Tag Archives: Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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

Title: The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fae, Fantasy, Paranormal fantasy, Young adult
Dates read: 3rd – 9th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: My blood is on fire, boiling in my veins.

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Synopsis

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered. The fearsome assassin abducts all three girls to the Faerie court, where Jude soon realises that to survive she needs to be as cunning and deceitful as the Fey themselves. But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan.

Thoughts

I seriously can’t stop thinking about this novel. Even though I’m writing this review days after I finished reading it, the words, the occurrences, the entire story is still in my mind’s eye. It was just amazing. Which really isn’t surprising since it was written by Holly Black and everything that I’ve had the pleasure of reading by her is a book that quickly finds its way to the top of my list.

The twist at the end of the story was only obvious about a paragraph before it happened. So, really not obvious or something that I guessed at all. And it was the best twist ever. Luckily, I couldn’t find The Wicked King in my TBR immediately after I finished The Cruel Prince… considering I have a massive stack of books that I’ve already started reading…

Jude is an awesome, completely kick ass lead character. I’m not necessarily in love with her as a person… she’s a little too confrontational and kind of nuts in my opinion. But as a product of being raised by the fae? Yeah, I absolutely loved her. It kind of makes me fear what Taryn will be like in the later books… I mean, they’re twins and whilst they’ve taken a different route to power… it’ll be interesting to see what happens next is the least that I can say.

I’ve only read the one series by Holly Black, and the thing that I loved the most about it was that she depicts the fae beautifully. She continues that vein in this story – the fae aren’t fun, happy, or light. This already feels so much darker than her Modern Faerie Tales series. But it’s still a great indication of the horrors that are in the traditional faerie tales….

<- More Holly BlackThe Lost Sisters ->

Image source: Goodreads

Naked City edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
naked-city

Title: Naked City
Author: Ellen Datlow, Jim Butcher, Delia Sherman, Richard Bowes, Ellen Kushner, Christopher Fowler, Patricia Briggs, Pat Cadigan, Peter S. Beagle, Naomi Novik, Matthew Kressel, Kit Reed, Lavie Tidhar, Nathan Ballingrud, Melissa Marr, John Crowley, Holly Black, Jeffrey Ford, Lucius Shepard, Caitlin R. Kiernan & Elizabeth Bear
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 28th June – 26th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Out in Brooklyn in a couple of spots you can walk down a street and almost think it’s a hundred and twenty-five years ago.

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Synopsis

In this thrilling collection of original stories, some of today’s hottest paranormal authors delight, thrill, and captivate readers with otherworldly tales of magic and mischief. In Jim Butcher’s “Curses”, Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs. In Patricia Briggs’s “Fairy Gifts”, a vampire is called home by magic to save the Fae who freed him from a dark curse. In Melissa Marr’s “Guns for the Dead”, the newly dead Frankie Lee seeks a job in the afterlife on the wrong side of the law. In Holly Black’s “Noble Rot”, a dying rock star discovers that the young woman who brings him food every day has some strange appetites of her own.

Featuring original stories from twenty authors, this dark, captivating, fabulous, and fantastical collection is not to be missed!

Thoughts

This is a seriously diverse collection of urban fantasy short stories. Not to mention fun and engaging. Probably moving right to the top of my list if I’m being honest. Normally my purview of urban fantasy is kind of small. But the breadth and width of these stories and the style in which they’re written… just wow.

I loved the fact that most of these short stories were standalones. I used to really enjoy finding new series through short stories and novellas. But, I have so many now that sometimes just reading a standalone without having to hunt out more of that world (I’m obsessive, I do this EVERY time) was kind of nice. I got a great taste of the imaginations and storytelling talents of a variety of authors, without actually feeling the need to buy more, more, more. Honestly, there is nothing worse than finding myself a new series to obsess over and then realising that I have a whole slew of new books to buy…

Although this is an urban fantasy collection, it does have a darker twist to it than usual. Every single one of these stories is a little bit dark, a lot bit fun and most don’t have a happy ending. Which, I tend to love, because I get a bit over all the happily ever afters… but it’s definitely something to keep in mind as you rip through the stories.

