December Countdown, Day 9 : Fairy Lights

December book meme (details here).  Fairy Lights – a book of the fae :


Throwback Thursday : Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale (Modern Faerie Tales #1) by Holly Black

Throwback Thursday, is a new feature created by Tenacious Reader with the aim of  highlighting books from your reading past. This can be virtually anything, a book that you previously read and loved, a book that you want to highlight again, maybe it’s a book in a series and the next book is due out shortly so you want to focus some attention on the series.   Anything goes – so long as your book isn’t a current release as there are already plenty of ways to highlight the latest books.  

The book I’d like to highlight this week is : Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale (Modern Faerie Tales #1) by Holly Black

I love books about the fae and Holly Black’s Modern Faerie Tales were the first books of the kind that I read.

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms – a struggle that could very well mean her death.

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black.  I’m so excited about this one.  Due for publication January 8th 2019

thewicked.jpgThe enchanting and bloodthirsty sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Cruel Prince.

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

curelQueen of the faedark – Holly Black has returned with another intriguing tale of the fae.  You could almost imagine that Ms Black is one of the fae herself with such a name and the way she writes of these fantastical creatures it wouldn’t be too great a stretch of the imagination to believe it to be so.  For me this is an author who has made the fae her own.  When I read her books I know that I’m going to be immersed in a dark world, full of court machinations, populated with creatures that are as cruel as they are beautiful and with plots that twist in unexpected ways and the first book in the Folk of the Air is no exception.

Firstly, a brief overview.  We start the story with an introduction to Jude as she witnesses the murder of her parents.  To cut a long story short Jude’s older sister is half fae, her human mother fled with her a few years ago but her fae father, a general within the fae realm known as Madoc, has finally caught up with them and having killed their parents takes his own daughter and her two half sisters back to his home in the realm of the fae.  The story then jumps forward ten years.  Jude and her sister Taryn are still desperately trying to find a place for themselves in this strange world.  Of course, being fully human leaves them rather at the mercy of the other fae who they mix with and who love nothing more than to bully and taunt them.  Jude and Taryn are twins.  They share a deep bond and yet it seems that both have chosen different routes to follow in terms of being accepted in this strange world.  Jude has picked the path of the warrior.  She longs to be accepted for her fighting abilities and to take part in the trials that might grant her a place at court.  Her sister Taryn, tired of constantly feeling out of place believes that marriage to one of the fae will secure her a place in their hearts.  Both are a deal misguided.

I don’t really want to go too much more into the detail of the plot.  On the face of it this seems to be a fairly straightforward storyline and yet the reality of the read is far from that.  The fae court is heading for unrest and with the High King about to step down and name his successor the back stabbing and scheming is running amok.

So, why did I love this.  For a number of reasons that I will elaborate a little on.  Namely, the characters, the story writing, Holly Black’s ability to place you deep into the land of the fae and to make the place have a sinister fairytale feel but more than that the motivations.  And, the combination of all these elements that makes for an incredibly satisfying read.

The characters here are great to read about.  None of them are perfect and that includes Jude but all of them managed to provoke entirely different and very strong reactions in me whilst I was reading.  Jude and Taryn.  They both have bad memories but one of them has chosen to hold onto the hatred and use it to fuel her ambitions, the other has chosen the path of least resistance.  They have a complicated family dynamic and in fact the relationships between them all are intriguing and much more convoluted than at first appears.  Then we have Prince Cardan, son of the High King.  Cardan is a very cruel individual (not surprising given the title of the book).  He has a strange and twisted obsession with Jude that means she constantly falls foul of him and the crew he surrounds himself with.  Strangely enough I didn’t find myself disliking him at all.  At the back of my mind I had a nagging feeling about him, that maybe not everything was as clear cut as first appeared and as the story unfolds his character does indeed become more complex with circumstances that definitely give him a more sympathetic edge.  He’s one of those characters that has perfected a face of indifference that perhaps doesn’t reflect his true feelings.

The world building is very smooth. It’s easy to have a vision in the mind’s eye of what the place looks like and Black effortlessly evokes childhood fairylands whilst at the same time giving them a sinister twist.  Towers, mean stepmothers, indifferent kings, spoilt princes and nothing is ever really quite what it seems.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this.  It takes a little while to really get into the depths of the story but the time is well spent building relationships that once established make the final reveals and twists that much more dramatic.

The Cruel Prince is an excellent start to series.  It’s complex and surprising.  If you enjoy stories about the fae then I strongly recommend this, its a finely crafted story by an author who has honed her ability to write the fae in a compelling way.  I can’t wait for the next instalment.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.


Waiting on Wednesday : The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black.

the cruel princeOf course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Expected Publication : January 2018

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