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BOOK REVIEW: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

BOOK REVIEW: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly BlackThe Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
by Holly Black
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

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.

Review:

The Cruel Prince was a magical tale that swept me away.  With deceit, lies, and personal motives swirling through the pages, there was so much unknown within this story.  I loved the characters, I loved the way everything unfolded and I have a feeling this series is going to be one of my favorites!  If you’re a fan of YA fantasy or enemies to lovers, then you definitely need this series on your tbr if you haven’t read it already!

What they don’t realize is this: Yes, they frighten me, but I have always been scared, since the day I got here. I was raised by the man who murdered my parents, reared in a land of monsters. I live with that fear, let it settle into my bones, and ignore it. If I didn’t pretend not to be scared, I would hide under my owl-down coverlets in Madoc’s estate forever. I would lie there and scream until there was nothing left of me. I refuse to do that. I will not do that.

The prologue started off with a burst of action, bloodshed and I couldn’t help but be glued to the pages.  After Jude, her twin sister Taryn and her older sister Vivi witnessed something horrific, they were whisked away to Fairie.  The world they were brought into could be so cruel and twisted.  And even though Madoc, Vivi’s father, treated Jude like his own, the others in Fairie weren’t so kind to them.  Jude and her twin were bullied at school.  And Prince Cardan and his friends were the worst of the tormentors. But Jude refused to be backed into corners or made to feel less by others.

I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

I loved Jude with my whole heart!   She was smart, cunning, fierce and stood up for others and what she believed in.  Jude always worked so hard to try and make herself stronger.  So we got to witness as she persevered time and again, I had so much respect for her!  I loved that she could get away with lies, since the Fey couldn’t lie.  And while that may sound awful, she lived in such a ruthless world.  She needed every advantage she could get.  But I loved most of all that Jude had no problem standing up to Prince Cardan.  Jude was loving, relentless, passionate and in the end she played a dangerous game that had me clapping out loud!

“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”—I throw his own words back at him—“this is the least of what I can do.

Cardan was deliciously complex.  Him and his friends came across as ruthless and had no qualms with taunting Jude.  Or asking her to back down, surrender, or put her into situations that felt dangerous.  I didn’t know what to think of Cardan, other than I was obsessed.  I loved that he saw so much and how he spoke.  Even if his words were cruel.  And when we got a tiny peak into Cardan’s life, it was not the wonder I thought it would be.  My heart bled for him.  So of course I looked deeply into any moment he seemed to help Jude, even if he had just hurt her.  I tried to find his redemption.  And in the end, I loved that Cardan was clever and my newest book boyfriend!

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

But just like Cardan, Jude was also complex, and so were their relationships with others.  I tried my best to figure out who I should like.  Who I should trust.  Because in Fairy, nothing was as it seemed.  Taryn, Vivi, Madoc, Locke, Dain, and so many others left me feeling conflicted.  And on top of that, I had so many questions. Looking back, there were lots of answers.  It was amazing how much sense moments and words, from the past, made sense. At the time they were shrouded in puzzles, or made to seem like something else. And as those little pieces started to come together, the pictures it showed were shocking.  I gasped out loud quite a few times.  And while I did guess the ending, so much going into it was unknown.

His hand slides lower on my hip. I narrow my eyes at him.
“You really hate me, don’t you?” he asks, his smile growing.
“Almost as much as you hate me,” I say, thinking of the page with my name scratched on it. Thinking of the way he looked at me when he was drunk in the hedge maze. The way he’s looking at me now.

The Cruel Prince enraptured me with its intricate tale. They all lived in such a dark and twisted world, filled with bloodshed and death, where anything was possible.  So whether it was a bargain that was made with the devil or a moment that reminded me of a scene from The Princess Bride, this book played out like a movie in my head!  And the betrayal in these pages?!  Oh my.  It cut so deep.  Too deep.  But I rooted for Jude every step of the way.  And when her plans started to play out, you couldn’t stop the constant smile on my face.  I’m officially obsessed with this book and I have such high hopes for the next book in this trilogy!

