HELLO! Lol Honestly, I would not have read this based on my TBR, but I said screw my TBR. I’m still not doing one now either. soooo. Here you go, an actual review lol. Second coming at you soon.
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black
Synopsis From The Book
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.
Fantasy | YA – E |Parental Neglect, Abuse, Bullying | Importance of Stories, Importance of Love, Relationships
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
I’m screaming. I have like four copies of this and have had it for a month now being like. I’ll read it later. I’ll read it later. I’M READING IT NOW. It will be a quick read. It’s exactly what I need right now. And I’m HYPE for it. Back to Elfhame we go! And I’m here for it. Are you ready for all of the quotes like I am?
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
It was short sweet and made me squeal. I laughed out loud at a few points and found myself over analyzing the stories given when compared to Cardan. It was less than 200 pages, where half the space was taken by pictures, and I wouldn’t change anything.
I want to reread The Folk of the Air now. Like really want to reread it. Specifically Wicked King, let’s not lie. Not sure if any of the quotes here are ones that just hit me (like the undone quotes of the main series) but these were fun and good.
I might have just quoted the whole book tho. Just saying.
That’s the review. The whole book. Just read it. Thanks.
The novel begins with Cardan and Jude going to the mortal realm to deal with an issue for the Solitary fae. We skip back to the past when Cardan was nine and he met a troll woman who told him a story (Story 1), and how that made him feel. We skip ahead to when he was taken in by his brother and beaten, and then to when he first met Nicasia. He dreams of living with her under the sea, despite feeling suffocated by it, for its the only place where anyone would care. Then she sleeps with Locke and breaks his heart.
Cardan started noticing Jude early on, and her hate that matched his own. After having his heart broken, his releases one of his brother’s servants (the one who was tasked to beat him) and then falls for human stories. He meets the troll woman again (Story 2) who changes the tale and leaves him be. Nicasia and Locke break and she asks for Cardan’s help with tormenting the mortal girls and Locke. He agrees but when confronted with Cardan he balks.
We skip back to the present, where Jude and Cardan are with her family. They enjoy themselves and he feels good with her. When they meet the solitary fae, they speak of a monster that another queen wants destroyed. Cardan realizes that this is the troll woman from before, and sneaks out in the night to find her. After visiting a convenience store, he gets to her wood and is captured. He tells her a story (story 3) to distract her and then releases himself and sends her into the iron pit, where he caught her. Jude comes to find him, and he says they will bring her back with him.
Story 1: There once was a boy with a wicked tongue. He said horrible things and was cursed to have a stone heart. He set off to find his fortune and came upon a tavern. At the tavern he found out that the baron was offering the marriage of his daughter, should anyone survive three nights with her. When he arrives he is told not to show any fear and for the first two nights he does not. She is a monster, cursed, and tries to scare him. However the third night, he is slammed into a wall by the monster girl and his stone heart breaks. She thinks she sees fear and eats him.
Story 2: There once was a boy with a wicked heart. He did horrible things to people and was cursed with a stone heart. He traveled away happy to have no burden and when he was going to steal from some tavern goers he learns of the baron. The baron said that anyone who could stay with his daughter for three nights would marry her. The boy steals a horse and goes, and survives two nights. The girl was a monster who was cursed because she turned down a boy. She had turned him down because she loved him and her father did not approve. The boy she loved had known and he turned himself into a monster himself. The monster boy slams the wicked boy into a wall and breaks the wicked boy’s stone heart. The wicked boy who had grown to love the monster girl is left alone as the two monsters leave. He becomes the heir to the baron.
Story 3: There once was a boy with a clever tongue. He said and did horrible things because he thought the world hated him. A witch cast a spell on him to make his heart stone and figuring it was no different than he had been before he strikes out to find a future. He works hard for the tavern owner he finds and one night while sleeping on the floor, he over hears patrons talking about a warlord who is offering his daughter’s hand in marriage. Anyone who can stay with her for three nights, will be her husband. When he arrives he meets her and is told not to show fear at the monster girl. The next day he walks around trying to find out more about her. He meets a woman who tells him a bit and then he stays the second night. The second day he speaks with the woman again and learns the whole truth. The monster girl was powerful, she had been cursed by her own choice so that her father could not control her. Should the curse break, however, her father would be able to control her forever. It will break if he does not show fear for three nights. The third night the boy screams, and his heart breaks when she attacks him. He tells her everything, and promises never to break her curse, however they will be married and be happy. By staying three nights he wins the father’s bet but she remains a monster, because he will show fear once every three nights.
What I Liked:
The Art!; It is so pretty. I wish I could just take a screen shot of every single one. The artist is Rovina Cai. I love the way she draws Cardan so much. The art had a water color look to it, and I just adore it. So much.
Use of stories; The fact that the stories come and reflect the way that Cardan is living life and sees life, is great. Also the way that they grow and change is so brilliant because that is what happens to stories. Plus the story of a boy with a stone heart is just so good.
Cardan and Jude; WAAAA I love them together so much. I can’t….
Cardan; I really loved getting this from his perspective. Seeing how much he was hurt by things, how much he turned himself into the horrible one. My heart aches for Cardan.
“Cardan congratulates himself on his skill at passing for human.” ; ROTFL YOU DID NOT! I died when I read this line. Cardan was so strange that honestly it didn’t matter but he sure as heck did not pass for human.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Nothing. Nothing at all.
” Some might think of him as a strong draught, burning the back of one’s throat, but invigorating all the same.
You might bed to differ.
So long as you’re begging, he doesn’t mind a bit.” – opening
“Once upon a time, there was a boy with a wicked tongue.” – pg 14
” ‘You’re very rude.’
‘I have many other, even worse, qualities.’
‘Do you now? That’s excellent, because everyone else in the palace seems very dull.'” – pg 37-38
“Villains were wonderful. They got to be cruel and selfish, to preen in front of mirrors and poison apples, and trap girls on mountains of glass. They indulged all their worst impulses, revenged themselves for the least offense, and took every last thing they wanted.
And sure, they wound up in barrels studded with nails, or dancing in iron shoes heated by fire, not just dead, but disgraced and screaming.
But before they got what was coming to them, they got to be the fairest in all the land.” – pg 40
“I thought you could use a little nonsense.” -pg 76
“Once there was was a boy with a wicked heart.” – pg 78
“A heart of stone can still be broken.” – pg 86
“I am nothing if not dramatic.” – pg 111
“But no one chooses a future. You choose a path without being certain where it leads.” – pg 125
” ‘Who doesn’t want to control fate?’
‘Remember, all you really get to control is yourself.’ ” – pg 126
“If he gets himself killed like this, she is never going to let him live it down.” – pg 154
“Because stories tell a truth, if not precisely the truth.” – pg 159
“You don’t think monster girls and wicked boys deserve love?” – pg 162
“So long as you’re begging.” – pg 173