Inside cover blurb:
“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.”
^ SUPER excited to finally be able to use this gif….
I really didn’t expect to love this as much as I did!
I’ve read a lot of fairy books in my day and I’m kind of an expert (in my own mind) at this point. I figured this would be kind of a throwaway, probably because it’s based so much on the idea of painting which didn’t sound appealing at the time.
But Isobel was a pretty great main character, strong-willed and principled. She hardly whined throughout the book, which is a thumbs up. And the fact that her sisters used to be goats is inspired.
I like that these are twisted fairies too. I don’t love the “do-gooder, squeaky clean fairy tale” types- I like the “spooky, trying to trick you into real bad stuff” fairies. The descriptions of the fairy courts are the best part, how all the fairies are obsessed with the idea of mortality and human frailty, how they use glamors to cover how horrible their lives really are. Pretty relevant when you stop to think about it.
There is a slow period toward the last ¾ of the book, where they go on and on about Isobel and her painting. But other than that, this is a great read.
And Rook…now that is a fairy prince. Just the right amount of dangerous/ brooding. 10/10 immortal heartthrob status.
Not sure if there’s a sequel in the works but I’d totally read it.
Plus: Immortal heartthrob, the creepy kind of fairies, and lots of rich details.
Minus: Could have done with a little less painting maybe, but it did work well as a theme.
If you like this book, try:
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black- Holly Black is basically the queen of the fairies in my book. This was her last venture into the land of the fairies…all the way back in 2015! But no worries, her next, The Cruel Prince, is slated for January 2018!!!