I take a deep breath and decide that if I am really going to do this, I could use some help. “What do you think about stealing a crown? Right in front of the kings and queens of Faerie?”
Her grin curls up at the corners. “Just tell me what I get to blow up.”

PS I loved the Bomb, Roach & the Ghost!

BOOK REVIEW: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

BOOK REVIEW: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly BlackThe Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)
by Holly Black
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

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.

“Carda—” I remember myself and sink into a bow. “Your Infernal Majesty.”

I honestly feel like I am one of the last people on GR to have read this book. I want to commend all of you, though, because even though I did skim a lot of reviews and saw a million different versions of the sentence “WTF THAT ENDING, THO” I never once was spoiled! Do you know how rare that is?!?!? I think you all probably do. So great job, everyone. I really appreciate it because even though I was dreading/terrified of finding out what the ending was, I really thought I might have figured it out before I did. Hahahahahah nope. What a sucker punch. You better believe I have loads to say about it under a spoiler tag later on…

Cardan gives me a look up through his lashes that I find hard to interpret and then rises, too. He takes my hand. “Nothing is sweeter,” he says, kissing the back of it, “but that which is scarce.”

Soooo basically this book was WAY better than the first. I liked the first, I liked the characters, but looking back I hadn’t connected like I should have. I was sucked into this one immediately. It seemed like we hit the ground running with Jude, right on the very first page. She already had so many schemes going on and I was so nervous for her. Honestly even though Cardan is the appeal factor in this series, Jude makes the entire thing. SHE IS SO BAD ASS. I’ve been thinking about this for a few days now and I think Black went above and beyond with her character. There were points in both books where I would…get annoyed (?) whenever she mentioned being frightened when she was around a certain character or her life was being threatened. I kept thinking, ‘Jude, you’ve lived in this place all your life and look how far you’ve made it! Why are you scared??’ BUT. YOU GUYS. That is so dumb of me because she’s human! And mortal! And her body is relatively so fragile. And…I honestly think that all of those facts make it that much more impressive that she tricked Cardan into taking the crown and became his seneschal and literally every other plot she’s put into movement. And the fact that she’s tricked faeries that have been alive for probably centuries is just….it’s so good. I love her. And I also love that even though she’s accomplished all of those things, she’s completely clueless when it comes to feelings involving Cardan. I’m leaving that subject alone though haha. That’s for the reader to enjoy alllll on their own.

“You made me the High King, Jude. Let me be the High King.”

AND SPEAKING OF CARDAN. I fell so much deeper in this book. My interest was certainly piqued in the last 25% of CP but in this one we get to know him so much better and find out that he has so much more to him than you initially would think. He’s funny AF. SO FUNNY. He *cares* about Jude. He has what it takes to truly be a really great king. I mean, wow. I was glued to very single interaction between him and Jude. Like she just didn’t get it and that can’t be more funny to me (while also wanting to hug her and then let her know) hahaha. How could he have been more clear??!?! 

Now it is time for me to spew spoilers under a tag below this SO IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW, DON’T LOOK!

Maybe I wouldn’t have to be afraid to love him. Maybe it would be okay. Maybe I wouldn’t have to be scared of all the things I’ve been scared of my whole life, of being diminished and weak and lesser. Maybe I would become a little bit magic.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Lost Sisters (The Folk of the Air #1.5) by Holly Black

BOOK REVIEW: The Lost Sisters (The Folk of the Air #1.5) by Holly BlackThe Lost Sisters (The Folk of the Air #1.5)
by Holly Black
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

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.

Let’s start with a love story.
Or maybe it’s another horror story. It seems like the difference is mostly in where the ending comes.

