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How to Read Holly Black’s Faerie Books

Greetings, mortals! So, you’ve decided to embark on a journey into Holly Black’s world of Faerie. Here’s some guidance from a well-worn traveler on how best to read these thrilling books:


  1. Pick your starting point

Part of the beauty of Holly Black’s Faerie is its many different points of entry. Mine was Tithe, and I have been a loyal devotee ever since. If you want to dive right in with a trilogy, The Cruel Prince is your best bet. Jude’s mortal schemes will give you a true taste of everything Faerie has to offer. However, if you’re not ready to dive in headlong, you could try a standalone entry. The Darkest Part of the Forest will give you a great introductory feel for Faerie, and some iconic romance to boot. If you want to be there for the start of a new duology, The Stolen Heir is what you’re looking for. While it does feature characters from The Cruel Prince and its sequels, collectively called the Folk of the Air series, you can absolutely choose The Stolen Heir as your initial foray into Faerie. Being there from the beginning means you won’t have to worry about spoilers, in case that’s a concern (and it should be).

  1. Tread carefully

The Faerie courts are notoriously challenging to navigate. As you read these books, I can personally guarantee that your heart and mind will suffer great trials and tribulations. Be prepared to gasp, to scream, and perchance to cry. (A soothing beverage will go a long way towards taming your nerves.)

  1. Don’t be afraid to retrace your steps

Once the twists start coming, they do not stop coming. A mid-series reread is never out of order. Feel free to reread books before moving on to the next installment. You can even go back a few chapters to search for breadcrumbs if you’re really feeling the narrative whiplash. Holly’s books are full of treats and hints to delight the rereader.

  1. Keep an eye out for familiar faces

Characters you’ve met in one Holly Black book tend to pop up again. Sometimes these characters are only described, not named, so you’ll need to pay close attention to spot all of the cameos. Seeing personal favorites from the Modern Faerie Tales (Tithe, Ironside, and Valiant) appear in the Folk of the Air is the ultimate fan reward.

  1. The end is just the beginning of a new adventure

Once you’ve finished one book, or even one series, you will undoubtedly want more. Fortunately, you can jump from series to series within Holly Black’s Faerie. (Note: How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories makes for a special treat after finishing the Folk of the Air books.) And when you’ve finished them all, you should absolutely reread them.

Here’s to scheming great schemes and reading (and rereading) great books!