Wednesday, December 9, 2020



Rating: 1.5/5 stars

All my friends are going to hate me for this review since I’ve had at least five different people asking me since the day this book came out when I was going to read it, but . . . umm . . . this book was pointless and utterly unnecessary.

I truly believe that Holly Black only wrote this short story collection because fans wanted more content than what she gave us in The Queen of Nothing since it was published way sooner than intended, but The King of Elfhame didn’t fill any of the plot holes she left us with or give us any relevant content, and it’s obvious this was published 100% for the money.

The book contains eleven chronological stories all told from Cardan’s perspective, but they were all stories about nothing. Literally nothing. Like this entire book is filler content about Cardan merely existing in the mortal world and talking to Aslog the troll and it’s all super unmemorable, and that’s the truth. The stories are all quite short and interspersed with pictures—I would say that over 60% of this book is actually pictures just to fill space so the publishers actually had something halfway substantial to sell. At least 44 (I counted) of the 173 pages are full-page illustrations, many of them repeats from page-to-page, and I’d estimate that at least 80% of the other pages have partial-page illustrations on them, with all the pages that contain text having larger-than-normal margins and spacing and font size. It is crystal clear that the book designer tried to fill as many pages as possible, when all eleven stories could have likely filled less than thirty pages if you removed the illustrations and abnormal layout choices.

The pictures are honestly the only part I enjoyed about this book though, so I’m glad they were included. The drawings are beautiful sketches of scenes from the stories, and Rovina Cai does a really good job even if the actual content of the stories was less than satisfying. I’d love to read a graphic novel of the Folk of the Air trilogy illustrated entirely by her, or even a no-text picture book by her because that would have been more enjoyable than this book.

Back to the book though. Not a single one of these stories served a purpose or added any new details or depth to the original trilogy. I don’t feel like I know Cardan any better now than I did before. I have learned nothing from reading this book. I would guess that only diehard fans are going to enjoy this collection, of which I am not one. I didn’t like it, and I’m super disappointed, and that’s that. Come at me.

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