Black spotlights a familiar character in this fascinating surprise addition. We've got first details, including the gorgeous cover

By David Canfield
May 18, 2020 at 02:00 PM EDT
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Sharona Jacobs

Holly Black is returning with a breath of fresh Air.

The best-selling author may have wrapped up her blockbuster Folk of the Air trilogy last year in shocking (and satisfying) fashion, but that doesn't mean she's leaving the world behind. EW can exclusively announce that later this year, Black will publish an original illustrated addition to the series, featuring artwork by World Fantasy award winner Rovina Cai and marking a most anticipated return to the world of Elfhame.

Titled How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories, the new book pivots in focus to center on Elfhame's enigmatic high king, Cardan. But it's no straightforward origin story. Here's what we know will be covered: details of life before The Cruel Prince, the first book in the series; an adventure beyond The Queen of Nothing; and familiar moments from The Folk of the Air trilogy. Everything is told wholly from Cardan's perspective, with each chapter paired with full-color art.

"I planned a novella to go with the Folk of the Air series centered on Cardan, but I realized I couldn’t do justice to his story until the trilogy was over," Black tells EW. "I am thrilled to finally get to tell you a bit more about the sullen, annoying, and enigmatic High King of Elfhame and I am especially excited to be partnering with Rovina Cai, whose artwork is witty and atmospheric and absolutely perfect to go with this tale."

Black, a no. 1 New York Times best-selling author, has now published over 30 fantasy titles. The Folk of the Air trilogy ranked among her most successful series to date, concluding at the end of 2019 with The Queen of Nothing.

She teams with the Australia-based Cai, a star in her own right. Her work has served as book covers, posters, and interior art across novels and picture books, and she recently won the World Fantasy Award for best artist. "I’m delighted to be illustrating Holly’s wonderful story," she says. "It is both an honor and a little intimidating to bring these much-loved characters to life. The world of Elfhame is so richly imagined and filled with dark and beautiful things to draw, it is an illustrator’s dream!"

Below, you can see her cover, exclusive to EW, as well as the cover for the special Barnes & Noble edition. How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories publishes Nov. 24, and is available for pre-order.

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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