Wednesday 30 June 2021

A Deal With An Elf King (by Elise Kova) and An Enchantment of Ravens (by Margaret Rogerson)

Two very different fae-based fantasies... One a hit, one a bit of a miss!

The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.
Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella's village to be their Human Queen.
To be chosen is seen as a mark of death by the townsfolk. A mark nineteen-year-old Luella is grateful to have escaped as a girl. Instead, she's dedicated her life to studying herbology and becoming the town's only healer.
That is, until the Elf King unexpectedly arrives... for her.

Everything Luella had thought she'd known about her life, and herself, was a lie. Taken to a land filled with wild magic, Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold yet blisteringly handsome Elf King. Once there, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.
The magical land of Midscape pulls on one corner of her heart, her home and people tug on another... but what will truly break her is a passion she never wanted.

Hades and Persephone... Beauty and The Beast. My catnip. My kryptonite. This book has all the elements and gives off all the vibes so, needless to say, I was hooked from the beginning and I freaking loved it.

I loved the slowish burn of the romance and enjoyed the slow pace of the story - but acknowledge that some may find it irritating.
The world-building is straightforward and uncomplicated... Especially when compared to Fantasy books in general but I feel like this is a point in its favour as it provides a backdrop for the romance between Luella and Eldas without ever drowning it out. The romance, the relationship between the pair, is front and centre. I'd even argue that this isn't a fantasy book... It's a romance in a fantasy setting and fantasy romance is a very different beast to a fantasy that contains romance... I think if more people went into it knowing that there'd be less complaining on Goodreads... But I digress.

Neither character - Luella or Eldas - was particularly memorable on their own but I liked them both and I liked them together. I admired Luella's compassion and determination and I admired Elda's kindness even though it had to be tempered by duty to his people. The secondary characters in the book were window dressing... Pretty underdeveloped and only there to push a plot point forward but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story.

A Deal With An Elf King is not a perfect read but it ticked so many escapist and happy place boxes for me that it goes onto the keeper and love shelves. It was just what I needed right when I needed it most.

If I'm honest, I'd say that it's the kind of book that people will love or hate... And for me it's love.

Oh! One final point... I'd have been pretty miffed with some elements of the book's ending if I hadn't read the bonus epilogue that you get by signing up for the author's newsletter so that's something to bear in mind... It's something that should 100% be included in the actual freaking book and not as a subscriber grab but oh well.

Every enchantment has a price.
With a flick of her paintbrush, Isobel creates stunning portraits for a dangerous set of clients: the fair folk. These immortal creatures cannot bake bread or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and they trade valuable enchantments for Isobel’s paintings. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—Isobel makes a deadly mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes, a weakness that could cost him his throne, and even his life.

Furious, Rook spirits Isobel away to his kingdom to stand trial for her crime. But something is seriously amiss in his world, and they are attacked from every side. With Isobel and Rook depending upon each other for survival, their alliance blossoms into trust, perhaps even love . . . a forbidden emotion that would violate the fair folks’ ruthless laws, rendering both their lives forfeit. What force could Isobel's paintings conjure that is powerful enough to defy the ancient malice of the fairy courts?

Isobel and Rook journey along a knife-edge in a lush world where beauty masks corruption and the cost of survival might be more frightening than death itself.

I'd heard so many wonderful things about this book that I couldn't not buy it when I saw it come up on a 99p ebook sale. I was in a fae mood and it would have been rude not to. The cover is cool, the title is awesome and - as I said - people seemed to love it so I was excited... But then, it didn't take me long to realise that my favourite part of this book is likely to forever be the title: An Enchantment of Ravens.

Now, I realise that sounds quite negative and I don't mean to be! An Enchantment of Ravens isn't a bad book, it's just a very specific kind of book that I think will leave people enchanted or completely underwhelmed and I was in the underwhelmed category.
It had so much potential but I felt like it just never reached it.
I felt like I was being teased all the way through. Teased by a story that could sweep me away into another place but never did. Teased by a romance that could have been everything but wasn't. Teased by an opportunity that just never manifests.

The world building is pretty cool, with an interesting take on the fae, but it leaves more unexplained than shared. The characters... Well, you barely scrape the surface of them. The pacing is weird, sometimes it's super slow and other times super fast. The romance has so much potential but left me feeling unsatisfied just like the ending which leaves too much hanging!

Rogerson is clearly a gifted writer able to evoke beautiful images and feelings with her words but the whole book felt like an unfulfilled promise and so it frustrated me more than it delighted me... but, just to be an awkward contraction, I enjoyed it just the same and read it cover to cover over a 24hr period.

I just don't know what to tell you... Except that I'd definitely read a sequel if there was to ever be one. Especially if that sequel tied off all the loose ends and fulfilled the promise that this book made but never quite delivered.



  1. A Deal With An Elf King sounds like a book I would like. I will remember to get the extras from the newsletter if I read this.

  2. Your passion for the bonus epilogue is amazing! Hopefully Elisa Kova is listening.


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