[Review] Emily Wilde 1: Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

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.

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Book Club Pick for March

I’ve never had even heard of this book before it was recommended at our book club meeting. The synopsis, nonetheless, sounded super cute and enchanting. Although I long couldn’t really imagine how old our protagonist is, as the plot rather sounded like a children fairytale. Within the first chapters, I eventually became aware of Emily’s professorship as much as her relative youth in this position. It took some time for me to get used to the writing style that blends academic article and novel. Till the very end, I don’t think this really added up, but I got used to it and enjoyed it overall.


The Faerie You Know

While Emily explored Ljosland and tries to investigate the faerie population there, she’s soon joined by her colleague. With Wendell’s appearance, the story took a more humorous turn. Although he appeared quite self-consumed in the beginning, I grew to like him just as Emily inevitably did. Their dynamic and their interactions were surely the most fun part of this book. *SPOILER* I long hoped that Emily would identify as asexual, as I read her that way for most of the book. Her blossoming relationship to Wendell was nonetheless quite entertaining. I loved the sudden hints towards his affection towards her, while hers was also subtly implied. Moreover, I loved that his later changed appearance shows the depth of their connection and proves it to be more than superficial. *SPOILER ENDS*


It sounds odd to admit that I find the company of such a boisterous person restful, but perhaps it is always restful to be around someone who does not expect anything from you beyond what is in your nature. – page 224


Inspired by British Folklore

Especially after taking a course about Celtic Folklore, I was intrigued by the sources the author used. I recognized quite some stories and loved their insertion into Emily’s writing and research. The story was magical and even brought some suspenseful twists with it. From the tiny faeries exchanging gifts to the tall ones abducting people—there was quite a variety of things to explore. I nonetheless must admit that I was not completely taken by this fantastic layer of the story. Way more than that, I enjoyed the interpersonal relations growing between Emily, Wendell, and the villagers of Ljosland. This warmed my heart way more than the magical elements intrigued it.


In conclusion,

There are plenty of wonderful moments and elements in this folklore-inspired story. The style merges the narration with the appearance of an academic paper, which nonetheless did not completely succeed in the end. I still enjoyed the original and stubborn characters and their humorous and sometimes also quite caring interactions. Despite the magic, this book was driven by character development.



The author:

Heather Fawcett is the author of the middle grade novels Ember and the Ice Dragons and The Language of Ghosts, as well as the young adult series Even the Darkest Stars. She has a master’s degree in English literature and has worked as an archaeologist, photographer, technical writer, and backstage assistant for a Shakespearean theater festival. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada. Source

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