Dec 24, 2020

Review--How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black

An illustrated addition to the New York Times bestselling Folk of Air trilogy, that started with The Cruel Prince, from award-winning author Holly Black.

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 had a rousing Christmas Eve today! Not only did I finish my longer book I also completely devoured Holly Black's How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories that tells a tale of how Cardan became...Cardan. It's a collection of short stories, yet when read together they span out Cardan's life from his days before The Cruel Prince through an adventure post The Queen of Nothing.

I initially thought I'd review each story, but some were so short it seemed unnecessary, because how do you review when Cardan and Jude take a ride on enchanted creatures. That was it! Lol.We basically see Cardan as a child and see the suffering he endured. It's rather sad seeing how mistreated he was at such a young age. We also get our first glimpse of a character named Aslog, who will be in and out of his life telling him the same story multiple times, but you have to listen carefully in order to hear the differences, for the story is always changing.

We will see when Cardan first meets Nicasia and their relationship evolves into the chaos that it was and we only ever got the vaguest notion of what it was. We also see his obsession with Jude develop and turn into the madness that it becomes. Now don't expect to read excerpts from The Cruel Prince in his point of view, because that's not really what it is. Yes, there will be a moment or two that is a scene relived through Cardan's view, but this collection of stories is more about Cardan.

I really liked how these divided stories fit so seamlessly together. Yes, there are time gaps between them, but it's not as noticeable in a way because of how they just flow together. The final two chapters tell a newer story of Cardan's life's adventures. One that brings a conclusion to one that started as a child for him.

Now let's also mention the absolutely gorgeous illustrations by Rovina Cai. Not only is each story started with a full page piece of art, but there's also lots of smaller designs throughout the story! Little pieces to fit into what is on the page word-wise, and even just detailed page breaks and page fillers! This book was just wow!!

Since I read the B&N edition, I'll touch on the bonus parts! This time we get a inside look at how the illustrations came to be. Holly shows off some of Rovina's earlier sketches and how they slowly evolved into what we saw on the page! It was stunning!

If you're debating about what copy of this gorgeous book to buy, I highly recommend the B&N edition just for the amazing inside look at how the illustrations evolved over time!


Overall Rating 5/5 stars






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