All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: How The King Of Elfhame Learned To Hate Stories by Holly Black

on December 7, 2020

How The King Of Elfhame Learned To Hate Stories (The Folk Of The Air #3.5)
Holly Black
Hot Key Books
2020, 170p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

An irresistible return to the captivating world of Elfhame.

Once upon a time, there was a boy with a wicked tongue.

Before he was a cruel prince or a wicked king, he was a faerie child with a heart of stone . #1 New York Times bestselling author, Holly Black reveals a deeper look into the dramatic life of Elfhame’s enigmatic high king, Cardan. This tale includes delicious details of life before The Cruel Prince, an adventure beyond The Queen of Nothing, and familiar moments from The Folk of the Air trilogy, told wholly from Cardan’s perspective.

This new installment in the Folk of the Air series is a return to the heart-racing romance, danger, humor, and drama that enchanted readers everywhere. Each chapter is paired with lavish and luminous full-color art, making this the perfect collector’s item to be enjoyed by both new audiences and old.

I’m not sure if 2020 has finally caught up with me or if the relative freedom and return to normal life has had more of an impact on me than I thought, but I haven’t been reading lately. In fact, I have read just this book (and half of another one) in almost two weeks. Which is pretty much unheard of for me – even when I’m not reading I generally still manage 2 or so books a week. To have finished only 1 in what will be two weeks tomorrow, is a slump for sure. And I only read this because it was super short and had lots of pretty pictures and because it contained Cardan and Jude.

I really loved The Folk of the Air trilogy and Cardan and Jude in all their toxic and fucked up glory. A character like Cardan isn’t unusual, to be honest but I found Jude pretty refreshing. She has a lot of flaws and she’s manipulative, violent and scheming. I loved her. Her quest for power, to be if not as good as the Fae, then “so much worse” was a trip to go on. And I liked that somehow they found something out of it, even after their rocky start. This was a chance to get a glimpse at how it is going vs how it started and also, there’s some background on Cardan as well. Despite their difficulties (Cardan never really learning how to interact with people in a positive way, Jude’s feelings of inferiority as a human raised in a fae world (and training to overcome that) by the very fae whom she saw viciously slaughter her parents, but who also played a fatherly role for her, which gave her all sorts of confusing feelings) and their rocky start, it does feel like the two of them have managed to settle into ruling and find a way to be.

It is beautifully illustrated and I really enjoyed the way it was told. It begins with Cardan and Jude travelling to the mortal world and then goes back and tells a string of stories from when Cardan was younger before returning to the reason they’re in the mortal world to begin with. Each story rolls smoothly into the next. It’s quite short, especially as some pages are full page illustrations and others are the title or pithy “about” sentence of the next story but it was perfect for getting me just to read something. To pick something up that I knew I would enjoy but that would not really demand a lot of my mental energy right now. It also sparked an interest in re-reading the trilogy – I don’t re-read much these days but given that it’s almost the end of the year and I’m not really committed to much, I think I’ll pull all 3 books out and read them all together, which I’ve not done before. I read each one as it came out and you always forget a few of the finer details.

This is a must for fans of the series, especially if Cardan is your thing.


Book #234 of 2020

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