My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Once upon a time, there was a boy with a wicked tongue.
Before he was a cruel prince or a wicked king, he was a faerie child with a heart of stone. Holly Black reveals a deeper look into the dramatic life of Elfhame’s enigmatic high king, Cardan. This tale includes delicious details of life before The Cruel Prince, an adventure beyond The Queen of Nothing, and familiar moments from The Folk of the Air trilogy, told wholly from Cardan’s perspective.
Cardan is one of the most hated faeries in all of Elfhame. This made me a little sad in the other The Folk of the Air books, as it seemed to me that Cardan was simply misunderstood. Sure, he says and does terrible things, but when you consider his upbringing, can you really blame him?
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories is a collection of short stories, taking us deeper into the life and mind of Cardan. We get a glimpse of Cardan’s childhood, when he first meets the troll, Aslog. She tells him a story, which we soon realize, sticks with him throughout the course of his life. We also get to relive some moments that we’ve already seen, only this time they’re through Cardan’s eyes and not Jude’s. Telling the story this way definitely changed my perspective of certain key moments of Cardan and Jude’s relationship (in a good way).
I liked the way that each story was told in a faerie tale-esque manner, complete with beautiful and whimsical illustrations. Like with most fairy tales, these stories remind us that not everything is as it seems and that (sometimes) the villain really isn’t all that bad.