** This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review **
I feel like I have to preface this review by saying that I really really really liked this book, and cannot wait for it to get into other peoples’ hands. I’m worried this review might sound more critical than I intended, but that would definitely be the way of Emily Wilde.
Emily Wilde is, at her very core, an academic. It is her belief that introducing possibly leading variables such as compassion, friendliness, interaction, or even social niceties into potential research could sully said research. Emily, above all, is very pragmatic and meticulous in her approach to the research of the ways and stories of the faerie folk, and that is what makes her so good at her work.
With this approach, Emily sets out from Cambridge to the Scandinavian village of Hrafnsvik to investigate a variety of faerie folk who have remained unobserved by academia. To her chagrin, her academic rival, the dashing and quaint Wendell Bambleby follows close behind her to “help” with her efforts to study these faerie.
Emily’s tale is, ultimately, a tale of discovery: not just of the fae she seeks, but also of many of the things she has rather pushed aside in her life.
Presented as an academic diary of sorts, Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries starts off very rote and academic. There is an easy cadence to fall into, and a whole heck of a lot of information that gives the reader a lot of insight into how Emily thinks and operates.
As the crazy story progresses, Emily’s academic endeavors begin to uncover new knowledge that justifies Emily’s reason for traveling to this northern village in the first place. As situations uncover, Emily discovers that letting her guard down not only makes things easier for her in the village, but also opens research opportunities that were previously kept from her by the residents of the village.
Hilarity ensues, and we end up with a very different Emily than when the book started.
As a huge fan of world building and character development, Ms. Fawcett does a wonderful job of setting the scene. Writing from the viewpoint of a highly detailed academic, Ms. Fawcett takes advantage of being able to describe people, settings, and situations very bluntly, and with almost rude descriptors. I found it a very refreshing mechanism that you just don’t see used that often these days.
Story progression moves very quickly, but not in such a way that sacrifices detail. The use of footnotes adds to the academic charm, and, in the end, I found myself dratting that the sequel wasn’t shortly behind. Hell, this book won’t even hit shelves until January 2023!
If you are a fan of the faerie folk, historical fiction, semi-academic romance, or even if you just need a change of pace, definitely put Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries on your 2023 reading list. You won’t regret it.