I’d heard so much about this, and read amazing reviews on Goodreads, it felt like I had to have a look once atleast. I wouldn’t call it underwhelming, but it’s just the right amount of everything. And for a paranormal romance, I found there was very little romance throughout the book
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?
Now, I was expecting some real mush, or atleast some intense declarations of love. But all that energy went into world building. This is not a complaint really, but I was promised a Fae-Human romance and that fell little short.
The best part apart from world building remains the humour. The world is a believable one because Isobel is not the damsel in distress and does not hesitate to speak her mind, or even scold Rook for hovering when she wants to pee or have a bath.
Rook as a character is the handsome, spoiled prince in trouble and the appeal he oozes made me blush a lot more times than I’d care to admit. The banter between him and Isobel is flirtatious, with a lot of taunting and leg-pulling. I suppose that’s why this is a Young Adult romance, and the idea was to defeat the monsters first, right?
I like how the entire fae kingdom was divided into seasons – a prince for each kingdom and a king of one season ruled the rest. And seasons can change only when the king dies in a duel. I found a lot of metaphors here – in this universe, one becomes fae by drinking from ‘the green well’. It gives them powers and immortality but strips them off of their humanity. Humans in this world desire to drink from here to become fae, and yet Isobel does not want any of that – she wants to remain human.
Here, I feel like the green well is a metaphor for success – you get everything you want – the wealth the money and the power, and yet you feel no emotion. Extreme ambition can destroy the humanity within us – isn’t this the reason wars happen? I may be sounding too philosophical but this was a major observation I had in this book. There were several metaphors that could fit into our real lives.
The characters are all well fleshed out, like they’re almost sitting with us. The smells, the fragrances and the odours described are too real – perhaps that’s what made this story as real as it could.
All in all, I enjoyed this book. I’d give it a 3.5 (although my goodreads says 4). I’m being generous not just because Rook was an absolute dashing, spoiled, strong, immortal, handsome prince who I’d like to look at forever, but also because Isobel was a brave, intelligent, talented, grounded, practical and smart woman who I’d want to be like if I were ever to be attacked by the King of Summer. But only if I were strong enough to defeat my heat strokes and migraines in Summer. Sigh.