LOOK. We all know this girl is OBSESSED with her boy Cardan, her homegirl Jude, and this wonderful world of twists and turns, lies and betrayals. Is it really so shocking to know I loved this story, too? Even if it was about that-that-Ugh, That GIRL Tarryn? I did like Tarryn-frankly, I still do. Especially since I get what it’s like to be enraptured by a guy and all the stories he’s woven around you. I get that part-even sympathize.

Be bold, be bold, but not too bold.

HOWEVER. HOWEVERRRRR. I hate Locke-and I HATE something about WK to do with Tarryn. I know. I KNOW. That’s not fair to this story! But, alas, life is not fair and I didn’t get this review done before finishing WK, so SUE ME OKAY. I HAVE FEELINGS, OKAY.

Fairy tales have a moral: Stay on the path. Don’t trust wolves. Don’t steal things, not even things you think no normal person would care about. Share your food but don’t trust people who want to share their food with you; don’t eat their shiny red apples, nor their candy houses, nor any of it. Be nice, always nice, and polite to everyone: kings and beggars, witches and wounded bears. Don’t break a promise.

SO, I was debating giving this a 5 because…well, why not? I really enjoyed it. It kept me satiated while I waited to get back to the main show, Cardan and Jude. But what I WILL NOT and CANNOT forgive is what is in book three, and I have to say that this book only slightly helped her plight…in that sense. Before WK, I was kind of extremely sympathetic. Now I’m like…burn in Hell with Locke, B****.

Be good, but not too good. Be pretty, but not too pretty. Be honest, but not too honest. Maybe no one got lucky. Maybe it was too hard.

So. Yup. My feels are, once again, scattered across the wind and spread across faerie where my heart truly lies. Cardan <3

************

Annnndddd who’s finally ready to DEVOUR Wicked King tomorrow??

Guiltyyyy.

I’ll probably write a small review on this one…probably ha I don’t much care to read anything more on Locke, so eh

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BOOK REVIEW: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

BOOK REVIEW: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly BlackThe Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
by Holly Black
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Jude was seven 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.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal 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.

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

Ahhhahah. Hahaha. Haha. I’ve read a lot of books with a lot of twisty, turny plots at this point in my life, really I have. I usually assume that by now, it’s going to be pretty hard to pull one over on me. But this was not one that I saw coming which is CRAZY because I feel like people have been in wild frenzy over this and The Wicked King for the last month now. I’ve been very careful about reading reviews and looking at quotes and while that was basically IMPOSSIBLE, I still didn’t come across anything that spoiled that ending for me and thank goodness for that.

“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.”

The last Holly Black book that I read was The Darkest Part of the Forest and had a similar host of wild and conniving faeries. Since then, most of the books I’ve read featuring fae have turned them super sexy and more LOTR-elven like (mainly thinking about ACOTAR here). And that’s fine. I obviously love those books and those characters but I will say that there’s something…maybe satisfying(??) about reading a book with redcaps and brownies and dryads and the like. When the Seelie and Unseelie courts are places of cruel beauty and where they speak in silver tongues that can only speak the truth but also can omit things to lie in a round-about kind of way…

The fae in this book are a ruthless sort and our main character Jude knows all about that first hand. When she was young, her mother’s past fae lover comes and murders her parents in front of her and her two sisters. He then pledges that he will take them into his world and raise them as if they were his own (her oldest sister, Vivi, IS in fact his daughter). Instead of growing up to hate and resent Madoc though, she and twin sister Taryn accept that world as their own. In fact, Jude’s goal in life is to become a faerie knight and serve the king. She is forbidden to do so though because her mortal talents are vastly underestimated. 

“We don’t need to be good. But let’s try to be fair.” 

