BOOK SERIES REVIEW | The Folk of the Air by Holly Black

TITLE: The Cruel Prince
SERIES: The Folk of the Air #1
AUTHOR: Holly Black
PAGE COUNT: 370 pages
PUBLISHER: Hot Key Books
PUBLICATION DATE: 2 January 2018
GENRE: Young Adult & Fantasy

SYNOPSIS: Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. 

TITLE: The Lost Sisters
SERIES: The Folk of the Air #1.5
AUTHOR: Holly Black
PAGE COUNT: 50 pages
PUBLISHER: Hot Key Books
PUBLICATION DATE: 2 October 2018
GENRE: Young Adult & Fantasy

SYNOPSIS: Sometimes the difference between a love story and a horror story is where the ending comes

While Jude fought for power in the Court of Elfhame against the cruel Prince Cardan, her sister Taryn began to fall in love with the trickster, Locke.

Half-apology and half-explanation, it turns out that Taryn has some secrets of her own to reveal.

The Lost Sisters is a companion e-novella to the New York Times bestselling novel The Cruel Prince, by master writer Holly Black.

TITLE: The Wicked King
SERIES: The Folk of the Air #2
AUTHOR: Holly Black
PAGE COUNT: 326 pages
PUBLISHER: Hot Key Books
PUBLICATION DATE: 8 January 2019
GENRE: Young Adult & Fantasy

SYNOPSIS: You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her, even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

TITLE: The Queen of Nothing
SERIES: The Folk of the Air #3
AUTHOR: Holly Black
PAGE COUNT: 308 pages
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown and Company 
PUBLICATION DATE: 19 November 2019
GENRE: Young Adult & Fantasy

SYNOPSIS: He will be the destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to. Jude learned that lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now, as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time, determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines, she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And when a terrible curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity….

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to the Folk of the Air series.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have wanted to read this trilogy for such a long time but never got the chance to until recently. Everyone talked about it so much and from what I have heard over the years, I just knew I would love it. 

Even though I have finished the books only a month ago, I still think about them and have been wanting to read them all over again. I knew I would love the books, from the beginning, but I never knew I would love them this much.

The world of Elfhame is both so magical and scary which makes it all the more enchanting. Black paints such a vivid picture of the world and characters that you cannot help but visualise the entire setting before you. The books absorbed all my attention and to me, it felt as if I was there alongside Jude and all the other characters.

I loved Jude and Cardan, and a few of the side characters as well but was wary of them all the entire time. Taryn and Locke were characters I could not stand at all but the author wrote each of them in a way that made them seem so real, like a memory of a dream you once had.

Holly Black is definitely a new favourite author of mine and not only am I looking forward to read her other books, hopefully soon, but I am buzzing with excitement for her newest release and short story, How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories! I cannot wait for Cardan’s story and whenever I come across the cover, I stop to gawk. When the time comes, I’ll be sure to post a review for it as well.

The Folk of the Air series is one any reader can easily loose themselves in as it is a story filled with magic, angst, love-hate relationships, power, deceit, action and mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.

Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.”

What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.

If you hurt me, I wouldn’t cry. I would hurt you back.”

So I am to sit here and feed you information,” Cardan says, leaning against a hickory tree. “And you’re to go charm royalty? That seems entirely backward.”
I fix him with a look. “I can be charming. I charmed you, didn’t I?” 
He rolls his eyes. “Do not expect others to share my depraved tastes.”

I am going to keep on defying you. I am going to shame you with my defiance. You remind me that I am a mere mortal and you are a prince of Faerie. Well, let me remind you that means you have much to lose and I have nothing. You may win in the end, you may ensorcell me and hurt me and humiliate me, but I will make sure you lose everything I can take from you on the way down. I promise you this is the least of what I can do.” 

Have I told you how hideous you look tonight?” Cardan asks, leaning back in the elaborately carved chair, the warmth of his words turning the question into something like a compliment.
“No” I say, glad to be annoyed back into the present. “Tell me.”
“I can’t.”

Nice things don’t happen in storybooks,” Taryn says. “Or when they do happen, something bad happens next. Because otherwise the story would be boring, and no one would read it.” 

I have lied and I have betrayed and I have triumphed. If only there was someone to congratulate me.

Let’s have a toast. To the incompetence of our enemies.”

Because you’re like a story that hasn’t happened yet. Because I want to see what you will do. I want to be part of the unfolding of the tale.” 

Father, I am what you made me. I’ve become your daughter after all.”

That’s what comes of hungering for something; you forget to check if it’s rotten before you gobble it down.

There’s always something left to lose.

But I will not stand in front of your happiness. I will not even stand in front of misery that you choose for yourself.”

Before, I never knew how far I would go. Now I believe I have the answer. I will go as far as there is to go. I will go way too far.

Desire is an odd thing. As soon as it’s sated, it transmutes. If we receive golden thread, we desire the golden needle.

Cardan looks at me as though he’s never seen me before. He looks at me as though no one has ever spoken to him like this. Maybe no one has.

I stand in front of my window and imagine myself a fearless knight, imagine myself a witch who hid her heart in her finger and then chopped her finger off.

No matter how careful I am, eventually I’ll make another misstep. I am weak. I am fragile. I am mortal.

He rises from the throne. “Come, have a seat.” His voice is replete with danger, lush with menace. The flowering branches have sprouted thorns so thickly that petals are barely visible.
“This is what you wanted, isn’t it?” he asks. “What you sacrificed everything for. Go on. It’s all yours.”

He looks like a faerie lover stepped out of a ballad, the kind where no good comes to the girl who runs away with him.

Kiss me again,” he says, drunk and foolish. “Kiss me until I am sick of it.”

The three of you have one solution to every problem. Murder. No key fits every lock.” Cardan gives us all a stern look, holding up a long-fingered hand with my stolen ruby ring still on one finger. “Someone tries to betray the High King, murder. Someone gives you a harsh look, murder. Someone disrespects you, murder. Someone ruins your laundry, murder.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.

He looks up at me with his night-colored eyes, beautiful and terrible all at once. “For a moment,” he says, “I wondered if it wasn’t you shooting bolts at me.”
I make a face at him. “And what made you decide it wasn’t?”
He grins up at me. “They missed.” 

He kisses me harder.
“I hate you,” I breathe into his mouth. “I hate you so much that sometimes I can’t think of anything else.” 

Kill him before he makes you love him.

If you’re the sickness, I suppose you can’t also be the cure.”

If he thought I was bad, I would be worse. If he thought I was cruel, I would be horrifying.

Pain makes you strong, Madoc once told me, making me lift a sword again and again. Get used to the weight.” 

The point of a fight is not to have a good fight, it’s to win.”

The Folk doubtlessly learned this lesson long ago. They do not need to deceive humans. Humans will deceive themselves.

Once upon a time, there was a human girl stolen away by faeries, and because of that, she swore to destroy them.

It is said we learn more from our failures than our successes.

Yes, my great villan, my darling god. I will be as sober as a stone carving, just as soon as I can.”

Sweet Jude, you’re my dearest punishment.”

Come home and shout at me. Come home and fight with me. Come home and break my heart, if you must.”

By you, I am forever undone.”

Holly Black is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over thirty fantasy novels for kids and teens. She has been a finalist for an Eisner Award and the Lodestar Award, and the recipient of the Mythopoeic Award, a Nebula, and a Newbery Honor. Her books have been translated into 32 languages worldwide and adapted for film. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret library.

Keep reading and never stop telling stories.

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