A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross
Publication Date: February 15th, 2022
Hardcover. 480 pages.
About A River Enchanted:
"Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.
As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.
With unforgettable characters, a fast-paced plot, and compelling world building, A River Enchanted is a stirring story of duty, love, and the power of true partnership, and marks Rebecca Ross’s brilliant entry on the adult fantasy stage."
I picked up A River Enchanted without really knowing much about it and I was thrilled to find one of the most beautiful and engaging books I've read in a while. Ross' writing in A River Enchanted is beautiful and enchanting and I was truly captivated. I had been struggling to get into books and focus on them when I decided to pick this one up, and I was immediately sucked into this world and found myself losing track of time while reading, which was such a wonderful things to experience once again.
A River Enchanted follows Jack Tamerlaine, a bard who hasn't visit his home on the isle of Cadence in ten years and who has no plans to do so until he is summoned back home to help inhabitants of the isle figure out why their daughters are going missing. Tensions between the east and west areas of Cadence are high, and the spirits of the isle are causing more concern than Jack knows how to deal with.
The first and most important thing to know about A River Enchanted and the isle of Cadence, in particular, is that it's overflowing with magic and folklore. I love stories like this one where you can feel the magic on each page, no matter how subtle or overt it may be. Ross does a truly excellent job of capturing the fact that this setting is something special and that its inhabitants live a life far different from those on the mainland.
I really enjoyed getting to know Jack, Adaira, and all of the other characters we meet throughout this story, such as Jack's mother, Sidra, Torin, and many others. They were all really well-written and had distinct personalities that each contained their own unique motivations and struggles that felt realized and authentic. I particularly liked watching Jack's development as someone who somewhat rejected the life he was first raised in for his own life and career on the mainland, but comes to realize that no matter how much he may try to distance himself, he will always be a part of Cadence in one way or another. As previously mentioned, Jack is a bard and I liked how Ross showcased his talent for music, as well as his compulsion and love for what he does so well.
Adaira is also a complex character that has many of her own personal struggles plaguing her as she reunites with Jack in order to attempt to find the missing girls on Cadence. Adaira has a lot of passion and motivation to be the best leader that she can be, and because of that makes many important and difficult decisions that affect many aspects of her life. Additionally, we have the character Sidra who is equally passionate about her role and is always ready to do whatever is necessary to make sure life is safe and content for those around her. I really loved getting to know both Adaira and Sidra, and I think Ross made them both really compelling characters. I enjoyed seeing how
The beautiful, sometimes melancholic setting of Cadence was wonderfully created, and I really enjoyed Ross' development of the east versus west conflict in the story, as well as the background for the evolution of this conflict. I really appreciated how many different elements of folklore she included, from a myriad of stories that the characters tell about the isle and its history to the spirits themselves and stories and background about all of them. All of this detail and thoughtfulness to the history of the isle really brought it to life and made it feel like a living, breathing character the same as any of the human characters in this book. Everything in this book had a wonderful balance of feeling magical, a little ominous, oddly comforting, and was full of imagination. This is the perfect escape into another world.
Overall, I've given A River Enchanted five stars! I was so relieved when I saw that this book would indeed have a sequel, and I will therefore be counting down the days until I get to read it. If you are looking for a book that is full of magic, folklore, and a wonderful setting, then make sure you pick up a copy of A River Enchanted when it is released. I promise you won't regret it!
*I received a copy of A River Enchanted courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*