Basically I don’t really want to get into this plot at all. Like I said, I didn’t know what the ending was going to bring until it was literally unfolding before my very eyes. The only other thing I want to talk about is of course, Cardan. Cardan is the youngest son of the current king, Eldred. Throughout the entire book Jude makes it VERY well known that the two hate each other’s guts. It’s great. What I think you should know, is that he doesn’t really come into the story full force until about the last quarter. Obviously everyone is obsessed with him (it’s easy to see why) but I was SO confused when I got through about half of the book and he had hardly any page time. Don’t expect to see his character more until the end. When I did finally get to know him (or at least what he allows to be seen) I was delighted. I actually thought he was hilarious and no where near as malicious as I figured he was going to be??? He had a lot of really good and subtle one-liners that were genius in my opinion lolol. You’ll see. But that’s it. There you go. If you are a fan of the fae, of KICK ASS, BRAVE, clueless, DARING, oblivious, and CUT THROAT leads, Jude is your gal and this book is definitely for you! (P.S. only kind of joking about the clueless and oblivious part—mainly poking fun at Jude for thinking Cardan wrote on that paper because he hated her lololol, oh Jude, you silly girl)

“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.” 

BOOK REVIEW: The Wicked King (Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

BOOK REVIEW: The Wicked King (Folk of the Air #2) by Holly BlackThe Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)
by Holly Black
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

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.

I wonder if there’s a limit to what I will let them do, if there is something that would make me fight back, even if it dooms me.
If there is, that makes me a fool.
But maybe if there isn’t, that makes me a monster.

I guess that’s the thing about being in love with a series. You love the first, you anticipate the second, and then wonder what’s to come with the third-but you can’t ever really know if that author is going to do what you want. Do things that make sense to you while also coming off as exciting and better than you possibly could have anticipated. If that author will make you happy while also crushing your soul, like the best possible twist of the knife and manipulation of your heart. This never happens. Yes, I have MANY favorites. YES, lots of things happen that I like and that placate me. But rarely-VERY RARELY-does an author do every maniacal thing I could possibly imagine-and even take it farther than I could even fathom. And this is what Black did. She came. She wrote. She F****** conquered.


“Power,” he said. “Power is the ability to get what you want. Power is the ability to be the one making the decisions. And how do we get power?”
“We learn how to fight well?”
“We get power by taking it.”

I just…this NEVER HAPPENS. Yeah, there might be one little thing I wish wasn’t a part of the end. But, like, that is nothing in the way of how excellent, how thorough, how utterly magnificent she wrote this book. The scheming. The lies. The betrayals. The heat. The ROMANCE. There was not one thing that I love about a fantasy book that was not in this story. There really and truly wasn’t. In fact, this book taught me far more about myself than I’ve learned in a long time.

“It seems I have a singular taste for women who threaten me.”

If you recall, or care at all, I read Outlander and The Diviners (how could you forget?) last year and they were so far out of my comfort zone that I read them YEARS after I was told to. A big mistake, I’ll admit. And they consumed me-I’ll just say it. Especially the prior, making the month of October a big waste of a TBR because all I read was the three books available in that series. But Outlander did something to my being, too, that possessed me for quite some time around the holidays. To say I was possessed in body, mind, and soul a few times last year would be an understatement. I even found Mariana Zapata and was a big ‘ol mess when I read her books, too. Let’s just say that 2018 was interesting, to say the least.

“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.

But then this. THIS masterpiece. The thing is, I’ll be frank, that I hate middle books. I LOATHE THEM. They never go right. Ever. And I actually have started to hate final books, too, because authors just don’t have what it takes to end things right, to wrap them up nicely, and, I’ll say it again, rarely do they meet the expectations I’ve upheld through the series and give me what I am craving, needing, wanting to put the series down wholly satisfied. And-I always try not to have any expectations, to not fangirl too much before a release, and to not expect much. Sadly, I still always fail. My entire being always wants more, whether I try to keep it chill or not, and I end up with a broken heart. Always.

He smelled like smoke and dried blood, and Jude let herself sag against him. It was good to be hugged. Even by a monster.

