Title:Emily Wilde's Encyclopedia of Faeries
Author: Heather Fawcett
Published:Del Rey Books
Pub Date: 10 Jan 2023
Date Read: 25 Jan 2023
Emily is just about done her work on her encyclopedia and the last thing it needs is some information on the elusive ljosland faeries. After offending the village head-woman Aud, Emily finds it difficult to get the much needed stories, and much more needed supplies to live out the difficult winter there. To add to this misfortune, her coworker and suspected fae, Wendell Brambleby shows up to "help" her with her book, despite being very much uninvited.
The dynamic between Emily and Wendell was hilarious. I found myself at times laughing out loud at the banter between the two."Yes." He flicked another page. “And you shall shut yourself away forever in those old stones with your books and your mysteries like a dragon with her hoard, having as little association with the living as possible and emerging only to breathe fire at your students.”
He has an irritating way of understanding me, at least in part, which is more than anyone else does—no doubt some faerie gift of his. “You intend to stay here, do you?” I said, to change the subject."
Emily's character and mannerisms are so so dry, Wendell's the complete opposite. Both character's grow as the story progresses, but Emily's character has the biggest transformation. She goes from an academic doing things for the villagers not to help but to learn from them, but even so she by the end of it realizes this and goes on to see how that could be perceived. It doesn't make her an awful person, she still helps them, but does call into question the motives. "He shrugged, unruffled by a slight against something he put little stock in, namely, his character. “In any event, these are practical people, and they care more about what you did than the why of it all."
Other reviewers have likened this to Howl's Moving Castle - but I was put more into mind of "Spinning Silver" and "Uprooted" both by Naomi Novik and "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" by Susanna Clarke (mainly for the footnotes that were a delight to read.)