Arc Review: Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett 🧚🏻‍♀️Academic Rivals & Mischievous Fae


A curmudgeonly professor journeys to a small town in the far north to study faerie folklore and discovers dark fae magic, friendship, and love, in this heartwarming and enchanting fantasy.

Publication: January 10, 2023 by Del Rey Books

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Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encyclopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. She could never make small talk at a party–or even get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog, Shadow, and the Fair Folk to other people.

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, get in the middle of Emily’s research, and utterly confound and frustrate her.

But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones–the most elusive of all faeries–lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all–her own heart.


CW’s: Gore, Kidnapping, Violence




Thank you to Netgalley and Del Rey Books for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review! The quotes are taken from the Arc and are subject to changes!

Emily Wilde was a great protagonist! She’s a researcher and scholar who has dedicated her life to studying the Fae Folk. Emily struggles with small talk and generally interacting with other people, so she feels most comfortable in her research and area of expertise. It wasn’t specified in the text, but I got some neurodivergent vibes from her, as she notes that she never quite fit in with others. I definitely related to her awkwardness and loved to see how much more confident she was in dealing with the Fae. She’s determined, hardworking, and passionate about her work. Sometimes it’s to a point where she feels like she has to do everything alone and cannot rely on anyone, so she usually keeps her distance. I loved the balance the story managed to strike between her research and the dangers the local Fae folk pose to the people of Hrafnsvik!

Wendell was such a delight 💕 He’s Emily’s colleague, friend, and rival, but the exact opposite of her. He’s arrogant, vain, and eccentric, preferring to have his assistants doing his jobs. Yet most people succumb to his charm and outgoing personality anyway. It was really easy to like him, as I love eccentric characters that have hidden depths and a great sense of humor. Wendell Bambleby unexpectedly joins Emily’s expedition and he brought so much fun to the story. I highlighted so many quotes from his and Emily’s interactions, as it was so entertaining! Wendell’s also mysterious and I loved getting to know his story 👀 [spoiler: Emily suspects this from the beginning, but Wendell is an Irish Courtly Fae that has been banished from his realm. Turns out he’s also a Fae King who was overthrown and is trying to find a doorway back to his home. I loved how this was executed, as it wasn’t cliche at all! It really explains Wendell’s goals and why he’s so spoiled. I also loved that Emily’s romance was with one of the Fae that she was so interested in! The Fae Folk is known to be mischievous and dangerous and I loved the subtle hints that Wendell also has the capacity to be dangerous despite his easygoing personality.]

I shook you awake, and you said, “Wendell!” in a way that I quite liked. But of course, instead of thanking me for pulling you out of some desperately unpleasant underworld, you began immediately to harry me with demands.

The romance was very subtle but SO good 💖 It’s very slowburn and doesn’t really take off until the very end, but I very much prefer this to insta love! If you pay attention you can see the little hints but mostly the romantic element is in the background. Nevertheless, you still get a lot of interactions between Wendell and Emily. Both of them are Academic Rivals … but only Emily sees them as competitors, while Wendell is a bit oblivious 👀 Even though they might be at odds professionally, Wendell was also persistent enough to befriend Emily and is her only friend, as she struggles to make other connections. This shared history really solidified their dynamic. Both of them are pretty opposite, Emily is withdrawn and stubborn while Wendell is charismatic and outgoing. I LOVED their banter and bickering, especially as Emily knows how to needle him and vice versa. You could also see some tenderness at times, though Emily has become skilled at shutting out all emotion. I was rooting for them so much and the ending has me yearning for more!! [spoiler: Wendell basically admits that he’s been pining for her all this time and probably fell for her first 😭🥺 While Emily is still keeping her emotions under lock, he’s like “I love you and would like to marry you, so you can be my Mortal Queen” 🥺 I just cannot wait to see more of their dynamic in the next book!!]

I loved the vivid worldbuilding and its take on the Fae Folk 🧚🏻‍♀️ The story is set in an alternate 1909 where faeries exist and are studied by researchers and scholars. I loved that the story is told through Emily’s Journal and focused on her research, the titular Encyclopaedia. There are several references and footnotes about the other research in the field and Emily’s passion for the subject brought the world to life. I loved how fae folklore was incorporated, it always felt fresh and exciting. This research field is still really new and fae are hard to come by, so Emily is hungry for some first-hand experience. The main difference in the Fae Folk is between Common and Courtly Fae, the latter ones are your ‘typical’ humanoid faeries. I loved the implication that there are many different faeries all over the world, as Emily has traveled with several expeditions in her career!

I have always hated this sort of thing. I would sooner interview a dozen bloody changelings than navigate my way through the thicker of social conventions.

Emily’s expedition brings her to the town of Hrafnsvik ❄️ It’s an isolated Islandic town, the perfect ground for her research, as the Fae Folk like to reside in the hidden corners of the world. I loved the snowy and colder setting! Since this is such a small and tight-knit town, Emily has to deal with the villagers … even though she struggles with it a lot at first. I liked seeing the villagers slowly grow fond of her and get rid of their initial suspicion. Despite herself, Emily begins to care about the people, unlike on her other expeditions where she mostly ignored anyone. My favorites were probably Thora (an older woman with a wry sense of humor) and Lilja (a beautiful Lesbian woodcutter), but Aud, Aslaug, and the others also really grew on me, especially when they all came together in the end!

The writing style and atmosphere really worked for me! The writing perfectly matched Emily’s voice as it was scientific and dry but also managed to have a certain type of humor that I enjoyed. There was a great balance between dialogue and the beautiful, vivid descriptions of the scenery and atmosphere. I was immediately sucked into this world and loved to explore the desolate and frosty town of Hrafnsvik alongside Emily!

I don’t doubt that most of your success to date is the result of cleverness. But have you ever considered how much you owe to luck?

IN CONCLUSION.Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries was an intriguing historical fantasy story about an expedition to research and study the Fae Folk of a desolate small town. I loved the characters and the hints of romance we got so much! 💕

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Are you going to read Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries? What is your favorite books featuring faeries? 🧚🏻‍♀️


2 thoughts on “Arc Review: Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett 🧚🏻‍♀️Academic Rivals & Mischievous Fae

  1. IM FOREVER OBSESSED WITH HOW INCREDIBLY DETAILED YOUR REVIEWS ARE AND ALSO JUST LOVE READING THEM?? this is fabulousness basically. I LOVE. I’ve been seeing this book all over the blogosphere recently AND LOOK MAYBE ITS THE HYPE GETTING TO ME BUT I CANT WAIT TO READ IT. it’s such a unique kind of premise AND HISTORICAL FANTASY MIXED IN WITH SCIENCE AND A PROFESSOR AND SMALL TOWNS?? sign me up please!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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