THE WICKED KING (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black | Review

Amazon | TBD | Goodreads

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.


I have to say that I remember really enjoying The Cruel Prince. I re-read my review of it, and while coming across a little harsh, I still stand by it. I felt, in short, that I just really didn’t like the main character, Jude, but the surrounding characters, mainly Cardan, were really well written, and that’s what kept me interested.

So, naturally, my expectations for the second book were relatively high, hoping for some character correction with Jude. But, unfortunately, I just don’t think we got that.

In fact, I think we added on another issue — the pacing. I understand that some people want to go into a book where one thing after the other happens sentence by sentence, but this sequel, to me, just seemed so poorly paced, it was almost ridiculous. I feel we spent a good 150 pages getting aquatinted with everyone again, while having 20 pages for conflict build up, 30 pages with the actual conflict, and the rest just winding down to the ending.

Cardan, again, was the best character, but I felt we hardly got to see him. Jude remained annoying, and the story ended with a “cliffhanger” that, I will admit, I didn’t see coming. But with such major pacing issues, as I felt this book had, I’m just not sure I want to continue with this series. We’ll see. The thing is, is I don’t really know if I should be blaming Black here or her editors.

In the end, this book was enjoyable, just not Black’s best.

Rating


Have you read The Wicked King? What did you think? What’s your favorite Holly Black book? Let’s chat int he comments!

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I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS by Iain Reid (Review)

I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Shout out to thats so reaghan and her marvelous cat Buffy for this picture.

210 Pages

So I picked this one up at the “Staff Recommended” shelf at The Strand in NYC, with such blurbs that said things as:

“Absolutely chilling. I can recall very few times in recent memory I’ve been so physically unnerved by a novel.”

–Bustle

And the fact that this was a “thriller”, I was like, “what the hell” and I bought it.

So, they say the best way to go into this novel is not knowing anything, but I’m just going to tell you up front that, in the end, I didn’t like it.

Like, at all.

And I’m going to list the reasons, but, since I do agree that, if you’re going to read it, you need to go in blind. So, I would consider the rest of this review filled with spoilers. So stop now if you don’t want to know anything about it.

Review:

So, the basic premise behind this novel is that a girl is dating this man named Jake, and they’re going to visit his parents. But, she’s thinking of ending things with him, with herself, you don’t really know. You just know she’s “Thinking of ending things” (don’t worry if you forget it, because the author makes sure to tell you about 20 times, not to mention it’s the title of the book.) But, anyway, minor thing.

So, my main issue with this is that I don’t really like books when the author is clearly trying too hard. This was one of those cases, in my opinion. To me it felt as if the author sat down in front of his computer and was like “hmmm, let’s see…what’s a plot twist I can think of that, in the end, the reader is going to have to re-read the entire novel (or at least the ending) to maybe, vaguely understand what was going on…or even better…leave what happened open to interpretation!”

I think I have learned my lesson now when the cover promises an “ending that you’ll never see coming”, because I now know that just means an ending that makes no f-ing sense or is confusing as hell.

The writing, overall, is pretty good. I liked the style, at times. Whenever the girlfriend was describing things, it was good. But, once I read the ending, I just found it extremely pretentious, to be honest.

Another major problem I had was that this “girlfriend”, or the main narrator, is never given a name. Once you find out the ending, it all makes sense, though…kind of. But, it’s still annoying and just adds on the the pretentiousness.

So, now I’m going to talk about the ending. So, if you’ve made it this far and don’t want to know, then turn away.

So, once you reach the end, the “girlfriend” is in the middle of a school being chased by a lunatic. Oh, wait, the lunatic is Jake. Oh, wait, Jake is the girlfriend. What? 

So, turns out Jake made up this whole “girlfriend” character in his head, because he was deciding whether or not someone would date him and he would commit suicide or something something something…I looked up at the explanation on GoodReads, because I honestly had no ambition to re-read the entire freaking book (especially after it turned into this whole “we” perspective).

But, all in all, Jake is crazy and has just been imagining this all in his head. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Throughout the novel, the way the “girlfriend” was describing Jake just seemed unlikely with someone with a multiple personality, though I can’t really say, just the way it was presented I don’t think works with the novel. There were just descriptions of intimate relationships that I don’t think would have worked the same.

The one thing I will give it props for is that, before the “big reveal”, the scenes where the girlfriend is running around the school were a little creepy, when the notion of having three characters was still an option (the girlfriend, the person chasing them in the school, and Jake).

All in all, this book started off interesting and turned into something too pretentious for my taste, but I was entertained at times, so that’s good (and why it will get an extra star).

I mean, why would you write a book forcing your reader to re-read the work in order to get the ending completly? It just doesn’t make sense and is not something I have time to deal with when there are so many other books on my TBR.

