How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black

by Hope Hanson
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Holly Black King of Elfhame cover

A prince of Faerie, nourished on cat milk and contempt, born into a family overburdened with heirs, with a nasty little prophecy hanging over his head–since the hour of Cardan’s birth, he has been alternately adored and despised. Perhaps it’s no surprise that he turned out the way he did; the only surprise is that he managed to become the High King of Elfhame anyway. 

Some might think of him as a strong draught, burning the back of one’s throat, but invigorating all the same. 

You might beg to differ.

So long as you’re begging, he doesn’t mind a bit.

–from inside How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories
Rating: 4.75/5

To begin with, I would just like to say that the artwork in this book was stunning. Being able to see these scenes come to life on the page was such an amazing experience. Though, the illustrations were also just so jaw-droppingly beautiful, they could stand on their own apart from the story and I would still be in love with them. 

But moving on from the gift to humanity that the artwork was! Seriously, the book as a whole was excellent and I’m so happy that Holly Black chose to write this story. 


It was amazing to see how Cardan became the (admittedly very problematic) person he was at the start of The Folk of the Air. Experiencing those events from his own perspective was both interesting and satisfying. And to see the impact that different people and events had on him, to have insight into his own thoughts and reactions to those experiences? It was just incredible.

I especially loved being able see Cardan’s perspective on the kind of person he was becoming because of it all. As much as I love Jude’s perspective, it was so satisfying to see his character fully fleshed out in his own point of view. 

And, truthfully, one of my favorite things was that Cardan’s relationship with Jude wasn’t the sole focus of the story. In fact, it didn’t even seem to be a main point, in my opinion, though that might just be me. Admittedly, I wasn’t particularly fearful that it would be prior to reading the book, but still. I was just incredibly happy with how Black structured the book and the parts of Cardan’s story the plot did focus on. 

TL,DR Recommendation

All in all, How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories was a beautiful work and an excellent addition that I absolutely adored. Fans of the previous books will be far from disappointed if and when they choose to read it. 

Find and get a copy through the author’s site here!

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