whole thing was a delight.
(Also, pretty sure everything Charlie Bowater creates is the new most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen… just look at that cover).