Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries – Heather Fawcett

Published By: Little Brown
Pages: 336
Released On: 19/01/2023

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 encylopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at 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.

But as Emily gets closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones – the most elusive of all faeries – 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. 

*****

Thanks to NetGalley and Little Brown for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

This was a book of high highs and low lows for me. It started off well but didn’t maintain it.

Let me start with the positives though.

Faeries and the such like are seldom seen in a serious adult novel, mostly in fun children stories, and it was so refreshing to see. I do like the idea of faeries being real, even if you had to take the bad ones with the good.

I really enjoyed the description of the weather and hostile landscape. I know a lot of people don’t like winter and I know the immensity of the harsh weather in this book is meant to be a negative, a warning, but I would rather spend a festive break in the isolated Scandinavian countries than a summer in the Caribbean. Heather’s description of weather and her use of weather is almost like a character in itself.

There are a number of characters but I’d say the main ones are Emily and Wendell. I immediately took a dislike to Wendell, I found him to be a most unpleasant character. I did like Emily. She knew herself and what she wanted. Yes she could be a bit blunt, a bit rigid, but she didn’t apologise for it. Her passion for faeries really shone through.

However…

I did find it started to get a bit stale about 1/3 of the way through. It felt a bit repetitive and I was starting to wonder if I could skip bits.

I’m not 100% sure who it is aimed at. It’s too grown up to be aimed at children, and whilst it says it’s an adult book, I found it a bit thin on the ground to be really captivating for adults. It needed more meat on its bones.

I definitely wanted more magic. I think the problem with including fantasy elements into a real world – unless it’s expertly done – the magic becomes everyday and it loses its charm.

By the end I was feeling quite disappointed. It started off so promising, but for me, it went downhill quite quickly.

I’m glad I got the chance to read it but I wouldn’t go mad to read it again or insist others did. Having read other reviews, I can see I’m in the minority which is fine. It seems to be a book of either 5 stars, or 2-3. I get the idea that it’s a bit of a marmite book. You either love it or you don’t.

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