7 Weleful Things about Holly Black’s “The Wicked King”

“The Wicked King”

The Folk of the Air #2

by Holly Black

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Jude Duarte, kingmaker, has been secretly ruling Faerie for five months. Five months of politics, meetings, parties, correspondences, petitions, training, and banquets all while keeping the reluctant High King Cardan, in line and trying to find a way to extend their bargain so she can keep her power. But then Jude finds herself in the Undersea and captive to Orlagh, Queen of the Undersea. With no means to escape, Jude must hope that Cardan tires of ruling without her help and comes to rescue her before he loses the kingdom to his murderous brother Balekin.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is thewickedking.jpg

7 Weleful Things about Holly Black’s “The Wicked King”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Characters

Characters in The Folk of the Air series are complex, believable, and relatable. Not one character is absolutely good or evil. The main protagonist Jude is power hungry and manipulative. Taryn, her good-natured, well-behaved sweet sister betrays her for a boy. And even Balekin, who is mostly an evil bastard, has some redeeming qualities.

2. The Undersea

Faerieland in The Folk of the Air is enchanting and magical. Filled with countless beings of all shapes, sizes, and colors, it is apparent that Holly Black was inspired by many different myths, legends, and folklore about faeries. In “The Wicked King” readers get to experience more of the land of Faerie and get to see the world of the Undersea and more of Orlagh’s merpeople and selkies.

3. Writing

Holly Black keeps a fast pace in “The Wicked King” with political intrigue, deceptions, and manipulations. Readers are left not sure on who to trust and trying to figure out who is pulling the strings on whom. With a fantastic imagination, Black blasts us through this Faerieland adventure that is hard to put down.

4. Cardan

Cardan really starts to grow into a more likable character in “The Wicked King.” Not only is he embracing not being cruel but he begins to understand that as a king, he does have some responsibilities to his people. And thankfully, it seems that the land accepts Cardan.

5. Jude & Cardan

Probably this readers favorite aspect of The Folk of the Air series as she is a sucker for romance, the relationship between Jude and Cardan is exhilarating and frustrating. Both of them have feelings for each other but are both so afraid of rejection and getting hurt that they are constantly denying their feelings and are pretty volatile towards each other. And then without talking about their feelings they just went ahead and got married. Idiots.

6. Balekin

This reader would like to take a moment to celebrate that this asshole is dead, hoorah! Manipulative, sadistic, murderous, deceptive, abusive, the list could go on. Balekin was clearly a villain and yet, Cardan couldn’t bring himself to have him executed. This shows how unmonstrous Cardan actually is and that for all the outward appearance of being cold and uncaring, he is actually soft-hearted and feels deeply. It also reminds readers that it was Balekin who took Cardan in when he was abandoned by their father because of a prophecy.

7. The Queen of Nothing

Jude’s adventure concludes in Book 3 of The Folk of the Air series, “The Queen of Nothing.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

8 Idolized Things about Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

by Maya Angelou

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: Beloved poet and author Maya Angelou takes us back to her childhood. Raised by her religious grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya endures abandonment, racism, and rape. But most importantly, this memoir is about how she overcame these and found hope, love, and herself through so many trials and tribulations.

8 Idolized Things about Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Writing

First and foremost, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is written beautifully, as is all Maya Angelou’s work. While I prefer her poetry, Angelou is a phenomenal author and writes eloquently with great description and a knack for using words effectively to capture emotions.

2. Pacing

Memoirs and/or biographies can be very dry and unengaging, just a statement of facts and dates without any real purpose or emotional connections. Thankfully, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings does not have this problem. Pacing throughout this memoir was good and each story was filled with emotional engagement that will draw readers in.

3. Racism

Obviously a great amount of Maya Angelou’s upbringing was overshadowed by racism being an African American woman. Angelou describes the experiences she had with racism and readers are able to feel the wrongness of such attitudes even when they were not meant to be malicious. Such as Angelou not being able to get emergency dental work done simply because she was “colored” or her boss calling Angelou by the wrong name simply because she didn’t want to take the time to say her real name. Racism is not about hurting others because of their color, it is about treating them differently because of their color.