<- CorpsemouthCurses ->

Image source: Patricia Briggs

Noble Rot by Holly Black

Overview
naked-city

Title: Noble Rot
Author: Holly Black
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Humour, Urban fantasy, Zombies
Dates read: 5th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: “Don’t like good-byes,” she says.

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Synopsis

He’s slowly wasting away. But, there is a beautiful delivery girl that seems to keep his life interesting. Little does he know what she’s turning him into…

Thoughts

I’ve been around enough sick people in my life to know that disease and, the treatments, can completely mess up your taste buds. However, the ways in which this story plays with ideas of messed up taste buds is entirely unique. And more than a little bit gross. Although completely fun. as you can probably tell, I got a few somewhat mixed feelings about this.

There was so much backstory to this tale. Which made me dive in completely. I would also love to reread this, because now that I know what the lead female was doing the whole time… I feel like I’d be able to grasp at some of the hints throughout.

I love that this is about a sick man who is given a second chance at a new life. There is something beautiful, and really tragic about this. Which makes it fit perfectly into the theme of the Naked City collection.

 <- And Go Like This ReviewDaddy Longlegs of the Evening Review ->
Image source: Patricia Briggs

The Coyote Road edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: The Coyote Road
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Pat Murphy, Carolyn Dunn, Steve Berman, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Christopher Barzak, Delia Sherman, Richard Bowes, Ellen Klages, Patricia A. McKillip, Theodora Goss, Charles de Lint, Katherine Vaz, Caroline Stevermer, Midori Snyder, Michael Cadnum, Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth E. Wein, Kim Antieau, Will Shetterly, Kelly Link, Holly Black, Carol Emshwiller, Jedediah Berry, Jeffrey Ford, Jane Yolen & Kij Johnson
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Mythology, Short story collections, Tricksters
Dates read: 11th March – 24th October 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: She handed me a message, one that read I was to be married to a stranger.

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Synopsis

Coyote. Anansi. Brer Rabbit. Trickster characters have long been a staple of folk literature – and are a natural choice for the subject of the acclaimed Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s third “mythic” anthology. Twenty-six authors, including Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Charles de Lint (Little (Grrl) Lost), Ellen Klages (The Green Glass Sea), Kelly Link (Pretty Monsters), Patricia A. McKillip (Ombria in Shadow) and Jane Yolen, have crafted stories and poems drawing from cultures and traditions all over the world – each surprising, engrossing, and thought provoking. Terri Windling provides a comprehensive introduction to the trickster myths of the world, and the entire book is highlighted by the remarkable decorations of Charles Vess.

The Coyote Road, like its companions The Green Man (winner of the World Fantasy Award) and The Faery Reel (a World Fantasy Award Finalist), is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary fantastic fiction.

Thoughts

This collection took a long time to read. Yet, I absolutely adored it. Mostly it took a while to read because there were so many short stories filling the pages, and whenever I finished one, I often went searching for more stories by the authors I was discovering. My wishlist has grown by leaps and bounds since starting this collection.

Like many of the Ellen Datlow collections lining my shelves, the theme and collected authors in this are brilliant. Each and every story is perfectly curated to match into the theme of Tricksters. Often in surprising and confusing ways. After all, the prefect trickster never does what is expected, and many of the stories in this managed to take me by surprise.

I would suggest this collection to anybody who loves short stories, fantasy, mythology, tricksters… really I would just suggest it to almost anyone. There are sad stories and happy ones. Insanely complex tales and ones that are so beautifully simplistic. Definitely one of those collections that I’m going to read again and again.

 <- The Cinderella Game Anthology ReviewOne Odd Shoe Review ->
Image source: Amazon

A Reversal of Fortune by Holly Black

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: A Reversal of Fortune
Author: Holly Black
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: FamilyFoodTricksters
Dates read: 19th September 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Maybe without a soul she wouldn’t even care that Boo was dead.

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Synopsis

Nikki is just trying to have a good summer with her dog Boo. But when an accident causes her summer to take a tragic turn, she realises that she might just have to make a deal with the devil.

Thoughts

Eating competitions fascinate me. They’re weird, random and something that I couldn’t fathom doing myself… mostly because I already feel way too sick whenever I overeat even slightly. When I found out that actually being sick is a huge taboo and has its own name (a reversal of fortune), I was drawn completely into the tale. It had me laughing out loud, smiling, and chuckling at the ways in which Holly Black was able to take a fairly typical trickster tale and turn it on its head.

