Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · New Releases

Book Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, Book 3) by Holly Black

Queen of Nothing

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

Opinion:

Jaw-dropping finale?

I mean…it was a finale.

Jude knows what it means to be hated by the Fae. To be a human in Faerie is wrought with dangers, and one slip of the tongue or an off-handed promise could be the end of your freedom and life. But Jude also knows what it means to have power. After successfully gaining control over Prince Cardan, putting him on the throne as High King and naming herself Seneschal, Jude was finally feared. And when things between Cardan and herself began to shift from deep hatred and cruelty, to something like affection, Jude relinquishes her control over Cardan in exchange for something more: marriage and a title as Queen of Faerie.

But it all came crashing down when Cardan banished her to the mortal lands for murdering his brother, and Jude is forced away from the home she loved and the power she so desperately craved. So when her twin sister Taryn shows up on her doorstep seeking help, Jude snatches the opportunity to return to Faerie and to reclaim what was once hers. But upon her return, Jude learns that Madoc plans to move against Cardan and to claim the position as High King for himself. Now Jude must decide what is most important to her: revenge or honor.

I have been waiting a YEAR for this finale with anxiety ripping apart my chest and a sadness so fierce, not even chocolate chip cookies and pie could remedy it! The Cruel Prince made me look at the Fae in a way that gave me chills. It made me squirm and think twice about being lured into the woods. But The Wicked King made me want to rip my heart from my own chest and offer it to a demon that would incinerate even the essence of my emotional being. It lit me on fire, turned my soul molten in liquid flame, and dripped through my rib cage out through my skinevaporating my body into a puddle of soupy despair.

And so when I finally got my hands on The Queen of Nothing, I devoured it with the eyes of fiend in a drugstore and the screams of a thirteen-year-old boy who just saw a PS5.

So how was it?

HOW. WAS IT?!?!

It was okay.

What I love most about The Folk of the Air is that Holly Black has given readers a side of the Fae that we don’t normally get to see in YA Fantasy. So many of us have fallen in love with the Sarah J. Maas depictions of these magical and powerful creatures who are both fierce and upstanding. They hold a sense of loyalty and honor, and want love and happiness.

And then there’s Holly Black’s Fae.

They are manipulative, twisted and demented creatures who find joy in twisting their words and making sneaky deals. Some kidnap, glamour and force humans to be servants in their homes, while others simply bite off a finger or two. They are immortal beings who flaunt their mystical beauty and use it to lure in unsuspecting victims like little mice lining up for slaughter. Humans are drugged through food and drink that makes them think that they are happy, but only glamors the truth of what is happening around them.

In short, it’s completely f***ed.

And I love it.

On its own, QON is a really enjoyable book. There is turmoil and a war that must be won, tricks and scheming to be had, revenge and romance to obsess over, and a few surprises that caught even me off guard.

But if I put QON next to the epic gut-wrenching tomes that are installments 1 and 2…

this book just falls flat and doesn’t impress me much.

I was expecting to be shocked, disgusted and infuriated by what happens to these characters. I was prepared to have Cardan crush Jude’s dreams AND mine, and I was more than ready to throw this book at a wall just to rush over to it apologizing and reading it over immediately.

But that just didn’t happen for me. In truth, this book feels more like fluff than the third and final installment of The Folk of the Air series. *There were countless plot-lines that weren’t tied up or were just randomly phased-out and unexplained. *Opportunities for Jude to really let her sadistic side shine were completely lacking (i.e. LOCKE). *It barely showcases Cardan, there is much less bloodshed and backstabbing, the story-line is fairly predictable, and everyone just seemed so…nice.

I am just overwhelmed with not feeling overwhelmed.

I think the biggest thing that has me annoyed is the relationship between Jude and Cardan. I needed ALL the information. ALL the explanations. ALL that happened while she was in the mortal lands. But did I get that?! No, not really. It’s a good thing I reread Cruel Prince and Wicked King before starting QON, because it gave me time to dissect every. single. thing. Cardan. said/did.

So without giving spoilers, I’ll leave you with all the things I wanted but just didn’t get.

Revenge. Double Revenge. Triple Revenge. Quadruple Revenge.

Wrap-up on Lady Asha, Nicasia, and Grimsen.

An actual profession of admiration, a gutting of a fox, why Jude has flowers in her side, the knowing to behead something and lastly…

THE LETTERS!

 

3-5-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

Binding of Bindings #18: 14 Summer Reads

It’s that time of year again, darlings.
Beach trips, sunscreen, bonfires and bathing suits.
I know you’ve been waiting for this

So grab those parasols and beach towels,
those water bottles and snack bags!
Summer is coming.