4. Rape

Any woman who comes forward and tells her story of being raped is courageous beyond measure. While incredibly hard to read, Angelou’s experience of rape is shared by countless women and it is vital that she shared it. Obviously this trauma shaped who she was but more importantly, it may help other women to share their story or help them understand they are not alone and their feelings of shame, confusion, self-hatred, anger, despair, and/or fear are valid.

5. Humanity

While humanity is not exclusively all bad, the human race has done and continues to do some terrible shit. In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Angelou paints the picture of both the good and bad aspects of humanity that she has seen in her life but one line that really resonated with me was:

“As a species, we were an abomination. All of Us.”

181

6. Reading

Being an avid reader and loving to devour books, it is so meaningful when an author shares this enjoyment as well. And Angelou describes the magic and enchantment of reading so well:

“To be allowed, no, invited, into the private lives of strangers, and to share their joys and fears, was a chance to exchange the Southern bitter wormwood for a cup of mead with Beowulf or a hot cup of tea and milk with Oliver Twist.”

100

7. Kindness

The balance to all the bigotry, hate, and trauma Angelou endured is the kindness she experienced from others. None more so than Mrs. Bertha Flowers who threw Angelou “a life line” and was able to draw Angelou out to talking again by giving Angelou special attention, inviting her inside her home, telling her about the power of words, and lending Angelou books to read aloud. This story was a perfect example of how a simple kindness can have a tremendous effect on others and ultimately the world. Like throwing a stone in a pond, one never knows how far out their ripple of kindness will flow.

8. Overcoming

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings does not progress too far into Angelou’s life but where it ends off is shortly after becoming the first African American employed on the San Francisco streetcars and this is no small achievement. In regards to overcoming so many obstacles and becoming a woman to be reckoned with, Angelou explains:

“The Black female is assaulted in her tender years by all those common forces of nature at the same time that she is caught in the tripartite crossfire of masculine prejudice, white illogical hate and Black lack of power. The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors and deserves respect if not enthusiastic acceptance.”

272

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

OwlCrate Book January 2018: “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black

“The Cruel Prince”

The Folk of the Air #1

by Holly Black

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Stolen from the mortal lands, Jude and her sisters are brought up in Faerieland and it is not all that magical. Faeries are cunning, manipulative, and love playing tricks especially on mortals, which they generally hate. No longer belonging to the mortal world, Jude learns to navigate their world and play their malicious games. But then the High King is killed and Jude finds herself caught up in a web of intrigue and a bloody political coup, which turns her life upside down all over again.

OwlCrate Book January 2018: “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Setting

While most of The Folk of the Air series takes place in Faerie, the world includes our modern mortal world as well. It is actually relatively easy for faeries to travel between the two realms allowing characters to go back and forth without consequences. This was a fun change from a fantasy novel being placed in a mythical land in which our world didn’t exist. Reminds me of Labyrinth.

2. LGBTQ

As always, I appreciate any author that includes positive, normalizing inclusion of the LGBTQ community in their novels. In Holly Black’s Faerieland, LGBTQ relationships appear to be accepted and Jude’s sister Vivi is actually in a serious committed relationship with another woman.

3. Sisterly Love

Overall, the three sisters, Jude, Taryn, and Vivi are there for each other and really show sisterly love. Throughout “The Cruel Prince” they are each other’s confidants, advocates, and counselors. They give each other space when needed, understand it when one of them has a secret that they are unwilling to share, and are willing to help each other with no questions asked.

4. Cardan

Cardan is an intriguing character, while he appears to be cruel there is an element of reserve, like he doesn’t actually enjoy being mean. He does terrible things but isn’t quite the monster his brother Balekin is and there may be hope for him to be better. It appears that Cardan is a product of his upbringing, as we all are, and with being abused, ignored, and taught to be ruthless, this is all he knows how to be. Perhaps free of his family he can become something different.