Skip this one.

Final Rating:

Untitled design-5

Notes:

If you ant to give this mess a go, here’s the link to buy it.

Best,

Daniel

 

STICKY NOTES by Indy Yelich (Review)

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I don’t think it’s a huge secret around anyone who knows me that I have a huge, huge, huge respect for this family in general, as Ella (Lorde), is the person who pretty much helped me discover that there are people out there just like me, going through the exact same experiences. So, both her and her sister, the author of this book, Indy, I have been following on social media since around 2015. Basically, this family is a powerhouse of talent and creativity. However, I will not let any bias sway me in my thoughts towards this poetry book, so please keep that in mind.

I feel it’s only appropriate to give a bio of the author and then the description of the poetry book, in general.

Bio: Indy Yelich is a 19 year-old young writer living in a world of lights and loudness, hopping between LA and NYC (recently settling in NYC), who is the sister of the famed, young icon Lorde, and the daughter of accomplished, New Zealand poet Sonja Yelich. Indy likes M&M’s and writing sticky-note reminders to herself.

Description: sticky notes is the debut poetry collection from rising poet Indy Yelich, separated into to two section LA and NY. The poems in this collection tackle everything from heartbreak, to city life, to being “the sister”.

Basic Thoughts:

I had been aware that this was coming out for quit awhile, and was honestly half super excited, half nervous. The “half-nervous” part comes from the fact that, while it’s really unfair to compare Indy to anything but herself, I feel the world had a lot of pressure placed on her leading up to the work; she had a lot to live up to. While I understand that this stigma of being “the sister” or “the daughter” is something she wants to separate from and, as a student, is something that I try to not base my opinions on, it is an issue that is there and may be ignored by me, but won’t be ignored by some.

Before getting deeply into this, let me say I deeply commend Indy for taking that step and putting herself out there – stepping away from the stigmas that come with being the sister and daughter of people that already have such a huge reputation.

NOW, getting into the poetry itself…

It’s good. It’s actually quite good. But, just like anything, there are pros and cons.  Let’s get into it.

Pros:

  • Very easy reading; great for people unfamiliar with reading poetry
  • Very emotional and the author was able to get the point across easily
  • I think the book covers a very wide spectrum of things, which I found nice (i.e. they didn’t all harp on heartbreak, etc.)
  • Reading this made me feel really “in-touch” with the author; it was a very intimate experience
  • Extremely relatable to youth, in general

Cons

  • Some adjectives got in my way
  • I thought the content lists were poems

Overview

I marked the hell out of this one. Not with corrections, no, but just because I felt like it.

Starting with one of the pros, I felt like this book is, and is going to be, very easily accessible to people who aren’t that familiar with poetry already. All of the poetry is free verse, so you won’t see many rhyming patterns in it or anything, which I think helps it convey the emotions it wants to get through a lot easier without any of the cheese. I felt that, a lot of the time, the message Indy was trying to get across to the reader was usually pretty easy to get within the first read or two.

I feel this book does show a very wide variety of raw emotions and feelings that are easily accessible to youth (and older people reminiscing about youth), but also looking at many things from different perspectives. I felt that I was really digging into Yelich’s mind at some points.

I do have to say that I thought the two content pages in the beginning were actually poems because I’m…I don’t know. But, I’m quiet embarrassed by that, but I think Yelich should be proud that she managed to make poem titles that strung together in such a way that I thought them poems haha.

One point of contingency for me was that sometimes I felt some of the adjectives were a little over-used and could have been taken out and still had same effect on the reader, but I feel that is just any pattern you see with younger poets (including myself), so it’s nothing to really ACTUALLY fuss about, but I did have to mention it.

While the book is filled with a couple of Rupi Kaur type poems – really short, if we’re being basic about it – the majority of the book is filled with nice, full poems that make you swoon at some points (my favorites being “thievery” and “hero”, both from the LA side of the book). I feel that Indy is very in-touch with her emotions and knows how to convey that to the audience – managing to do so in her first collection

FINAL RATING: 4 out 5

Final Thoughts

Overall, I felt that this was most definitely strong first publication from Indy.

I felt all of the content were things highly relatable to my life, especially as a new adult.   This book, from what I can see, has managed to get youth reading and get people actually excited about poetry, which is one thing that is so magical about this work. I feel like Indy has a lot more to say, and I’m excited to see it.

Indy is on her way to honing her poetic voice down to a tee, and this is an amazing start to that. I’m excited to see were her career grow.

But, for now, I think she’s definitely managed to separate herself from the title of “the sister”.

Best,

Daniel xx

Buy the book here.


I did a really cool interview with a local poet that you can check out here!