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~* 14 Summer Reads *~

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Yes, 14.
Because 15 would make too much sense.

 

1. The 1-800-Where-R-You series by Meg Cabot

The 1-800-Where-R-You series is one of my FAVORITES! I have been reading these books once a year for YEARS. I don’t think I will ever tire of them.

The series follows Jess Mastriani, a teenage girl who has a pension for hitting arrogant guys in the face and landing in detention.

A true hero, if you ask me.

On her way home from school one day, she is struck by lightning. The next day she discovers that she has an ability to find missing children, all she needs to do is see a picture of the child, go to sleep, and the next day she will know where they are.

This series is dark, adventurous, HILARIOUS and is even dripping in a nicely drawn-out romance with a bad-boy biker stud!

Commence the swooning.

 

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I mean…do I even need to explain this series?!?

The Hunger Games is a PERFECT read for Summer! Survival skills, hunting, murder, elegant gowns and death Death DEATH!

It’s a Dystopian series where each year one boy and girl from each of the 12 districts is offered up as tribute in the Hunger Games. It’s a fight to the death, and only one may come out as victor. Katniss is thrown into the games with little chance of surviving, but her time in the game will change the nation of Panem forever.

If you’ve never read these books and seen the movies, read these.

If you’ve never read the books OR seen the movies, read these.

You know what, just read these again.

You know you want to.

 

3. The Purification Era series by Angie Grigaliunas

If you guys still haven’t taken my glorious advice and read this series, then…

Just kidding

It follows two sisters who live in a place where Hulcondans rule over the people as their protectors, but also use their power as a means to get what they want. For Rabreah, the Hulcondans are corrupt and need to be taken down. But for Ariliah, they are who she trusts without a doubt.

This series switches back and forth between the girls as their lives are thrust into chaos. Rabreah joins the rebel group to take the Hulcondans down, while Ariliah puts all of her trust and faith into them. These books are ADDICTING, will make you cry, and make you fall madly in love.

(The series DOES center on threats of rape and in a world where men take advantage of women, but there are no graphic scenes)

 

4. One Moment by Kristina McBride

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After a traumatic accident that leaves her boyfriend Joey dead, Maggie finds herself unable to remember the final moments that lead up to his death. Maggie remembers spending the day at the gorge with her childhood friends and boyfriend, and she even remembers climbing up the trail with him to jump off the cliff together. But for some reason, everything else is a blank.

The typical summer read.

Friends hanging out together, young love, death.

This one is mildly depressing, so hold on to those teenage hearts!

 

5.  Holes by Louis Sachar

Holes

An AMAZING movie, and an even better read!

I just included this in my “YA Reads for the Young YA” a few weeks ago, which made me watch the movie again. And honestly…

It NEVER gets old!

Stanley Yelnats believes the men in his family are cursed, why else would he have been sent to Camp Green Lake? There isn’t even a lake! After Stanley is unjustly caught stealing, he is sentenced to the camp in order to “build character“, by way of digging holes. But soon Stanley realizes that the boys at Camp Green Lake aren’t just digging holes to “build character“, and that the truth behind the curse on his family may be at the bottom of a hole.

 

6. The Shadow Falls series by C.C. Hunter

This series is just DRIPPING in all those dreamy summer camp vibes!

But these teens aren’t your typical camp goers. Werewolves, vampires, witches, faeries and shapeshifters are here to train and harness their powers. So why is Kylie sent there? A young girl learns that she is more than what she seems, all the while stuck in a love triangle with a half-fae named Derek and a werewolf named Lucas.

I’d suggest just buying the entire series at once. Don’t do what I did and only buy book 1 first.

Trust me, regret will follow.

 

7. With Malice by Eileen Cook

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When Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room she doesn’t remember being in; or even coming to for that matter, she quickly becomes panicked. Not only does she learn that she had been involved in a terrible car accident, but she soon realizes that she cannot remember the past six weeks of her life. But when Jill learns that she was the driver of the car accident that killed someone else, she rushes to find out what really happened.

This has the Amanda Knox trial ALL over it!

It’s a great story to get lost in this Summer that centers on a trip to Italy, and two best friends. It is sinister and honestly pretty messed up, but it is SO good!

 

8. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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So I haven’t yet read The Help, but I am BEYOND obsessed with the movie and have watched it dozens of times!

It is set in Mississippi in 1962 where black women work as maids in white households, earning very little and being treated horribly by most. The story is told by three women – Skeeter a young white woman with dreams of becoming a writer, and Aibileen and Minney who work as maids in white homes.