5. Emotional

“The Cruel Prince” pulls at the emotional strings, especially conflicting emotions. Madoc’s fatherly relationship with the girls, even though he murdered their parents. Taryn’s betrayal of Jude with Locke, even though they are sisters and twins at that. Cardan’s cruelty and then seeing him being beaten. Dain appears to be a fair and just prince and then he has Jude stab herself for making a mistake. Then there is Cardan wanting Jude but being repulsed and ashamed for his feelings. Holly Black creates an emotional whirlwind between her characters and one doesn’t know how to feel about anyone.

6. Surprise Twist

Holly Black did an amazing job of slowly revealing Jude’s overall plan to have Oak become High King. I didn’t realize who was going to be crowned until Cardan knelt before Oak, it was a surprising twist but makes total sense for Jude’s end game. Looking forward to seeing how this dangerous gamble plays out.

7. The Wicked King

As Cardan is now High King and in a binding agreement with Jude for another year, Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air series continues in “The Wicked King.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

8 Benevolent Things about John Hargrove’s Beneath the Surface

Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish

by John Hargrove

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: Wanting nothing more than to work with orcas, John Hargrove realized his childhood dream and became a killer whale trainer at SeaWorld. But after 14 years of working at SeaWorld of California, SeaWorld of Texas, and MarineLand in the south of France, Hargrove walked away and gave up his dream. In this heartbreaking and honest memoir, Hargrove spills the secrets of SeaWorld’s Shamu Stadium and the atrocities the corporation allows for the sake of profit.

8 Benevolent Things about John Hargrove’s Beneath the Surface

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Educational

Beneath the Surface was full of fun facts that were interesting, such as orcas are matriarchal and pods are centered around a dominant female. And while Hargrove pulled from his own experience and observations from working with orcas, he also offers insights from researchers and experts who study the lives of orcas living free in the wild.

2. Prisoners

One of the strongest points that Hargrove makes clear is that the orcas of SeaWorld are prisoners. No matter what improvements and changes the corporation makes to their living conditions or treatments, these animals are captives. And this imprisonment is not done for their protection or for their health, they are captive solely for profit.

3. Captivity

The most heartbreaking thing about Beneath the Surface is reading how the orcas behave in captivity. Pulling the paint off their pool from sheer boredom, crying and wailing after being separated from their calves, repeatedly raking each other, which is not normal behavior in adult wild orcas. To animal deserves to live in captivity.

4. Trainers

While Hargrove makes it known that he does not agree or condone with the policies and practices of SeaWorld, he remains extremely respectful towards the employees who work for SeaWorld. As someone who lived through the struggle of wanting to help the whales and yet knowing that SeaWorld was exploiting the animals, Hargrove understands the compartmentalizing employees must do and he respects that these other trainers and employees have a different journey than he does. He does not villainize them or imply that they are making the wrong choice.

5. Exposure

SeaWorld was exposed in the documentary Blackfish but Hargrove is able to shed more light. As a former employee, Hargrove is able to give examples of events that occurred at SeaWorld that the higher ups ignored or spun in ways that made humans look at fault. Never has SeaWorld come forward admitting that the orcas are dangerous, as they are prisoners held in tight quarters. Rather, they point the finger at the trainers, “She allowed her hair to touch the water and the killer whale thought it was a new toy.” “He panicked and drowned.” “The trainer missed his mark, didn’t give the right signal” etc. Hargrove is able to give testimony that SeaWorld is concerned about one thing: money. No amount of concerns from trainers, experts, or advocates have made them change having the killer whales for entertainment.

6. Beauty

Although Beneath the Surface focuses on the horrors done to captive orcas, Hargrove does an amazing job of conveying the beauty and majesty of killer whales. The communal bonds they share, the attachment and dedication orca mothers have to their offspring, no matter how old they are, and the relationships they can create with humans. Hargrove truly shows how complex, emotional, and intelligent killer whales are and that these beings deserve our respect, love and awe.

