I am a completely whimsical reader – I tend to read in line with how I feel. For example I craved a lot of escapist fantasy early this year, then moved to nonfiction, then had a serious romance / women fiction / contemporary YA stages. I tend to get impacted by how I feel a lot, and my choice of books usually reflects this.
Why am I telling you this?
Fantasy was on hold for a while – I just did not feel like reading about mythical creatures. However I’m happy to report that this particular phase has past and that my fantasy obsession has been renewed.
And I have Holly Black‘s The Lost Sisters to thank this for.
Remember how much I enjoyed The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (review here)?
The Cruel Prince enchanted me with its complex, not entirely likeable characters as well as the exquisite world Black so craftily created. I appreciated how easy it was to dislike all her characters, how their flaws made them relatable on so many levels. And of course how our need to belong was explored.
“I have lied and I have betrayed and I have triumphed. If only there was someone to congratulate me.” ~ The Cruel Prince
I’ll start with a caveat – The Lost Sisters is a short story and I was a little disappointed, when I realised a chunk of the novella actually belonged to The Wicked King‘s introduction. Don’t take me wrong, I loved reading the beginning of The Wicked King but it was a bit of a let down to realise this book was even shorter than originally anticipated.
The format of the story is an apology Taryn is practising for her twin sister Jude and despite its length, it was marvellous to be transported back to the darkly lush and decadent High Court of Faerie. I must admit I now crave more Faerie wickedness than ever before! 😊
“Fairy tales are full of girls who wait, who endure, who suffer. Good girls. Obedient girls. Girls who crush nettles until their hands bleed. Girls who haul water for witches. Girls who wander through deserts or sleep in ashes or make homes for transformed brothers in the woods. Girls without hands, without eyes, without the power of speech, without any power at all. But then a prince rides up and sees the girl and finds her beautiful. Beautiful, not despite her suffering, but because of it.”
The Cruel Prince is narrated by Jude and Taryn‘s actions are described via Jude‘s interpretation of them. Let’s say Taryn did something rather questionable and I did wonder about her motives when reading The Cruel Prince. Reading Taryn‘s side of the story in The Lost Sisters was a very welcome addition to the previous book.
Did I like Taryn‘s apology? Nope, I sort of hated it as it was along the lines of ‘
love lust made me do it’.
What I appreciated though is how complex and flawed Taryn is and how skilfully can Black dive deep into our souls to draw those little dark demons out and let us face them via her characters.
Taryn desperately wishes to be seen and to belong. She is selfish, cruel even, but underneath her jealousy, we can see her desperate ache to be loved and accepted. Black also explores Taryn‘s fear of abandonment, to the point that I had tears in my eyes for most parts of the story.
I have to applaud Black for her ability to see our darkness and our fears and reflect them not only in the dark and manipulative Fae, but also in her human characters. It would be so easy to go down the ‘evil Fea, good humans’ route and I am so happy that Black continuously chooses not to.
I recommend this novella if you enjoyed The Cruel Prince and cannot wait to read The Wicked King as it is a lovely ‘waiting piece’ and will make the anticipation of the new release even sweeter.
Now over to you.
Can you please help me with my Fae obsession and could you recommend me some darkly delicious Fae reads please?
I loved Moning’s Darkfever as well as Kagawa’s Iron Fey books. Many thanks! 😊