The three women come together to tell their tale of life from the maids perspective. To shed light on how they are treated at work, and in their personal lives.

The movie is BEYOND powerful, and I can only assume the book will be even more so!

 

9. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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We Were Liars is the epitome of a YA Mystery doused in wealth and privilege. It is the coming-of-age story with a little bit of everything – innocence, love, family, tragedy, greed, heartbreak and of course…lies.

Coming from a family of old-money and pride, the “Four Liars” and their families spend every summer on Harris Sinclair’s privately-owned retreat. However, during Summer Fifteen (summer + current age of the Liars) Cadence was found alone on the beach, half-naked, and nearly underwater with a serious head injury that resulted in her losing her memory of what happened. For the next few years Cadence spends her time suffering from terrible migraines, taking painkillers, and no memory of most of Summer Fifteen. Now two years later, she is finally returning to Beechwood after her accident to be reunited with her liars and to find out what really happened to her that summer.

It is SO hard to not get lost in this creative and secretive story, and the writing is superb:

Then he pulled out a handgun and shot me in the chest. I was standing on the lawn and I fell. The bullet hole opened wide and my heart rolled out of my rib cage and down into a flower bed. Blood gushed rhythmically from my open wound, then from my ears, my mouth.
It tasted like salt and failure. The bright red shame of being unloved soaked the grass in front of our house, the bricks of the path, the steps of the porch. My heart spasmed among the peonies like a trout.
Mummy snapped. She said to get hold of myself.
Be normal, now, she said. Right now, she said.”

 

10. The Walking Shadows series by Talis Jones

Alarum

Alarum is the PERFECT Dystopian Western to tear your heart out over the Summer! It’s Mad Max meets Wild Wild West, and it is EVERYTHING!

The U.S. has fallen, and in its wake is a lawless country. Children have been ripped from their families, pushed into Corrals, trained to be soldiers and slaves, and then sold to the highest bidder. This story follows a girl with many names, as she traverses this new world and tries to make sense of it.

 

11. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Tuck Everlasting

This story was required reading in fourth grade, and it was one of the few books my entire class actually enjoyed being forced to read. It’s sweet and innocent, but also gives the reader insight into how important this one life is!

This is a story of a family who will live forever due to drinking from a magical spring, and a young girl who happens upon the youngest son of the family while he drank from it. It is a tale of romance, but most importantly, a story of choice: to live forever or to simply live.

It is a great story for all ages, and one with a fantastic and beautiful message.

 

12. Along the Indigo by Elsie Chapman

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I am a serious obsession with this book, and I think it’s mostly due to how incredibly weird it is. 

It’s a about a sixteen-year-old girl named Mars who seeks to leave her small town with her sister. Down by their home, which is a boarding house that serves Johns (yes, you know what I mean) there is the covert where townspeople go to commit suicide, and where Mars skims bodies for money in hopes of escaping.

It’s different, it’s dark, but it’s lined with a sunshiny innocence that makes it feel almost normal. It sounds strange I know, but it feels like an “old-timey” read that will instantly hook you.

It will forever be one of my favorite YA books.

 

13. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

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This was another required reading in school, but one with a VERY powerful message.

In is set in South Carolina in 1964, and is about a young white girl named Lily Owens who is distraught by the death of her mother. She is raised by her abusive father T. Ray and her stand in mother and maid, Rosaleen. When Rosaleen gets put into jail for “disrupting” three white men, Lily helps break her out and they run away. They eventually come to stay with three black bee-keeping sisters, where she is taught valuable lessons and the truth about her mother. 

It is a necessity for every mother and daughter to read, but should be required reading for EVERYONE! It’s a feel-good story, and a GEM of a book!

 

14. The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black

I saved this series for last, because you all already know that you need to read it!

I know a lot of you are waiting to start the series once the release date for book 3 gets closer, and might I just say…you’re a bunch of smart cookies!

Because this series is devastation.

My heart was torn out, and I’m still sitting here hyperventilating while I try to stuff it back into my chest and sew it up.

It follows a human named Jude who lives in Faerie with her sister and the murderer of their parents. She is ridiculed and tortured by the Fae, especially by the youngest Prince of the High Court and his minions. Usually choosing to be meek and keep her head down, Jude decides to fights to win a place at court. But she realizes that the politics and deceptions in the inner circle might just be more than she bargained for.

This is a DARK, DEPRESSING, GRITTY, and CRUEL Fae tale, so guard your loins.