7. Necessary Evil

Sadly, there are still quite a few orcas in captivity and Hargrove explains that SeaWorld may be a necessary evil at this time. Hargrove is realistic and realizes that these captive orcas behave so unnaturally, with some of them being unnatural hybrids, that they would have no chance of survival free in the wild. Hargrove’s proposed solution is for the orca breeding program to be ended and that capturing any dolphins or whales be illegal world wide. And then finally, providing the already captive orcas with a more humane cage where they can live the remainder of their lives not performing or in isolation.

8. Advocate

Now that he has left the life as a killer whale trainer, John Hargrove is now an advocate for them. He maintains his deep love and respect for these animals and now serves them in a different manner. As with this book, Hargrove is attempting to put an end to whale captivity and educate the public and lawmakers through speeches and interviews. He had a choice to step away from SeaWorld, keep his mouth shut, and move on to a new chapter in his life. Instead he chose to stick up for the whales and take on SeaWorld. 


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

7 Weighty Things about Jodi Meadows’s “When She Reigns”

“When She Reigns”

Fallen Isles #3

by Jodi Meadows

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: The Great Abandonment has begun, Idris has risen and no one knows which Fallen God will rise next. As Mira and her friends scramble to find a way to save everyone, their worst fears are confirmed when they learn that the dreaded Empire is working with Anahera. With two foes to fight, Mira takes a risk and goes to the Queen of the Empire to propose a new agreement between the Isles and the Empire. But they may be out of time. Once the double eclipse takes place, the Great Abandonment will be complete and the Fallen Isles will be no more.

7 Weighty Things about Jodi Meadows’s “When She Reigns”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. LGBTQ Inclusive

The Fallen Isles world is inclusive of the LGBTQ community. Through the trilogy, there is a lesbian couple who are side characters and part of Mira’s core group of friends. But in “When She Reigns” there is a scene in which politicians and other influential people are condemning the isle of Idris for not allowing men to marry men or women to marry women.

2. Aaru

Aaru has been a favorite throughout the Fallen Isles Trilogy and happily in “When She Reigns” he begins to speak verbally again showing that he is healing from all he has suffered. One of my favorite things about Aaru is his thoughtfulness especially in regards to Mira. He never rushes her, he does not chastise her, but most importantly he allows her to make her own decisions. Aaru respects that everyone has a right to choice, no human should be able tell another human what they can or cannot do if no one else is being affected.

3. The Empire

While brief, “When She Reigns” takes place in the Empire and though the interactions were sometimes less than pleasant, it was nice to be able to see the Empire and have some of the characters’ misconceptions corrected. One thing that stuck out was Mira being surprised that people of the Empire looked like herself and others of the Isles to the point where they could easily blend and secretly spy without being detected as foreign.

4. Consequences

The Fallen Isles Trilogy overarching plot revolves around the fact that the humans of the Fallen Isles did not protect dragons, the children of the gods, and the consequences are catastrophic. There is a mirror to our world about how we have destroyed our planet across the generations and still are not coming together to fix it. Much like the governments of the Fallen Isles, there are partial attempts, half-assed declarations and intentions that do not solve the problem but are deemed good enough as a means to save face.

5. Sacrifice

Mira’s sacrifice was not what she expected and it was utterly heartbreaking when LaLa and Mira tried to come together before she relinquished her dragon soul. Though it was her dragon soul she needed to sacrifice and not her human life, which was a mercy in many ways, it was still devastating. But a sacrifice is never truly worthy unless it is something you love. Regardless, Mira made it allowing herself and her friends to survive the Great Abandonment.

6. Death and Rebirth

Meadows effectively utilizes the concept of death and rebirth in “When She Reigns.” Through the Great Abandonment and the sacrifice of Mira’s dragon soul, a new dawn arises. A natural cycle, death allows new life, an ending creates a beginning. While death is difficult, there is a purpose and there can be joy found in the sorrow and Meadows paints this beautifully.”

