Book Review: The Folk of the Air Trilogy

Agastya Sharma
3 min readMar 27, 2022
LOOK AT THIS. NO, LOOK AT IT. IT’S BEAUTIFUL.

He told us to come be angry at a nearer distance. Well, I don’t see the point to being angry.

Hi! I’m back again. And today, I will be reviewing another book series I read recently, and one that made it to my heart as quickly. We shall talk about the Folk of the Air Trilogy by Holly Black.

Edit: I just realized that it’s been nearly a year since I did one of these. Jesus Christ. Well, for the nostalgia.

And here begins Agastya’s free, mostly-spoiler-free recap of the books and story.

We start off with our protagonist, Jude Duarte, witnessing the murder of her parents by her mother’s previous Fae (the people of Faerie, basically the literature version of fairy and fairyland) mate. Talk about jealous exes.

The Fae, Madoc, General of the Armies of King Eldred Greenbriar of Faerie, sweeps up the three crying children (Jude, her twin Taryn, and their elder sister Vivienne), and takes them to his stronghold in Faerie. Apparently, Jude’s mother was once in love with Madoc, and Vivienne was in fact his daughter. But fearing for her daughter’s life, she fakes her own death and takes Vivi to the mortal world, where she gets married to Jude and Taryn’s father. Extreme forms of divorce.

Jude spends the next ten years of her life in Madoc’s household as his daughter, her sister and her being the rare mortals in Faerie. She trains and becomes proficient in swordplay and battle tactics. She is then recruited by Prince Dain, son of King Eldred and favored heir to the crown, to his court of Shadows, full of lethal assassins and thieves, where her ambition causes her to make a few bad decisions along the way. Okay, more than a few. Holly Black managed to pen a trilogy about them.

Spoiler time! Get out of the way if you haven’t read it! GO!

Well, I warned you.

The first book ends with Jude tricking Cardan Greenbriar (youngest child of Eldred and future love interest) onto the throne, burdening him with all he attempted to escape from throughout his life. It continues with the second book, Jude as his seneschal, the most trusted member of his court, and his right hand. She battles a traitor in her entourage, while also fighting a rising number of feelings for a certain king. Meanwhile, all around her, her world crumbles as she is captured, tortured, and returned, made queen and then exiled. What.

Okay, we’re mostly done. Get back here.

Review time. Like most book series that I write about, I have nothing but a bucketload of compliments to give to Holly Black for this masterpiece of a series. Absolutely spectacular writing, brilliant storytelling and very well fleshed out characters made it all the better. And at no point during the entire series would you feel that the story seemed to drag on, as the story was incredibly fast paced.

There are a few things I would like to point out in particular (credit goes out to the people who convinced me to read this series; you guys helped a lot; thank you so much). First, would be the depth of the characters. Something that you don’t see usually in other stories that occurred here was the morality of all the characters being quite in question, and often ending up being very grey. They are fueled mostly by their own ambitions and wants, often sacrificing the greater good for selfish needs.

Second, the wordplay. In Faerie lore, the Folk are not allowed to lie, so they resort to half truths and deceit through carefully worded language. And to write a story, never mind three whole books, with Fae language, and still keep the suspense up in the way it was kept up here is honestly commendable in my opinion.

As I said, this series made it to nearly-the-top of my list, an achievement in itself. I have nothing more to say, unless you want to hear a 30 minute transcript of me gushing about Cardan Greenbriar’s cheekbones. Which, I’m guessing, you do not. So, well, I guess I end this here!

Hope you enjoyed this hastily put together article! I will keep posting until school starts back up (hah lucky you guys), so keep an eye out for that. Till then, goodbye!

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Agastya Sharma

A random nerd who reviews books and movies, and travels way too much.