As I began crafting my 2023 TBR, I was pleased to see how many amazing books are coming out this month. It has given me something to look forward to now that the holiday season is over. With many amazing books on the horizon, start the year strong with Heather Fawcett’s new release, Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries.
The small sea village of Hrafnsvik is not prepared for Emily Wilde. The cold-hearted professor arrives in town determined to conduct research on the local faerie population, and finish her project, the first faerie encyclopaedia. Emily is an intellectual with a one-track mind, and she ravenously searches for details about faeries. Her brusque demeanor does her no favors with the locals, but Emily’s prickly nature becomes more tolerable when her colleague Wendell Bambleby arrives unexpectedly. Together, the professors will unearth the village’s stories and immerse themselves in perilous situations to solve the faerie activity plaguing the town.
The story is told as though we’re reading Emily’s journal, and each chapter is listed as a specific date during her fieldwork. The professor writes down every minute detail of her day and interactions, so it feels no different from any other book. But Emily’s personal touch is ever present, and the book’s framing gives us insight into her mind and incredible faerie knowledge. To add to the intellectual vibe, there are footnotes throughout the book where Emily expands on the extraneous faerie information she mentions in her research. While some were more interesting than others, the footnotes did showcase how vast the field of study is. These additions are not necessary for the plot, but they do expand the world.
Our characters on this journey are over the top and incredibly fun. Emily thrives on the pursuit of knowledge. She is delighted by any toadstool-covered trail leading to mortal demise. She isn’t cruel per se, but she prioritizes scientific discovery above all else, and it doesn’t make her a popular person. Emily often reminded me of the fae with her emotionally detached perspective. The only person who finds her unbecoming nature endearing is her colleague and rival Wendell Bambleby. Wendell’s haughty and effervescent personality is captivating. Wendell is able to charm all those around him even though he is a selfish, spoiled prick at times. Put these two characters together and you get magic. I was enchanted by their playful, cruel banter and it played out nicely amongst the whimsy of faerie.
The most important part of this book is the faerie elements and it absolutely delivers. From references in the scholarly community to the illuminating tales told by the locals in Hrafnsvik to Emily’s run ins with the folk, it’s all as magical and terrifying as you hope it would be. The exciting part about this book is that faeries are real and are studied at length. The lore that is created about them is vast and they possess certain qualities based on their region. Emily tells us a lot about the variations and beliefs held by the scholars. Even though they are real, the fae are still elusive and much about them is not known. This is where Emily’s tale becomes so fun because even armed with incredible faerie knowledge she encounters situations that challenge her.
Snuggle with a warm blanket this January and explore the forests of Hrafnsvik for guaranteed run-ins with the fae in Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries. You can safely interact with the folk from afar and suffer none of the consequences. You will, however, have read a great book to start off the new year.
Rating: Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries – 7.0/10
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. The thoughts on this story are my own.