Monday, April 1, 2024

The Prisoner's Throne - Holly Black

It's been a while - mostly due to how exhausting it is dealing with the feral kids we get during School holidays. It's very easy to believe teachers when they say behaviour is the worst they've ever known it to be. The worst offenders for us are the gangs of teen boys who run through the shop shouting p***s as loud as they can in people's faces, often whilst filming. They're too young to report through the usual channels and are fully aware that there are no real consequences to their actions. 

It's left me ready to go more or less straight to sleep as soon as I've got home, the endless rain hasn't been much of a mood lifter either, ut at least the clocks going forward hasn't had the negative effect it normally does on me, and hopefully a bit more daylight will lift my energy levels. 

I read The Prisoner's Throne just before I went away a couple of weeks ago. I liked it, but not as much as I've liked the rest of the series. I don't know if that's because this is the first Holly Black I've read that had a male protagonist, or if Oak's story was never going to be quite as interesting as Wren's, or maybe just that his story doesn't get quite enough room here given how far back it stretches into her world-building. Or maybe it's because he's the least human character she's centred on, or perhaps that the the reappearance of Jude and Cardan didn't hit quite right for me. Regardless I still enjoyed it and am encouraged that there seems to be more to come set in the same world. 

I followed up reading this by going back and listening to The Cruel Prince and skipping through key parts of the the rest of the series. I wondered if I'd still like them as much - I did. Holly Black absolutely remains as my favourite young adult writer, her take on fairy tale and folklore is a joy and I keep on recommending her to everybody who I think might enjoy these books.

The Prisoner's Throne is the second part of a duology based on minor character from the earlier Folk of the Air series. Wren, the snow child queen takes a back seat in this half, whilst Oak - the literal fairy tale prince takes centre stage as he tries to sort out the various messes he's made. I think there easily could have been three books in this series as well, especially with the reintroduction of older characters which I felt left more unresolved than otherwise. Though if there are more books to come perhaps some of those looser ends will be tied up.

I don't want to give spoilers, but there are Black's hallmark dysfunctional family relationships here, found family, young people coming to terms with who they are and want to be, a really well-built world based on centuries of folklore and myth, and a writer who never dumbs it down for her younger audience. Black isn;t just my favourite Young Adult author, she's almost my favourite fantasy author too - along with Sylvia Townsend Warner with her fairy tales. 

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