How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories
Author: Holly black
Illustrations: Rovina Cai
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publishing date: 2020
Holly Black is one of the best things that happened to me this past year, and I am so grateful for her books that brought so much beautiful magic into my life. I obviously heard a lot about her prior to 2020, but never tried one of her books myself. However, after I read The Cruel Prince back in May I was completely ensnared by the richness of her writing and enchanting storytelling, and she quickly became one of my new favourite authors. I ended up reading the book twice before continuing on with the rest of the series. As of writing this review, I am actually in the middle of my third re-read, because after I finished the wonderful novella How the Prince of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories I simply had to go back to the beginning. In December, I also read The Modern Faerie Tales series (which is sort of a prequel to The Folk of the Air series), which gave me so much more understanding for the intricate world Holly Black created as well as a lot of background information about many of the characters. This newly gained knowledge now makes my re-read even more interesting.
I gave five shining stars to all of the seven books by Holly Black I've read so far. And I have so much respect for her as a writer. She writes high fantasy, yet her books are fairly short for this genre, which only proves how amazing she is with her words. She uses them in such a powerful way, it leaves me in absolute awe. I love how complicated and layered her characters are. They are flawed and make bad decisions, but they are also courageous and good and you are left rooting for them long after the book ended. I also love how daring Holly Black is. She always surprises me with the way she spins her tales. She isn't afraid to go places I never would have expected a YA author to go. She discusses a lot of important issues in her books that are very relevant in our world nowadays, too. And even though her books are very dark, she always makes my heart sing in the end, which just makes me love her even more.
In this book, which is illustrated with the most beautiful depictions of Elfhame and the characters created by the tallented Rovina Cai, Holly Black takes us back to the childhood of Cardan as well as to some pivotal moments from the original series as told from his point of view. Which gives us a perfect oportunity to learn more about our brooding hero (although I am sure he would prefer to be called villain) and makes us understand the motives behind his actions better. But some of the stories also take place after the original series has ended, so if you were craving to know what happened afterwards, you certainly can't miss this adorable additon to The Folk of the Air series. I had an absolute blast reading it...