The Lost Sisters by Holly Black

The Lost Sisters.JPG

Early copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

1.) The Cruel Prince ★★★★★
2.) The Wicked King ★★★★★

“I can show you a version of yourself, Taryn. One you’ve never imagined. It’s terrible to be a girl trapped in a story. But you can be more than that. You can be the teller. You can shape the story. You can make all of Faerie love you.”

Please let it be known I do not want to read another book if it isn’t part of the Folk of the Air series. Have you ever fallen so completely and utterly in love with a story you find yourself unable to focus on anything else? That all you want to do is shout at strangers about how life changing it is and you feel like you will burst because no words or actions can capture how ardently you love this story and how you are a different person having read it? That’s me with The Folk of the Air books, and more specifically, The Lost Sisters.

Connecting the gap between The Cruel Prince and The Wicked KingThe Lost Sisters is an e-novella told in a letter from Taryn to Jude chronicling her love affair with Locke while revealing some secrets more delicious than faerie fruit. I was nervous, to say the least. I didn’t like Taryn, nor did I really want to. Going into this story, I was ready to unsheathe my own sword and defend Jude’s honor. The last thing I’d expected was to be completely sucked into the story, crying nine pages in (over Taryn of all people!), and find myself sympathizing and rooting for her.

“You were bold and daring and breathtakingly stupid.
Be bold, be bold, but not too bold, lest that your heart’s blood should run cold.”

Told in a letter to Jude, it’d be too easy to say The Lost Sisters is Taryn’s defense. It’s so much more than that—it’s an apology, a love story, a tragedy, a story of a mortal girl trapped in a fairytale-nightmare trying to control her own story and have a semblance of power. Taryn’s narrative has a way of doing what Taryn does best: holding up a mirror to Jude. Except this time the reader has access to that mirror and we are confronted with a very uncomfortable question: why do we love Jude, but hate Taryn who has the same motivations, desires, fears, and ambitions as her and truly believes she is doing what she thinks to be best?

“I never thought it would come to anything bad for anyone but me.”

With a narrator as unreliable as Jude and with a story that delves so deeply into family dynamics, The Lost Sisters is a necessary addition to the series and completely changed my perception of Jude and Taryn’s relationship. After having read, I’m left with a much deeper appreciation of Jude and Taryn, their positions in Faerie, how they view one another in this land of monsters, and how much they ultimately love each other. Jude makes us believe Taryn is fine wherever she goes and that she’s adaptable, but Taryn is not fine, she’s arguably even more not fine than Jude is—something The Lost Sisters finally allows us to understand. I don’t necessarily agree with what Taryn did, but I get it, and after learning everything that led her to that point, I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same thing in her situation. Taryn might be one of the most complex and compelling characters I’ve ever encountered—her narrative is gripping and entirely un-put-downable. Locke famously tells Jude she is a story and he wants to see what she will do, but Taryn is a story too, and I want to be part of the unfolding of her tale.

Be sure to pre-order The Lost Sisters (available OCTOBER 2) if you haven’t already (, because this story is so completely entrancing and important to The Folk of the Air series!!! I’ve never been so grateful and in love with a novella before. Thank you so much Novl and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for an early copy in exchange for an honest review ♥

“‘How does it feel?’ he asked. ‘To be stuck in a fairy tale?’”

*All quotes are taken from an early copy and are subject to change upon publication*

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince

“Guard Your Mortal Heart.” 

HOLLY BLACK DID THAT. I am dead, I did not guard my mortal heart against this book, and I demand book 2 NOW.

Holly Black gave me everything I ever wanted in a book and more—a luxe and dangerous world, drama, political intrigue, magic, spies, bloodshed, twists, nastiness, and just the right amount of romance.

The Cruel Prince opens with 7 year old Jude watching her parents murders, and then being swept away to the High Court of Faerie by her parents’ murderer along with her twin sister, Taryn, and her older, Vivienne. Flash forward 10 years and Jude lives amongst the fey, is bullied by her fey classmates, and despite everything she has seen of their world, wants to be them.

No, she wants to be better than them.

“Because you’re like a story that hasn’t happened yet. Because I want to see what you will do. I want to be part of the unfolding of the tale.”

Everything about this book kept me on my toes—the world, the characters, the political games— and I loved every dark, sexy, gut-wrenching, horrific moment of it. All of our characters are sinfully flawed, and Jude may be the darkest and most flawed of them all. Although perhaps Cardan, our titular “Cruel Prince”—who might be more than what he seems and who has certainly stolen my heart—could be nastier and cleverer than Jude.

If you aren’t convinced by now that Holly Black is the queen of all things fae, then go read The Cruel Prince while I not-so-patiently wait for book 2.

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


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The Wicked King by Holly Black

Wicked King
Arc provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

1.) The Cruel Prince ★★★★★
1.5.) The Lost Sisters ★★★★★

“We get power by taking it.”


If I thought The Cruel Prince was a wild, dark, and twisted ride, it was nothing compared to the earth-shattering, jaw-dropping, cannot breathe, experience that is The Wicked King. Yes, experience, because this book is AN EXPERIENCE. Picking up shortly after the events of The Cruel Prince, we see Jude learning the lesson that no matter how hard it is to attain power, keeping it is even harder.

