Now I am not normally someone to particularly keep up with new releases. But when I recieved this insanely hyped book in the January Fairyloot box, I couldn’t help but dive into it almost immediately after hearing nothing but amazing things about it ever since it was released. I’d never read a book by Holly Black before, and so didn’t really know what to expect other than a dark faerie story, and that is exactly what I got. I am so glad I decided to pick up this book, especially because of the huge hype surrounding it, as I absolutely adored almost everything about this story, and now can’t believe that I hadn’t read one of Holly Black’s books sooner.
One of my favourite things about this novel was the gorgeous world Holly Black created within it. Her writing just slowly immerses you into this magical yet dangerous place that developed so well throughout the entirety of this story. I am already anticipating being able to return to both this world and to Holly Black’s writing as I adored how she was able to really create this three-dimensional, atmospheric world through just her words.
And can we just talk about the large cast of characters this book included?!
This book instantly got major brownie points from me for its huge cast of complex, well developed characters who are each so unique and so amazing to read about. I loved reading about everyone, from Jude’s family to the members of the royal court, and just adored how each of them impacted the story in their own way. It really helped to further develop this amazing world, as we got to see and explore so many different characters within it, and so got to really delve into the society and its inner-workings, and the politics of it. In particular, I really loved Cardan, Prince Dain and Orianna, as I loved how unpredictable they were, as we slowly got to learn more and more about them and their past, as well as how manipulative and complex they all were.
And I have to admit, I am quite a big fan of Jude. I loved that our main character was not this pure, innocent girl who wouldn’t fit into faerie, but was rather an almost anti-hero of sorts who desperately wanted to be accepted into this dark and twisted world. She was not a moral character, as she was so manipulative and deceitful, and so I loved following her story as she wasn’t ever afraid of what she would have to do in order to reach her certain goals.
This book has most certainly ignited my love for dark fantasies and dark faerie stories. As someone who is still fairly new to this sort of story, I adored how twisted and corrupt the whole world was, with every character having their own agenda to which they act according to. Even characters who you think you can trust will suddenly turn straight around and knock you over with another dark secret that you never saw coming.
One thing I will say is that I definitely preferred the second half of this book. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the first 150 pages or so, or that they were any less engaging, but personally I was just so much more of a fan of the story when the true complexities of it began to really show themselves. I much preferred all the court politics and scheming to the bullying in the first half of the book, and so naturally this was my favourite aspect of the story. All in all, I just found it much more interesting to read about, as well as much more fast paced as we got to explore secrets and intricacies of the faerie world rather than just learning about Jude.
With that in mind, this complexity of the plot was something that I also absolutely loved within this book. So much happened in this book that even when I was only halfway through I kept thinking that events that had happened only recently actually took place much longer ago because this plot just never slowed down. This is definitely a book that starts of simply about Jude, her family, and her rivalry with Cardan, but slowly begins to transition and develop into a much more complex and detailed plot about court politics and the faerie society as a whole. We get to learn so much about the corruption within the kingdom and the hidden backgrounds of so many characters that really help to flesh out the plot and create a plot that I just couldn’t help but love.
However, as much as I loved almost every other aspect of this book, one that I just could not get behind was the romance. I don’t want to spoil anything about the romance for anyone who has yet to read this book, so I’m not going to get into specific details as such, but what I will say is that I was just not a fan of how the romance developed at all. I was kind of worried from the start of the book that this particular romance was going to happen, and so when it did I just didn’t particularly enjoy it, even if I didn’t hate it as such. I am still curious to see where it goes in the next book, as I am definitely not set on my opinion here, so for now I am just going to have to wait and see if my hopes come true.
So overall I really loved this book! I adored everything from the gorgeous world to the amazing characters and spectacular plot that just kept me wanting to read more and more. I am so glad that I read this book and that it lived up to the hype for me, and I now can’t wait for The Wicked King to come out next year!
Have you read this book – what did you think?