Enjoy the series this summer if you do plan on reading, and I’ll keep you in my thoughts as you suffer through these books and then wait for book 3, like me.

Until then

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What books are you guys planning on reading this summer? Any from this list?!
Let me know!
As always, stay witchy! ❤

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Binding of Bindings · Books · New Releases · Reviews · TBR · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #4: January Book Wrap-Up

binding of bindingsthis

Come little children, I’ll take thee away

Into a land of enchantment

Come little children, the times come to play

Here in my garden of magic.

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January Wrap-up

Let’s just DIVE right in!

 

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

the cruel prince

If you haven’t started this series yet….

well I just don’t even know what to say to you.

The Cruel Prince is the opposite of everything you thought you knew about the Fae. They aren’t dainty creatures that act like little cherubs, they don’t want to shower you in luck and magic, and they sure as s**t DO NOT love humans.

These faeries are RUTHLESS and CUNNING tricksters.

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The Cruel Prince is about a human girl named Jude, her twin, and their half-Fae sister who find themselves living in Faerie. Jude is tortured and ridiculed on a daily basis, but finds that she has grown to love the world of Faerie. It is a FANTASTIC story and a WONDERFUL introduction to this series.

(See my review here)

 

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, Book 2) by Holly Black

the wicked king

…there’s not much to say here.

Except, you know…

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This book evoked only the BEST and ANGRIEST gifs I had.

This book might kill you.

You may see darkness, a brief flash of all your best moments in  life, and a light at the end of a VERY SMALL and VERY NARROW tunnel.

But don’t worry. Because you won’t be reaching the light.

It’s all SWEET, LINGERING, WOEFUL DARKNESS from here my friends.

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(See my review here)

 

Immortal Girl5 by Griffin Stark

Immortal Girls

Not the best of my January reads, but a decent one at that.

Or a decent attempt at least.

Immortal Girl5 is about five (duh) girls throughout history that are turned immortal to protect the world…I mean, I think that’s what their purpose is? They basically show up in well-known parts of history, like to defeat Jack the ripper or to assist Anne Frank and Joan or Arc. It is an interesting concept, but just wasn’t executed well.

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However, I think it would be a great starter book from a child or young teen though.

(See my review here)

 

Evenfall (Shadowfire, Book 1) by Gaja J. Kos and Boris Kos

Evenfall

If the cover doesn’t make you fall in love, I don’t know what will.

Evenfall is about a girl who wake in a world that isn’t hers. One where magic flows and is used by men AND women, and one where she is hunted. Ember is the savior of this world and the others, and the Crescent Prince is hunting her down to use her powers for his bidding. Supposedly 😉

Look. This book was WRITTEN BEAUTIFULLY and the world that was created was BREATHTAKING. The only issue is the pacing, and the insta-love. The beginning starts out a little slow and boring, but then halfway through it is RACING to the finish line.

There IS an insta-romance, so if this annoys you to no end, I won’t blame you.

BUT. If you can get past these little things, the book really is an intriguing and interesting read. It’s a magical YA Fantasy that has legs to become truly fantastic.

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(See my review here)

 

The Giver, Graphic Novel by Lois Lowry and P. Craig Russell

the giver

THIS.

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THE GRAPHIC NOVEL FOR THE GIVER.

Need I say more?

(See my review here)

 

The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale

The Cold is in Her Bones

Here we come to The Cold is in Her Bones.

By far the strangest read of January 2019.

It is a retelling of Medusa, mother of us Slytherins! ❤ It is about a young girl who has an affinity for Snakes. Once her family sees this though, they basically say she is possessed by the devil.

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She curses the village and all the women living and to come, that they will have the same affinity to snakes as her. It is a VERY compelling read and has a dark 1800’s folktale vibe to it. You will probably give an audible WTF at least once while reading, but trust me. It’s worth the read.

(See my review here)

 

Dream Keeper (The Dark Dreamer Trilogy, Book 1) by Amber R. Duell

dream keeper

I REALLY tried to like this and I REALLY tried to stay positive about it.

But sometimes, there’s just not a opening for positivity.

This is a Sandman retelling, or spin-off…however you want to look at it. It is about a girl that has been visiting the Sandman in her dreams since she was 12, and is now thrust into the throngs of murder and terror. The Weaver (the Lord of Nightmares) begins terrorizing Nora’s life by killing her family and friends, in order to get a dream that she has.

It had great potential, but was just SO hard to get through. The characters were dull, the pacing was off, prominent characters weren’t mentioned until 75% into the book, and it just had a cheesy feel to it.

I don’t recommend.