“‘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 can’t say much about the plot, because we’re pretty far from the publication date (January 8, 2019), but OH MY HIGH KING CARDAN THIS BOOK. I was unable to predict anything, and let me tell you, Holly Black is evil in the best way possible. This book went places The Cruel Prince did not dare. The political game is played at a much larger scale, with Jude truly playing the great game of kings and princes, of queens and crowns, and she’s playing for much more than survival this time—she’s playing to win.

There were truly points in this book where I had to remind myself to breathe (I’m looking at you pages 145-148). The drama, the twists, the nastiness of the world, the nastiness of the players in this game. The Wicked King is a sinfully delicious book, as tempting as Faerie Fruit, and just as rotten because I am WRECKED. THAT ENDING.

“His mouth curls into a smile. His eyes shine with wicked intent. “Look at them all, your subjects. A shame not a one knows who their true ruler is.’”

Of course I can’t end this review without talking about Jude and Cardan. Jude has my complete and utter love. As brave, and clever, and cruel as she is in The Cruel Prince, she is even more so in The Wicked King. I have never felt so much love and respect for a YA protagonist. I loved her in The Cruel Prince and have always adored her character, but she has only gotten better—or should I say worse?—in The Wicked King. As for Cardan, I thought I loved him in The Cruel Prince, but I was a sweet summer child who had not yet tasted the faerie fruit of love. He is sexier, cleverer, and wittier than ever—we really get to see a new side of him, and I’m not just referring to the tail 😉

“My sweet villain, my darling god.”

There are no words to express my undying love for The Folk of the Air books: these characters, their world, the politics, the drama, the plot twists, CHILLS. I will be in a coma until The Queen of Nothing because I cannot go on. DID I MENTION THAT ENDING?!?

“I want to tell you so many lies.”


*All quotes were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication*

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A Court of Thorns by Sarah J. Maas

*this review contains minor spoilers*

“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

*Le sigh* I’m probably the only person in the entire world who feels this way—but I’m not ready to pack my bags and head to the Night Court. The first 70% of this book was so slow, and the only reason I didn’t DNF was because everyone kept telling me it would get better, and it did…marginally.

A loose Beauty and the Beast retelling, A Court of Thorns and Roses follows huntress Feyre as she is taken prisoner to Prythian, the fey realm, as punishment for the fey life she has stolen. A promising premise, right? Well, what we really get is a lot of angst, a lot of Feyre being useless, a lot of Tamlin being broody, and then finally, a weak and unbelievable love story.

I really wanted to like ACOTAR, I did. So many people whose opinions I value and trust love this book, but it just didn’t do it for me. I’d expected more Beauty and the Beast elements and much more faerie lore. Neither of those delivered, and I was especially disappointed by the lack of faerie lore. After just having read Holly Black’s The Wicked King, Sarah J. Maas’s faeries didn’t hold a candle. She teased us with some of their lore such as their inability to lie and vulnerability to iron, just to yank it away and say “oh never mind” when it became inconvenient to the plot. I wanted nastiness and trickery and politics and dark magic, and instead I got a lot of descriptions of fey male beauty and Feyre painting.

“I threw myself into that fire, threw myself into it, into him, and let myself burn.”

I’ll admit the end of the book became a lot more interesting once we finally got past the horrendous info-dump (I was so annoyed I didn’t pick up the book for week), but the ending was still predictable, and I’m sorry, but as soon as the giant worm was introduced in the first trial, all I could think of was the Alaskan Bull Worm from Spongebob—which dissolved me into a fit of giggles, completely eliminating any tension or suspense.

And while we’re talking about the ending—[SPOILER] why did Feyre, a huntress, feel so unrealistically and annoyingly guilty for killing those faeries, and why does everyone love Rhysand? I wanted them both to be merciless, and instead there was a poor attempt to redeem and forgive Rhysand for some atrocious things—torturing her so she’d agree to his bargain, giving her the faerie equivalent of date rape every night, and forcing a non-consensual kiss on her. Honestly, the attempt to redeem him left a sour taste in my mouth, and it would’ve been much more fun for him to be unapologetically nasty, clever, and playing his own game. And Feyre….oh our painting, useless, love-sick Feyre. I’m not even going to start on why it bothered me so much that she was stupidly guilty and overdramatic for killing the two faeries.

“Because your human joy fascinates me—the way you experience things, in your life span, so wildly and deeply and all at once, is … entrancing.”

Contrary to how it may seem, I didn’t hate ACOTAR, and it’s not a bad book. The issue for me was how much potential was wasted. SJM teased me with action and plot—when she commits to those two things, she does them REALLY well—but she was more focused on creating a love story between Feyre and Tamlin that, quite honestly, fell flat anyway.

Overall, this book just had so much wasted potential, and SJM’s true strengths and talents as a writer were lost to a lackluster romance and idle descriptions of Feyre’s meandering. I wish this book had been everything I’d expected, and while I’ve heard A Court of Mist and Fury is much better, I won’t be rushing to pick it up anytime soon.

“I love you,’ he whispered, and kissed my brow. ‘Thorns and all.’” 


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