Being that this short story is in a collection of trickster tales, I figured that it was quite likely for Nikki to outsmart the devil. But using a food eating competition to do so. And quite a disgusting one at that… it was a little too humorous and fun for me to put the story down. A good reminder as to why I love Holly Black’s writing so much… she always has just the right amount of sass and surprise to leave me with a large smile on my face.

After finishing this story, I both wanted to go and eat my weight in sour worms… and never eat them again. There were some fairly strong emotions inspired by Nikki’s face off with the devil. But mostly what I loved was the fact that she did all of this for her dog. She faced up to the loss of her soul, because her dog is her soul. Or at least, that’s how I read it… and it’s something that I think I too would do. I can’t imagine not having my beautiful big dog by my side everyday…

 <- The Constable of Abal ReviewGod Clown Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Troll’s-Eye View edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for troll's-eye view book cover

Title: Troll’s-Eye View
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Delia Sherman, Garth Nix, Wendy Froud, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Peter S. Beagle, Ellen Kushner, Joseph Stanton, Holly Black, Jane Yolen, Nancy Farmer, Michael Cadnum, Catherynne M. Valente, Midori Snyder, Neil Gaiman & Kelly Link
In: Troll’s-Eye View (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Retellings, Short story collections, Villains
Dates read: 12th December 2018 – 1st March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: I could have wept.

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Synopsis

Everyone thinks they know the real story behind the villains in fairy tales – evil, no two ways about it. But the villains themselves beg to differ. In this book you’ll hear from:
the Giant’s wife from “Jack and the Beanstalk”
the oldest of the Twelve Dancing Princesses
Rumpelstiltskin
the witch from “Hansel and Gretel”
someone called Evil Cinderella

Just watch these old stories do new tricks!

Thoughts

This is an incredibly easy, fun and engaging short story collection. It takes some brilliant authors who take you on journeys through well known fairy tales. The fact that these retellings all focus on the villains of the stories just made me love it even more. I always love the highlighting of grey areas and alternate tellings.

Troll’s-Eye View is a collection that is written for a very young age group. It’s simple and quaint. Easily accessible and fun. But, that doesn’t mean that as an adult you can’t enjoy it. There was nothing I enjoyed more than sitting down at the end of a long day and reading one of these short stories or poems. It was a great, fun and quick escape from the real world at a time when I’ve been really quite overwhelmed and stressed.

Most of my anthologies and collections contain only novellas and short stories. Troll’s-Eye View also has poems. They were enough to break up the flow throughout the story and leave you with a smile on your face.

 <- Why Light? ReviewWizard’s Apprentice Review ->
Image source: Amazon

The Boy Who Cried Wolf by Holly Black

Overview
Image result for troll's-eye view book cover

Title: The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Author: Holly Black
In: Troll’s-Eye View (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, VillainsWerewolves
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: There was barely any wind, and the swells were small.

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Synopsis

When a young lad sniffs a flower, he quickly finds out that not everything he reads about in books is fiction. Will he have what it takes to save his family?

Thoughts

While I really enjoyed this short story, what bumped up my great opinion of it was Black’s explanation for why she wrote it in the first place. On childhood vacations, she often wished that she could turn into a wolf and eat her family – so she wrote about a boy who could. And, honestly, who hasn’t felt like that on a family vacation?

This was a fun, easy and quick read. It took the idea of a boy who doesn’t quite fit in and twisted and turned it into a tale that was a little bit scary, a little bit about being right and a lot about family. It has that darkness that I tend to associate with Holly Black and one that I thoroughly enjoy.

 <- Puss in Boots, the Sequel ReviewTroll Review ->
Image source: Amazon

The Wrath of Mulgarath by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black

Overview

The Wrath of MulgarathTitle: The Wrath of Mulgarath
Author: Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black
Series: The Spiderwick Chronicles #5
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, FaeFantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: “They’re all dragons.”

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Synopsis

Three ordinary kids, Jared, Simon, and Mallory Grace, have entered another world — without leaving this one! Two remarkable talents, New York Times best-sellers Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, have risked everything to bring this remarkable account to light. Five books — one thrilling adventure — the Spiderwick Chronicles!

