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


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. Revealing a deeper look into the dramatic life of Elfhame’s enigmatic high king, Cardan, his 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.


I’m not usually the type to read short stories, as honestly, I don’t like them. However, I will always make an exception for Cardan Greenbriar. Saying I don’t like them is hyperbolic, I’m just not into them. I feel like as soon as I get into what’s happening, it’s over. However, How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories, is different. Each story fed into the next and they all had a connecting theme. 

Being back in the world of Elfhame was pure joy, I love the world so much, and you do get some extra information on what was happening behind the scenes of The Folk of the Air trilogy. I love the little callbacks and seeing how Cardan developed over time, across a shorter period of time, was really fun. 

I feel like because this book is super short, there isn’t much for me to comment on. The style this was written in was much more poemy (not a word) than the original series. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t like it as much, but it wasn’t terrible. 

My absolute favourite thing about How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories was the accompanying illustrations. These really brought the stories to life and they were stunning. It was a really unusual art style and they didn’t draw Cardan exactly how I picture him, but I liked it.

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