I was gladdened by the sight of those vicious thorns more than I could say, and wondered whether the stories would have gone any differently if the princesses had been the ones telling them.
A book about star-crossed lovers, art, and a fae prince who shape shifts into a raven? YES, please!
In Whimsy, humans practice Craft: cooking, artistry, writing stories, even designing clothing – all of which the fair folk are drawn to, despite their own lack of capabilities to create. Isobel is a brilliant portrait artist, so it’s no surprise when the prince of the autumnlands, Rook, visits her for a painting. Isobel makes a fatal mistake, however, when she chooses to depict the haunting sorrow she sees in his eyes.
As fae folk must never be shown with mortal emotions, Isobel is forced to visit the lands of the fair folk, to stand trial for her crimes against the prince. Everything shifts, though, when their relationship shifts into a beautiful love – for love between mortals and fair folk has been banned as long as time has stood, and the punishment is death.
Isobel is such an enjoyable narrator, right from the very first page. Her thoughts are full of quips and snide remarks, and there’s a down-to-earth sense about her that I feel like gets lost easily in the high fantasy genre. She feels wise beyond her years, yet at the same time, it’s believable to think of her as a seventeen-year-old girl who’s just had to grow up a little too fast.
I was especially fond of her no-nonsense attitude and outlook on life, particularly when the story progressed and her character developed into a young woman who had to learn that not every dilemma in life can be faced with pure logic; sometimes, you have to just go with your heart.
He tried to turn away, but I touched his shoulder. Marvelously, he stilled. He was a head and a half taller than I, and the forest leapt to obey his power, but with that one touch I might as well have clapped him in irons.
Rook. ROOK. What can I even say? He’s so adorable and haughty and self-obsessed and childlike and fun. Despite being a prince (which he reminds Isobel of often in his own self-satisfaction), he is so bewildered by human lives, and some of his assumptions and questions are so freaking cute.
As the book progresses, there’s such a tender and kindhearted aspect of his personality. His kindness is seen as a weakness among the fair folk, and it makes him a target, but he’s just trying to get by in life, doing what is right and living with the fearful knowledge that everyone wants to dismantle his throne. If you like those “precious cinnamon roll” types like I do, Rook’s your guy.
“Is that so terrible? You say it as though it’s the most awful thing you can imagine. It isn’t as though I’ve done it on purpose. Somehow I’ve even grown fond of your – your irritating questions, and your short legs, and your accidental attempts to kill me.”
✘ side characters & fair folk
– Gadfly, who is Isobel’s oldest and most prominent patron. There is so much I want to say about him, but I can’t, because it would be a huge spoiler. All I will say is that I loved Gadfly from the moment we met him, and he made me cry like the big baby I am by the time it was all said and done. What a delightfully written character.
– March and May, Isobel’s younger “sisters”. They’re actually goats in human form, and they’re freaking ADORABLE. They butt heads, and eat everything, and destroy things, and bounce around on tops of cabinets, and basically act like… well, goats. I loved them so much.
– I also want to touch on the lore in this story and how it affects the fair folk. They can’t touch iron, they’re held to a standard of politeness that reaches compulsive levels, and they cannot lie. They pay for favors through enchantments rather than money, but are mischievous, wicked things who tend to trick the other parties into enchantments that go sour. All of these things are so prominent in the story and it showed that Margaret Rogerson actually did her homework. As someone who was obsessed with fairy lore as a kid, I’m so here for this.
✘ final thoughts
This book was a delight from start to finish, and I could barely stand to put it down for anything. I already am desperately hoping for more stories set in this world, because I could not get enough of the precious romance, or the world and magic system, or the fun characters. My only complaint was that it came dangerously close to insta-love, but even as someone who hates that trope, it didn’t really bother me due to the way the relationship progresses.
I loved this story so much, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good high fantasy/fae romance. This was easily one of my top reads of 2017 so far and I can’t wait to see what Margaret comes up with next!
Thank you so much to Simon and Schuster for the beautiful ARC copy in exchange for my honest review. All quotes are from an unfinished copy and are subject to change.