Their world is closer than you think.

Thoughts

Throughout the past week or so of reading this series, I’ve been a little perplexed. Some of the bits and pieces I remember seeing in a movie from a long time ago, but there was a lot that I didn’t remember. Which, to be completely honest, is fairly typical for a book turned movie. It really wasn’t until reading this story that I 100% was like, YES! I did see that movie!

The rest of the Spiderwick books have been a great read before bedtime – they’re short and sweet, and quite easy to put down halfway through. Not so with this tale. Which, since it’s the conclusion to a series, should probably have been a little more expected. After all, they’re tying up loose ends, neatening a storyline and finishing off a great tale that ends with the Grace children sending their letter to the authors – the instigator for this whole series.

I really liked how everything in this series feels like it has come full circle at the conclusion. There is still room for more tales, but there isn’t the overwhelming urge to find out what happens next. It’s neat, tight and kind of sweet. Just what I like in a good children’s books’ ending…

 <- The Ironwood Tree Review The Field Guide Review ->
Image source: Simon and Schuster

The Ironwood Tree by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black

Overview

The Ironwood TreeTitle: The Ironwood Tree
Author: Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black
Series: The Spiderwick Chronicles #4
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, FaeFantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: Jared looked at him with surprise.

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Synopsis

First a pack of vile, smelly goblins snatch Simon. Then a band of elves try to entrap Jared. Why is the entire faerie world so eager to get their hands on Spiderwick’s Guide? And will the Grace kids be left alone, now that the Guide has mysteriously disappeared? Don’t count on it.

At school, someone is running around pretending to be Jared, and it’s not Simon. To make matters even worse, now Mallory has disappeared and something foul in the water is killing off all the plants and animals for miles around. Clues point to the old abandoned quarry, just outside of town. Dwarves have taken over an abandoned mine there. And the faerie world’s abuzz with the news that a creature with plans to rule the world has offered them a gift to join with him — he’s given them a queen…

Thoughts

Throughout The Spiderwick Chronicles so far, Mallory has seemed like a bossy, tough, almost larger than life character. Probably because you’re almost seeing the story through the lens of one of her younger brothers. There is a sense of not-quite-hero-worship, and antagonism between Jared and Mallory, so it’s kind of fun that in this tale of the Grace children, it is Mallory who needs to be saved.

The problems that have slowly been building with Jared’s actions, the fae and the fieldguide finally start to come to a boil in this story. Not only are they forced to confront kidnappers and a shapeshifting horror, but they also find themselves betrayed, and confronted with Mulgarath for the first time. It’s a great way to open up the storyline for the next (and final) tale in this series.

Actually, this tale was such a great way to open up the storyline for the next Spiderwick Chronicles, that it took me a lot of willpower to turn off the light and go to sleep…

 <- Lucinda’s Secret Review The Wrath of Mulgarath Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

 

Lucinda’s Secret by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black

Overview

Lucinda's SecretTitle: Lucinda’s Secret
Author: Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black
Series: The Spiderwick Chronicles #3
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, FaeFantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: “We were looking for some trace of our great-uncle.”

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Synopsis

Let the story of my niece and nephews be a warning. The more you know, the more danger you’re in. And trust me, you don’t want to meddle with the Little People. — S.S.
One thrilling adventure — The Spiderwick Chronicles!
Their world is closer than you think.

Thoughts

The Grace siblings seem to steadily get pulled further and further into the world of the fae. From every book I’ve ever read, this just doesn’t seem to be such a great idea… but, the Grace children haven’t read as much as I have. You know, and they’re fictional children’s characters designed to emphasise that idea.

I loved the imagery of Aunt Lucinda in her little home, and the reasons why she was put there… the back story to the Spiderwick estate just seems to keep getting better and better too. After all, there’s a great tale there that is slowly being unfolded in front of your eyes. So much so that I actually struggled to put this book down, when the first two novels were much simpler to put down and walk away from.

Now I just can’t wait to open The Ironwood Tree… where will the Grace children find themselves next?

 <- The Seeing Stone Review The Ironwood Tree Review ->
Image source: Simon & Schuster