“Nice things don’t happen in storybooks. Or when they do happen, something bad happens next. Because otherwise the story would be boring, and no one would read it.”
I’ve read a lot of books with a lot of twisty, turny plots at this point in my life, really I have. I usually assume that by now, it’s going to be pretty hard to pull one over on me. But this was not one that I saw coming which is CRAZY because I feel like people have been in wild frenzy over this and The Wicked King for the last few months now. I’ve been very careful about reading reviews and looking at quotes and while that was basically IMPOSSIBLE, I still didn’t come across anything that spoiled that ending for me and thank goodness for that.
“Have I told you how hideous you look tonight?” Cardan asks, leaning back in the elaborately carved chair, the warmth of his words turning the question into something like a compliment.
“No” I say, glad to be annoyed back into the present. “Tell me.”
The last Holly Black book that I read was The Darkest Part of the Forest and had a similar host of wild and conniving faeries. Since then, most of the books I’ve read featuring fae have turned them super buff and attractive and more LOTR-elven like (mainly thinking about A Court of Thorns and Roses, here). And that’s fine. I obviously love those books and those characters but I will say that there’s something…maybe satisfying(??) about reading a book with redcaps and brownies and dryads and the like. When the Seelie and Unseelie courts are places of cruel beauty and where they speak in silver tongues that can only speak the truth but also can omit things to lie in a round-about kind of way…
The fae in this book are a ruthless sort and our main character Jude knows all about that first hand. When she was young, her mother’s past fae lover comes and murders her parents in front of her and her two sisters. He then pledges that he will take them into his world and raise them as if they were his own (her oldest sister, Vivi, IS in fact his daughter). Instead of growing up to hate and resent Madoc though, she and twin sister Taryn accept that world as their own. In fact, Jude’s goal in life is to become a faerie knight and serve the king. She is forbidden to do so though because her mortal talents are vastly underestimated.
“We don’t need to be good. But let’s try to be fair.”
Basically I don’t really want to get into this plot at all. Like I said, I didn’t know what the ending was going to bring until it was literally unfolding before my very eyes. The only other thing I want to talk about is of course, Cardan. Cardan is the youngest son of the current king, Eldred. Throughout the entire book Jude makes it VERY well known that the two hate each other’s guts. It’s great. What I think you should know, is that he doesn’t really come into the story full force until about the last quarter. Obviously everyone is obsessed with him (it’s easy to see why) but I was SO confused when I got through about half of the book and he had hardly any page time. Don’t expect to see his character more until the end. When I did finally get to know him (or at least what he allows to be seen) I was delighted. I actually thought he was hilarious and no where near as malicious as I figured he was going to be??? He had a lot of really good and subtle one-liners that were genius in my opinion lolol. You’ll see. But that’s it. There you go. If you are a fan of the fae, of STRONG, BRAVE, clueless, DARING, oblivious, and CUT THROAT leads, Jude is your gal and this book is definitely for you! (P.S. only kind of joking about the clueless and oblivious part—mainly poking fun at Jude for thinking Cardan wrote on that paper because he hated her lololol, oh Jude, you silly girl)
“I am going to keep on defying you. I am going to shame you with my defiance. You remind me that I am a mere mortal and you are a prince of Faerie. Well, let me remind you that means you have much to lose and I have nothing. You may win in the end, you may ensorcell me and hurt me and humiliate me, but I will make sure you lose everything I can take from you on the way down. I promise you this is the least of what I can do.”