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How The King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

Author: Holly Black

Publisher: Little Brown

Synopsis: 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.

Review: Well, damn. I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. I’ll be honest. I stopped reading The Cruel Prince because the writing style drove me mad. The choppy sentence structure combined with Jude’s lack of maturity made me wonder if I had stumbled upon a twelve-year-old’s diary. I wanted to love the characters, but I didn’t. I couldn’t connect with anyone on an emotional level.

But wait…this review isn’t about the first book in the series, is it? No. It’s about Black’s newest installment, How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories. So why, one might ask. Why did I pick up this book if I closed the first book halfway through? Easy. Curiosity. Why was Cardan such a jerk to Jude in the first book? How did he become such a cruel young man? These burning questions sent me running to the nearest bookstore. I needed answers.

It only took me a few hours to devour the tiny masterpiece, and boy, oh boy, I'm thrilled I gave it a shot. The illustrations that accompany the short stories are glorious. The lessons Cardan learned as he grew into a man opened my eyes. Once the book ended, I wanted to read more about his life prior to Jude.

Yes, I broke the rules and read this book before the series, but honestly, it gave me an appreciation for a world I never planned to revisit. It gave me compassion for a young man I once hated.

Readers: a fun read for those who love short stories, companion novels, nostalgia, and fans of Jude and Cardan

Writers: an excellent case study for those writing short stories and researching love to hate villains

Warnings/Triggers: excessive drinking and drug use

Star Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Completed Read: 12/4/20

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