Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Fairies by Heather Fawcett #BookReview #Fantasy #CozyMystery

A curmudgeonly professor journeys to a small town in the far north to study faerie folklore and discovers dark fae magic, friendship, and love in the start of a heartwarming and enchanting new fantasy series.

“So endlessly enchanting, so rich and complete and wise that you’ll walk away half ensorcelled.”—Melissa Albert, author of The Hazel Wood

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, muddle 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.

The Story:

Emily Wilde is a Cambridge professor who is an expert on Faeries. She is writing an encyclopedia of faerie lore and decides to travel to the small village of Hrafnsvik to further her studies and add to the knowledge in her encyclopedia. On the trail of the more elusive faeries – The Hidden Ones – she also discovers another mystery that will take more than her genius and research skills to solve.

My Reading Experience:

I found this story to be enchanting. Written in the more formal language of a Victorian novel, it often reminded me of Sherlock Holmes and his stories. This is fitting, considering how brilliant Emily Wilde is and how meticulously she researches things, much like Sherlock Holmes. But the content matter is faerie folk – which adds an unexpected burst of whimsy to her otherwise academic journal entries. The story is an intriguing blend of fantasy, a cozy mystery, history, and even a few elements of a romantic storyline.

I especially liked that the fairies are more as you find them in lore, which means there is a bit of darkness. They can be tricksters, and they can also be deadly, and this also makes the need for an Encyclopaedia that much greater.

This is the first book in a series, and I loved how it ended with a soft conclusion. A little nugget offered will make you eager for the next book but not at the expense of a satisfying close to this part of the story. So often, I fuss about cliffhanger endings, but not this time.

Characters:

The characters are so well developed – all of them. It is as though they could jump off the page and stand beside you as you read their adventures.

Emily Wilde is book-smart and thorough, but she needs to learn how to connect with people. This ineptitude makes her so endearing to me, especially as I watched her more easily commune with Poe, the Brownie, who had a way of fleshing out Emily beyond what was merely adequate.

Wendell Bambleby is a charmer, and boy, did he charm me. His relationship with Emily brings much humor to the story in surprising ways. I loved the banter between these two so much!

Narration & Pacing:

The narration is done through journal entries by Emily, but it reads as fluidly as any other style of narration rather than the disjointedness that can happen with this style. The POV changes briefly, but that is entertaining and the cherry on top of this already scrumptious story.

The pacing, for me, was more medium. I never felt bogged down by the story, and, at times, it sped up rather nicely, so I’m settling for a medium pace.  You will want to savor this story, not rush through, and the pacing is just right for that.

World-Building:

The world-building is also phenomenal. I’ve never learned so much about fairy lore nor been as quickly immersed in the world as I was with this story.  The details feel authentic and bring the world to life. The world-building is simply enchanting and quickly draws the reader in.

Read if you like:

  • Faery lore
  • Mashup of genres
  • Enchanting writing

Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

Originality8
Writing Quality10
Pace10
Character Development8
‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness10
Use of Setting10
All scores, except the overall rating, are on a scale of 1-10. The overall rating is converted to the standard 5-point system.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free copy of the book to review.

33 Replies to “Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Fairies by Heather Fawcett #BookReview #Fantasy #CozyMystery”

  1. This intrigued me the first time I saw it, and after reading your review I’m sold. I need to add this to my TBR. It sounds excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

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