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(See my review here)

My January Book Wrap-up leaves me with a total of 7 books read, and honestly, that’s not too bad.

I am currently reading Enchantée by Gita Trelease, which I started in January, but am still reading. I am hoping to have 7 or more books done in February, so fingers crossed!!

Thanks for reading witchlings!

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Book Reviews · Books · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, Book 2) by Holly Black

the wicked king

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

Opinion:

So there I was.

Curled up on the couch upstairs.

Enjoying my lunch break in silence. Reveling in the comfort and bliss of a book of fantasy and Fae, magical creatures and humans.

Devouring the pages and words with the eyes of a stalker, with the death grip of a blubbering woman not at all keen on letting go of a lover.

With the enthusiasm of a book junkie getting their long-awaited fix.

There I was.

Just…minding my own business.

And then

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Dear Holly Black,

Please accept this as my death letter. For 2019 is ruined, and I cannot go on.

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All of Jude’s scheming has finally paid off, or has it? With Oak safely in the mortal world with Vivi and Cardan successfully bound to Jude, things should be going smoothly. But Cardans constant antics and games have left Jude to be the one ruling faerie from the shadows, with Cardan fighting her every step of the way. But with new power comes something worse, the craving for more and a target on your back. There are whispers of an attempt to overthrow the High King, but when? Jude is told that she has been betrayed by someone she trusts, but who? With her feelings for Cardan in a constant state of confusion, and the fate of an entire world on her shoulders, Jude fights to keep her carefully constructed pieces from scattering in the wind.

I feel nauseous.

You’d think I would catch on to these blind-sides and surprises by now. If not from the mass number of books that I murder, then from reading The Cruel Prince and knowing that Holly Black likes to TORTURE her dear and devoted readers.

My day had STARTED out pleasant.

Now, it’s a swirling pit of misery and disgrace. I am DISGUSTED, yet slightly charmed. Wholly DEVASTATED and…a bit impassioned. My stomach feels like its attempting to crawl up my throat, dragging my heart from the depths of bleak outlooks and deprivation. As if my insides have decided “to hell with it”, and will begin seeping out and dissipating into the cruel air and harsh lighting that is my life as of now. First came the disbelief. The shock and the audible gasps. Then came the incessant repeating of No, NO, NOOOOO! The Anger! THE AGGONNNNYYY!

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Dramatics aside. This book is f*****g amazing. I flew down the stairs in a panic as soon as I finished; I immediately began furiously pounding my feelings away through my fingertips, onto this keyboard, and into this theatrical review. But now that I have finished throwing my feelings up all over these pages (because we ARE at two pages already), what do I say without spoiling everything?!

I say this.

Taryn is still a tripe. Madoc is still a devious strategist. Jude is still cold and cunning. And Cardan is still cruel, while also quite wicked. As I was reading through The Wicked King I wondered if Holly Black could really have any more tricks up her sleeve. I assumed everything that had come after The Cruel Prince would be on a milder scale. Sure, there would still be malicious games, callous moves and bloodthirsty characters. BUT, I thought the worst had passed.

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I am SO gullible.

The backstabbing has reached a new level here, along with the “blood is thicker than water” sayings. It’s almost laughable how righteously f****d these characters are to each other, especially when you stop to imagine yourself in this world. The constant looking over your shoulder and anxiety of being plotted against. The riddles and lies that are spewed in elegance. The stab wounds and death threats that skate alongside the small smiles and kisses. IT’S ALL TOO MUCH!

But as wicked as the king is to be said, Jude is truly the most wicked of them all. There’s just SOMETHING about a girl that can stab a man in the neck that just makes me do a little dance on my tippy toes. Whether it’s her Oscar worthy acting skills or her sarcastic taunts and digs, I can’t help but adore the girl to pieces. There is truly something to be said for a woman that can make her heart as cold as ice. Something of brilliance, I imagine. But next to Jude, we have Cardan. The sweet and infuriatingly dreamy Cardan. *SIGH*…what couldn’t one say of his character?! He is suave, he is arrogant and clever. He is still a jackass. Though I didn’t think much of Cardan before, I sure as hell do now! *Slow and sarcastic clapping* Well done Cardan. Well done.

Though now, I have even less I can say without being the Viscount of Vague! There are conversations in towers, a crown of foul-smelling mushrooms, plotted assassinations, betrayals by the trusted, time spent in the waters, poisonous poisons, duels ‘till the death, ruby rings and moves and counter moves! There is just so little I can say, but I CAN say this: waiting a year for book three is definitely and undoubtedly the bane of my existence.

Until then, I leave you with this.

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