I was attracted by the intriguing title and the buzz about this book from respected fellow book bloggers, such as Tammy at Books, Bones and Buffy. Which is just as well, because the blurb made it sound like a fairly ordinary romance with a fairy adventure thrown into the mix.
BLURB: Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encyclopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. She could never make small talk at a party–or even get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog, Shadow, and the Fair Folk to other people.
So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, get in the middle of Emily’s research, and utterly confound and frustrate her.
But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones–the most elusive of all faeries–lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all–her own heart.
REVIEW: This is an enchanting book with lots going on – but for me, the best part is Emily, herself. She is nearly always grumpy, self-absorbed, unquestionably paranoid about her academic colleagues and their willingness to steal her research, socially awkward, often arrogant and outright rude. And I loved her. Because as well as being all of the above, she is also courageous, tenacious, extremely good in a crisis – the more dangerous the better – and despite a lot of grumbling to the contrary, she also has a loathing of injustice and those who use their power to torment others just because they can. Which pretty much sums up a lot of the fairy aristocracy. Yet don’t go away with the idea that she’s on a mission to right any wrongs perpetrated by the fae against the hapless humans who happen to be in their way – as far as she’s concerned, she’s simply there to record what happens for her academic research.
Her voice pings off the page in the book that is mostly written in first person as her private journal, which powers and enlivens the narrative throughout. Of course, if there wasn’t also thumping good story with all sorts of twists, permeated by a wry humour, then I wouldn’t be gushing quite so embarrassingly about this tale. Because I also loved the villagers of Hrafnsvik who are living right on the edge of survival and clearly more than a bit flummoxed by Emily, especially when she first turns up.
In amongst an unspooling adventure about a truly dangerous power struggle within fairy society, there is a comedy of manners where a clash of cultures leads to several misunderstandings and a very slow-burn romance that manages to be amusing at the expense of both smitten and is perfectly paced so that it never gets in the way of the main narrative. I loved Emily’s academic attitude to magic and fairies – and the humour inherent in pulling apart the mystical and unexplainable. Though it cannot be denied that Emily’s expertise comes in handy on a number of occasions. All in all, this is a very clever book that put me in mind of the wonderful series, The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan – and I’m delighted to see that Fawcett plans to write more books featuring Emily – yay! While I obtained an audiobook arc of Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Fairies from the publisher via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
I knew ye would like this one! Lovely review.
x The Captain
Thank you Cap:). And yes – it’s a delightful read!
I also enjoyed Tammy’s review and have it on hold at the library for when I can fit it in soonest. I’m deep into Meru right now and enjoying it.
I hope you enjoy it as much as Tammy and I did, Anne:)).
Thank you Anne! I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying Meru, it’s next for me.
This book is already on my radar, thanks to the constantly positive reviews I’ve read, but I believe that the major selling point would be your comments about the delightful grumpiness of the main character: it’s a trait that I always enjoy…. 😉
Thanks for sharing!
Funnily enough, I was thinking of you when reading Emily – and how much you’d like her grumpy ways:)).
I’m glad you loved this too! Emily was a delight. And I thought the dialog between her and Wendell was so funny and well done. Lovely review!
Thank you, Tammy:)). It was so much fun – and the romance was handled brilliantly.
Well, Sarah, you’ve introduced me to a genre I know absolutely nothing about. This sounds like a good place to start…
I hope you enjoy it, Rae! It’s certainly a quirky read:)).
10 out of 10! I have to wholeheartedly agree with your assessment there, I loved this book! Emily was so charming, and this was just the perfect blend of magic and whimsy!
It was a thoroughly entertaining read, wasn’t it? I’m glad you enjoyed it too:). I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next to Emily.