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Which is the real magic?

Cover of Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedi
A review of Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Fawcett's novel is one I've been hearing good things about for months. Many of the people who loved Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree love this one. And since I loved L&L, I've had this one on my tbr for some time. When I had some downtime recently I finally found the moment to dive in. And while it didn't quite match my affection for Baldree's book (and its prequel, Bookshops & Bonedust, due out in November), I did enjoy sinking into a land of cold and faerie.

Professor Emily Wilde has traveled from London to Ljosland (think cold Scandinavian country) to further her research and complete her encyclopaedia on all things faerie. She's settling in to spend several months in the small village of Hrafnsvik, but while her initial contacts with the Fair Folk are going well, her interactions with the people of the town aren't faring as well. She's not too bothered by the fact that she's getting the cold shoulder. After all, it's her work that matters. But when her friendly rival, Professor Wendell Bambleby, arrives in the village to "assist" her with the research, Emily begins to realize that her work will go so much better with everyone working with her, instead of against. By allowing herself to be drawn into the town's concerns Emily is able to discover deeper mysteries, many related to the most elusive of faerie, the Hidden Ones. And where Wendell is a friend to everyone he meets, it's Emily who may be able to provide lasting help.

I'll admit I didn't love this one as much as I thought I would. But I'm convinced this may be more of a "me" thing then a book one. I did love no-nonsense Emily and her passion for her work. I also loved the incredible folklore, stories and the detailed world-building the author has created here. But emotionally? It just didn't give me the zing I expected. Perhaps my expectations were too high or just plain not being in the right mood for this book. That's the "me" I brought to this read. Many, many readers have adored this book. And I find so much about it great, that even if it didn't 100% land, I still plan to read the sequel, Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands (due out next year).

Jul 26, 2023