Disillusioned: losing the love of a series

Two years ago I fell into the black hole of hype around The Cruel Prince. I bought all the special editions, the merch, and sat at my computer filled with anxiety with my fingers furiously refreshing while I waited for book boxes to go on sale.

As with thousands of others, I was thrilled with the publication date of The Queen of Nothing being moved up and was eagerly awaiting the release. November 19th rolled around and the first thing I did when I woke up was download the audio to my phone. I was surprised to see that it was the shortest book of all three, but trusted in Holly Black to deliver. I listened to the book all day while I worked* and found chores to do at home so I could continue listening. Somewhere around 75% I started to realize I wasn’t connecting with this book like I did with TCP and TWK. I trudged on over the next two days but continued to feel like I was missing something – the spark, the fire, the angst of the first two books.

*I’m a data analyst and find it easy to work with numbers while listening to books

After finishing it I felt so disappointed. Not disappointed in a book hangover way because it was over, but just – meh. I felt like I wasted so much of my time and money on a series that maybe I didn’t like as much as I originally thought. Was it that I let the hype get to me and overlooked the actual content of the book?

To determine if this was the case I went back to read the first two again. The Cruel Prince, that I had previously rated as 5/5 stars, was only a 3 for me. The Wicked King, however, was a 4 – I liked the complexity of characters and world building that was lacking in TCP. I found myself just not liking Jude at all, being ambivalent to Cardan, and despising the somewhat toxic relationship between them. Regardless, I was definitely not as fanatical as I was when I first read them.

As I moved onto QoN I was not looking forward to the book at all. I don’t want to post spoilers for QoN, but I can say that many of the issues I had with it were tied to one simple issue: it felt so rushed. I had questions after I was done that I thought should have been answered. I also felt like one character in particular was completely changed with no background redemption story; it felt disjointed and forced. I love a good ‘villain turns a new leaf’ tale, but this just seemed lazy to me. I was happy with the overall outline and main resolution of the book, which is what saved it from being lower than a 3 star rating for me. Outline being the key word mentioned above: it didn’t feel complete. I think Holly Black is a talented writer, which is why I think I was so surprised by how weak QoN was. I know how intense this fan base is so please don’t tear me apart – I’m super sensitive and will probably cry 😅

I’ve mentioned before that over the last two years I have really had a hard time connecting with YA characters, causing me to turn to a lot more romance and fantasy than before. I’m not sure if why my love waned for The Folk of the Air series is a result of this or if the hype overtook me. I have a habit of obsessing over and collecting things to a extreme degree so that probably played a role as well.

Have you found a series that you thought you loved but later lost interest? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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2 thoughts on “Disillusioned: losing the love of a series

  1. (this comment may contain spoilers for those who haven’t read the series!)

    I relate to this post so damn hard, although our thoughts don’t fully match on TCP. I *loved* the first book so damn much – I thought the world was vivid and beautiful, and Jude was an incredible character. I couldn’t for the life of me like Cardan, though, and as much as I appreciate Holly Black as a writer, I think she could have done better with his story-line in particular.

    Either way, The Wicked King was disappointing for me – I reread TCP before it, so I knew I still loved that, but the second book was meh. I felt like the romance people so badly wanted became really significant for the plot, which was weird compared to the first novel. I mean, yes, it was THERE in the first book, but less so. And this was the point where I first thought, “man, these characters are acting out of character”. Jude lowered her guards SO QUICKLY, and then any kindness Cardan showed came out of nowhere (imo.) Also, I agree about the world building not being quite as good as I thought at first, though I came to that conclusion in the second book, which you liked the best, haha. For me, it was all the political talk (and I love political fantasies!) that seemed without a base – it made me think that, yes, the world is pretty, but the political system is not exactly well-written.

    And don’t even get me started on the third book – like you said, it feelt super-rushed, to the point that I wondered: will we get a spin-off series? Perhaps, with Nicasia’s people? At this point I won’t read it, even if we do, though, but still, I’m curious.

    Sorry for the long rant/comment, haha. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels kind of meh about this series. I never really buy hardcovers (I’m for ebooks or paperbacks), but I did buy this damned series in hardcover, and I want to punch myself for that, haha..ha. 😐 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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