Series Review | The Folk of the Air by Holly Black

If you are looking for a fantasy series that you will breeze through but not love, then the Folk of the Air series is for you.

Spoiler: This series review will be on the scathing side and there will be some spoilers ahead. If you want to read these books, please do. I am just one reader. That’s why art exists – to enjoy and critique and discuss.

I read the Folk of the Air series fairly quickly – I read the second book in just one day. But don’t let that fool you – I did not enjoy them.

Me not enjoying them.

They were alright … I wouldn’t recommend them to a friend who loves epic fantasy. But would I recommend them to someone just starting to read fantasy? Maybe. Eh. No. I just wouldn’t recommend them. I hate when books don’t live up to the hype.

I admit that the storyline and premise of these books are compelling. Three sisters are dragged away from our world to the magical world by a sadistic lunatic. Seven-year-old Jude (our MC/morally gray heroine) watches her parents get murdered by this guy Madoc, and then she is swept off to Faerieland (very original name, by the way), and then she and her sisters are raised as his own. Turns out one of his sisters, Vivienne, is his actual daughter, but Jude and Taryn’s mother fled from Madoc and married Justin (lol) and was in hiding. Well, he found them!

As you attempt to grapple with the very bloody, violent first chapter (isn’t this YA? Jeez), you learn that now 17-ish-year-old Jude has some sort of Stockholm syndrome, icky I-want-to-please-my-new-daddy relationship with Madoc. It’s gross. GROSS. Jude and Taryn strive for his approval and are constantly trying to make Faerieworld/Faerieland work while they are literally being ABUSED by their fae magical classmates. They are almost killed or manipulated/drugged on multiple occasions by their peers. Jude is also almost killed by her eventual love interest. But don’t worry. He is *hot* and *misunderstood* like every abusive dude in fantasy books. He also has a tail.

Jude is definitely a character with potential. She has that morally gray/power thirsty personality that fantasy authors love so much. She wants to be a knight and wants to be accepted by Faerietown. She will do what it takes to get there, including spying on the king and working undercover. See? Cool stuff. POTENTIAL.

Like I said, the books have potential, but they all fall SO. FLAT. It’s disappointing. You have an interesting world (which the author does not thoroughly explain or describe, so you are doing your best to create a hodgepodge fantasy world in your head as you read), with characters that seem cool and interesting (but again, hardly described), but they are too two-dimensional to really grasp. I wanted more in every book.

Again, I will say this to authors: We want more than flowery prose! We want substance! I’m looking at you, Addie LaRue! From the plot and cringeworthy dialogue to the prose and internal monologues, I kept on shouting “GIVE ME SOMETHING!” The romance between Jude and Cardan is even flat and unconvincing. If you’re going to try and normalize toxic boy behavior at least make the lovers compatible/interesting.

These books just weren’t it. They all followed the same structure … slow start, picked up in the middle with the big climatic finish. OK. Next book. Oh, same structure? OK. Last book. SAME STRUCTURE. The EPILOGUE had more context and closure than the entire series …

There’s much more I can say, but I’ll end it with this sassy note: You’ll fully describe an entire family being gruesomely butchered, but you won’t describe a sex scene? K.