But here’s the thing, and my entire point: I didn’t, not once, doubt Holly Black or her writing before the release, so I anticipated and fangirled freely. I’ve read her White Cat series, and it was nothing short of all consuming, even if not many talk about it. I loved it. Cassel was my first thief and conman, and he lead me to Kaz from SOC. So, to say Holly Black can finish a series with a bang, wrap things up neatly and how I love and expect is, again, an understatement. I legitimately, for the first time in as long as I can remember, wasn’t the least bit worried that I would be bored, unhappy, or underwhelmed. I had that much confidence in this author. I had no worries at all. Well…except for what was to come. But that’s a different beast entirely.

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

What came with this story wasn’t a fairy tale romance, nor an underhanded, leisurely stroll in politics (following the first book’s end). No, it wasn’t action every minute…but there wasn’t a chapter that didn’t steal my breath away. This book was pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, butterfly inducing panic and mayhem, wrapped in sexual tension and explosive….erm….developments. It was underhanded, dirty, and altogether a total mind bender that never let you have your guard down, your mind not spinning, and your soul not entirely invested. It was a home run, triple play, and home base stealing ride-you could never take your eyes off the page for reality and day to day activities because you couldn’t ever possibly get enough.

“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.”

I read both too fast and too slow, a perfect symphony of chaos and calm, and I never wanted it to end-But I had to know what was coming next. Where it was going…and what predicament my darlings would inevitably get themselves into, in the end. And I couldn’t be happier with the absolutely soul-crushing finish.

My body has acclimated, and now it craves what it should revile.
An apt metaphor for other things.

And, before I can wrap this up, I have to embark on the journey that is Cardan and Jude. I can’t say much, and I promise I won’t (though it kills me slowly not to), but you must know that any feels that overcame you, possessed you, enraptured you in TCP…they are tenfold…and you just cannot be prepared. I don’t believe in overhyping-in fact, I discourage it. But here, I am confident that even if you don’t love this, you will feel something when it comes to the sexual tension between these two. I am THAT confident. And I would never do that to you, unless I believed it with my very being.

…and the single last thing in my head: that I like him better than I’ve ever liked anyone and that of all the things he’s ever done to me, making me like him so much is by far the worst.

The heat, the tension, the pure and utter HATE they have for one another…it’s so intoxicating. Sick. Depraved. Wrong. Yet you can’t not ship them. You can’t not love them. And, inevitably, you can’t not hope for them to just do it already. He loves her. I know it. And she loves him. I know that, too. THEY HAVE TO. I just….I can’t say anything. But, I will say this: I got everything I could ever want and more-without getting everything I want….and more.

It occurs to me that maybe desire isn’t something overindulging helps. Maybe it is not unlike mithridatism; maybe I took a killing dose when I should have been poisoning myself slowly, one kiss at a time.

So, to say I didn’t love this and that another book will pass by my love for it this year would be a lie-so I just won’t say it. What I will say is this: If you didn’t love the first, I don’t know that you will love the second. But maybe you will. It has even more lies. Deceit. Chaos. Heartbreak. Longing. If you dig that, this is for you. It has it all. And it doesn’t just come from the human in a faerie world. Just. F’in. Sayin’.

********************


I am angry editing my Instagram pictures right now. My nerves are shot, my stomach is a mass of nervous butterflies. When, only moments before, they were butterflies of hope and romance and so much more. So, I guess what I’m saying in a nutshell is: Holly Black got me. She got me fucking GOOD. I am not alright. I am not okay. And I just don’t know if I can pick up the pieces of my fractured heart off the floor for this one-And I don’t think I’ve ever said that. Well played, Black-You own my soul.

**************

OMG JUST GOT MY EXCLUSIVE OWLCRATE VERSION BOX EARLY SO GUESS WHO IS STARTING THIS OMG THIS IS THE FIRST OWLCRATE BOOK IVE TAKEN OUT OF THE PROTECTIVE PLASTIC TO READ OMGGGG I CANT EVEN

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