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.

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.

OwlCrate July 2018 Book Review: “My Plain Jane”

OwlCrate July 2018 Book Review:

“My Plain Jane”

The Lady Janies Book 2

by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

NIKKI’S RATING: 8 OUT OF 10

Summary: Wanting nothing more than to become a governess, Jane Eyre leaves the miserable Lowood school to pursue her dream. But then her secret gets out, Jane Eyre can see ghosts. As she is caught up in the Royal Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits, Jane finds herself falling for the wrong man, while her best friend Charlotte Brontë finds inspiration for the novel she always wanted to write.

8 Playful Things about Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows’s “My Plain Jane”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Jane Eyre

“Jane Eyre” is a beloved novel with a Romantic love-story and “My Plain Jane” is a rather hysterical and fantastical retelling of this classic. As Hand et al. states in their dedication:

“And for England (again). We’re really sorry for what we’re about to do to your literature.”

2. Charlotte Brontë

Being the author of “Jane Eyre,” Charlotte Brontë is actually a main character in “My Plain Jane” and in the novel, it is the events that take place in “My Plain Jane” that inspire Charlotte Brontë to write “Jane Eyre.” It is a nice touch done by Hand et al. and they also include some facts of Charlotte Brontë’s real life throughout “My Plain Jane.”

3. Hysterical

Probably the best thing about “My Plain Jane” is the humor. The authors’ main goal appears to be providing the reader with a comical story and they truly deliver. One of my favorite quotes that had me laughing:

“There was only one conclusion Jane could draw from the style and design of the dress and it was this: it had to be thought up by men. Then women could in no way outrun them, and with the lack of oxygen to the brain due to a rib cage the size of a fist, they could not outthink them. And with the bright colors, they couldn’t hide. No running, no thinking, no hiding.”

(Hand et al. 373)
4. Pop Culture

Throughout “My Plain Jane” are little pop culture references to other stories such as “Harry Potter” and “The Princess Bride” which just adds to the fun!

5. Collaboration

Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows are all successful writers and it is amazing to see such talented writers come together to collaborate on one project.

6. Explanations

Thankfully the authors explain terms and customs that readers may be unfamiliar with due to the novel taking place in the 1800s.

7. Fun

Overall “My Plain Jane” is a fun novel. The novel is fast-paced, writing is good, and while the novel is inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre”, “My Plain Jane” is drastically different and offers a fresh spin on a timeless classic.

8. My Calamity Jane

The Lady Janies book 3 “My Calamity Jane” is set to be published in 2020 and it looks to be another fun read!

What were your favorite things about “My Plain Jane”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.