7. Conclusion

Overall, the Fallen Isles Trilogy conclusion is rather bittersweet but fitting. A new island is formed by Mira’s sacrifice but many people of the Fallen Isles perished and those that survived are left giftless now that their gods are gone. Regardless, they are left with a fresh start, a second chance to take care of the dragons and create a better life for them all.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

6 Affective Things about Jodi Meadows’s “As She Ascends”

“As She Ascends”

Fallen Isles #2

by Jodi Meadows

Nikki’s Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary: Escaped from the Pit, Mira and her friends are on the run as they are pursued by Khulani warriors led by Altan, their imprisoner and torturer. As they travel across the Fallen Isles searching for a safe sanctuary for the dragons, they come to realize that the conspiracy to capture and ship off the dragons may have not been limited to just Damina. Governments on each Isle may be complacent and their gods are angry. As quakes and storms ravage the Fallen Isles, Mira realizes that the Great Abandonment has begun and it may be too late to save her beloved dragons.

6 Affective Things about Jodi Meadows’s “As She Ascends”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Inclusion

With the exception of one Isle, being of the LGBTQ community is widely accepted in the Fallen Isles world and Meadows includes a lesbian couple as part of Mira’s core group of friends.

2. The Fallen Isles

The Fallen Isles world is enriched due to the vastly different cultures, traditions, and values seen on each isle. Most importantly though is that Meadows includes examples of misunderstandings and missed opportunities that may arise due to making assumptions, stereotypes, and judgments about others based on their culture.

“We’d both spent those moments making incorrect assumptions about propriety and culture and intention when we should have just talked.”

Meadows 456

3. Aaru & Mira

Ever the romantic, my heart was so happy when Aaru and Mira finally kissed and professed their love. It was nearly torture for almost two whole books of them looking at each other longingly and then deciding that the other didn’t actually like them.

4. Anahera

Surprising twist to find out that perhaps the Empire may not be the big bad but it is actually the Fallen Isle Anahera who are collecting the dragons and noorestones. Believing that cleansing fire is the way to redemption, Anahera would want nothing more than the Great Abandonment to come about in order to “save” the world. Looking forward to seeing how this all unfolds and to learn more about Anahera but I must admit some hesitance in believing a spy from the Empire.

5. Dragons

As a dragon lover and overall animal lover, it was hard reading about how distressed and sick the dragons were. But thankfully I can rejoice and can continue reading the Fallen Isles Trilogy knowing that for now the dragons are free and well. Mira’s affinity for dragons is amazing and I’m absolutely jealous!

6. When She Reigns

Thankfully Jodi Meadows’s Fallen Isles Trilogy concludes in the next book “When She Reigns.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

OwlCrate Book September 2017: “Before She Ignites” by Jodi Meadows

“Before She Ignites”

Fallen Isles #1

by Jodi Meadows

Nikki’s Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary: Mira, the Hopebearer, beloved to the people of the Fallen Isles, finds herself in the most unimaginable situation, imprisoned in the notorious and brutal Pit. When she went to the Luminary Council after finding out that dragons, the children of the gods, were being kidnapped, Mira expected outrage and a swift plan to stop the culprits. Now she must consider that it was her government, the Luminary Council, that sanctioned this affront to their gods. Mira must find a way out of the Pit to save her cherished dragons and stop the Great Abandonment, the rise of the Fallen Gods, from happening.

OwlCrate Book September 2017: “Before She Ignites” by Jodi Meadows

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Dragons

Probably my favorite fictional creature, I love dragons. I totally relate to Mira’s character of absolutely cherishing them and wanting to protect them at all costs. In the Fallen Isles world, dragons are children of the gods and endangered thanks to humans. Bit of a reflection of how we are killing our own beautiful animals on planet Earth.

2. The Fallen Isles

The Fallen Isles world is unique and utterly beautiful in its myths and constructs. The Fallen Isles are actually gods who fell from the sky and are known as the Fallen Gods. Each Isle has a unique culture, government, and religious book based on their Fallen God.

3. Gifts

Each of the Fallen Gods have gifts or powers that people of their island are bestowed. Some of them include being able to create silence and/or hear exceptionally well from Idris the Silent, increased speed, reflexes, strength from Khulan the Warrior, charm and allure from Damya and Darina the Lovers, Harta the Daughter allows her people to promote growth of plants, and people of Bopha the Shadow are able to manipulate shadows.

4. Anxiety

I’m really curious to know if author Jodi Meadows actually suffers from anxiety and panic attacks because she really captures this insidious mental condition very well. The main protagonist, Mira Minkoba, suffers from panic attacks throughout the Fallen Isles Trilogy and it actually caused me to experience some anxiety while reading because Meadows does a very accurate job of describing the feelings. As someone with mental illness, I always appreciate books that include characters with mental illness as it is a way to destigmatize it and help others to understand and realize we are human too, not crazy. Also provides great examples of someone being able to thrive regardless of mental illness.

5. Friendship

“Before She Ignites” portrays friendship at its finest. Mira’s best friends Ilina and Hristo attempt to spring her free from her imprisonment at the risk of their own lives and freedom. Even though dehydrated and a prisoner himself, Aaru gives Mira water and stays with her when she unleashes uncontrolled power. Mira chooses to go back to the Pit to free her friends instead of running free when she could have. These friendships are absolutely inspiring!

6. As She Ascends

The Fallen Isles Trilogy continues in Jodi Meadows’s “As She Ascends.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

10 Kingly Things about David Grann’s “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

by David Grann

Nikki’s Rating: 10 out of 10

Summary: Living a life of luxury during the 1920s, the Osage Nation in Oklahoma were the envy of many and this envy took a deadly turn. Members of the Osage tribe began dying under suspicious circumstances and anyone who investigated were murdered as well. With the rising death toll, the newly put together FBI gets involved and exposes a large conspiracy that will haunt the Osage for generations to come.

10 Kingly Things about David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Educational

Killers of the Flower Moon was an absolute eye-opener, I’ve never even heard about the Osage Nation and definitely not about their murders. This novel was a wealth of knowledge about the Osage Indians, the Osage murders, and also the beginnings of the FBI. It is a testament of the atrocities we can do to fellow human beings due to prejudices and believing they are less-than.

2. Osage Indians

David Grann showed the utmost respect when talking about the Osage Tribe and their people throughout Killers of the Flower Moon. Grann gave background and described some practices of the Osage people but he did not attempt to be an expert and he did not make stereotypes. He did not portray them as ignorant savages who need pity nor did he portray them as nature protecting shaman who should be revered.

3. White Power

Ultimately, the Killers of the Flower Moon is a story of how whites took advantage and even killed many members of the Osage Tribe during the 1920s for their money. And they got away with it because of prejudices and discrimination against Native Americans. Many of the whites in the county including judges, policemen, and doctors were complacent, no one cared about the rich Indians and there was an overall attitude that these crimes were okay because they were benefiting white people.

4. Good Whites

On the flip side, David Grann makes sure to show that not all whites in Osage County were involved with the conspiracy. There were some white men who honestly tried to solve the Osage murders and found themselves killed as well. And then there was Comstock, an affluent white citizen of Osage County who openly and willing assisted investigators.

5. New Information

One of the most important things that came out with David Grann’s investigation into the Osage Murders was that there were more killings than just what the FBI investigated and pressed charges for. Through Grann’s research he found that hundreds of Osage Indians had died at a much higher rate than normal and that all of them had money being overseen by whites. Grann uncovered a conspiracy that went farther than what was once believed and the victims will never have justice.

6. Writing

While incredibly heavy with dates, facts, and overall information, Killers of the Flower Moon does not read like a history textbook. Instead Grann does an exceptional job of uncovering the facts, people, and places in a story-telling way and he keeps his readers engaged with great pacing, beautiful descriptives, and a layer by layer reveal of the conspiracy and its key players.

7. Context

Another exceptional writing skill that Grann displays is that of contexts. Grann makes sure to explain customs or norms that were different during that time period. He also includes background on numerous characters allowing readers to better understand their motives, values, and choices. And Grann also includes reminders of who people are in relation to events. This was incredibly helpful and allowed for easy understanding without having to flip back in the book or to look something up.

8. Now

Even though the events of the Osage murders occurred during the 1920s, Grann visited Osage County and interviewed relatives of those who were directly involved. This is so powerful because of generational trauma and the fact that so many of the murders did not get investigated. Grann looks at the repercussions on a people who have been abused and neglected by the government and justice system that was meant to protect them. 

9. Pictures

Throughout Killers of the Flower Moon are pictures. Pictures of people, sometimes places but pictures to help remind you that these are not fictional characters. The tragedies that happened in Osage County during the 1920s were real. Killers of the Flower Moon isn’t a fictional mystery novel and the pictures help provide context but also to drive that fact home.

10. References

There was extensive research done for the Killers of the Flower Moon and Grann has both an “Archival and Unpublished Sources” and “Selected Bibliography” included at the end. It is proof that Grann did his work and provides credibility to all information presented in Killers of the Flower Moon. It is hard to realize that this tragic tale is not fiction but rather a true tale of horror that many people lived through. 


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

5 Foremost Things about Kendare Blake’s “Five Dark Fates”

“Five Dark Fates”

Three Dark Crowns #4

by Kendare Blake

Nikki’s Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary: Katharine is the Queen Crowned, yet her two sisters still live and the island is not happy about it. The mist that once protected and concealed the island now raises up to gruesomely slaughter all who come into contact with it. As Queen Mirabella seeks out Queen Katharine to find a peaceful solution, Queen Arsinoe prepares for war, backing the rebellion of the Legion Queen. All the while, Queen Katharine is finding that she may have doomed the whole island as she is the Undead Queen and may not be able to control the rageful dead queens inside of her.

5 Foremost Things about Kendare Blake’s “Five Dark Fates”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The Gifted

Many residents of Fennbirn are gifted with supernatural powers. There are the elementals that can manipulate the elements of earth, air, fire and water, with Queen Mirabella being the strongest one in a long time. Then there are the poisoners such as Queen Arsinoe that are able to ingest poison, withstand them, and have uncanny abilities creating them. Naturalists like Queen Katharine are able to influence plants, communicate with animals, and usually have a familiar. Then there are the oracles or seers and the warriors who are war-gifted and have exceptional fighting skills.

2. Concept

Overall, the concept for the Three Dark Crowns is pleasantly unique. A set of triplets are born each generation by the preceding queen and then those triplets must battle to the death. The remaining girl becomes the Crowned Queen and reigns until she bears the next set of triplets. Very dark and twisted.

3. LGBTQ

Blake includes a LGBTQ romance budding between Jules and Emilia. There also seems to be no uproar from other characters so in the Three Dark Crowns universe this is accepted and appears to be viewed as normal. Hopefully we can get there one day!

4. The Queens

While they have been taught and raised to not trust each other, the three queens do attempt to work together. They remember that they loved each other once and that perhaps they can be there for each other instead of against each other.

5. Conclusion

“Five Dark Fates” has an overall happy ending for such a bloody and dark tale. Queen Katharine redeems herself in many ways, even though she was never truly monstrous. The Legion Queen is crowned and the island begins to change. There is no more mist to conceal Fennbirn and the reign of the three queens is finally over. And although Billy has left back to the mainland, “Five Dark Fates” ends with Arsinoe leaving to find him.

What were your favorite things about “Five Dark Fates”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.