Welcome back to another episode of Alexandra’s Bookish Bucket lists, a monthly series where I rave about all the things I want to do in my favorite fictional worlds. In this episode, we’re mounting ragwort steeds and leaving the mortal world behind as we enter the world of Faerie or, the Shifting Isles of Elfhame.
This post is officially dedicated to my good friend Carly from Reading is My Kind of Thing. Thank you so much for your support of this blog series and for requesting a Folk of the Air edition! I hope it meets your expectations and plunges you back into Holly’s whimsical fantasy world. 💙
For the basis of this post, I’ve centered my bucket list around The Cruel Prince, the first installment of the series. As always, you don’t need to worry about spoilers – this series focuses more on the world building and lore.
Okay, I probably don’t need to introduce this one but let’s keep with tradition and set the scene a little, shall we?
The Folk of the Air is an urban fantasy series written by Holly Black, the reigning queen of fairies, author of the acclaimed Spiderwick Chronicles. The series centers around three sisters who, after their parents are brutally murdered, are whisked away to live in Faerie. Being a human in Faerie is tough – the girls must learn to adapt to this cruel and brooding new world of politics and intrigue. At court, unsuspecting humans are forced into dangerous bargains and alliances shift on a whim.
Basically, this is not your grandmother’s fairy story…
Anyway, now that we’ve settle the obligatory introduction, let’s get into my bucket list:
Dance till dawn at the Palace of Elfhame
Tatterfell once said it was an honor to dance with the High King’s Court under the hill – and she’s not wrong. In a cavernous hall, between the roots and earth, the Folk gather to revel in the pageantry of the palace. It’s the perfect opportunity for romantic trysts, dark deeds and Court politics. And while the Folk dine on faerie fruit and wine, thieves and assassins lurk in the shadows. It’s a lush, dangerous world where bargains are struck and mortals dance themselves to death. That being said, I would still love to dress in billowing gossamer and dance till dawn in the arms of a faerie prince.
Attend one of Noggle’s astrology lessons
In Elfhame, lessons are conducted on the grounds of the palace, underneath the late-afternoon sun. Lecturers come from all over the kingdom to demonstrate the medical and magical properties of herbs, teach the languages of Faerie and map the constellations of the night sky. Students are also instructed in music and weaponry. Doesn’t the thought of studying, sprawled in the grass while sipping nettle tea sound relaxing? Considering how much I love astrology, I’d love to sit in on one of Noggle’s celestial lectures and study meteor showers by starlight.
Explore the Milkwood at twilight
The Milkwood is a sprawling forest of pine and elm that lies on edge of Insmire, the Isle of Might. The wood practically teems with the Folk – mermaids sun themselves by craggy caves, wood sprites dart between the rosebushes and nixies lurk beneath the river. I mean, doesn’t it all sound so whimsical? Moss covered groves, the scent of pine needles, patches of wildflowers and birdsong on the wind – I could wander all day. And wouldn’t it be so romantic to pack a picnic dinner and dine along the riverbank, watching the fireflies dance in the twilight?
Attend the Summer Tournament at Insweal
The Summer Tournament is held annually on Insweal, the Isle of Woe. It’s the chance for the Folk to prove themselves in combat before the High King and vie for knighthood. During the Tournament there’s a mock war as contestants display their skills in archery, swordsmanship and cunning. There’s plenty of theatrics with bardic performances and music. I’d be more inclined to cheer from the stands – waving banners and throwing wildflowers for the victors. I also wouldn’t say no to some spiced wine or fruit skewers.
Hit the mall with Taryn, Jude and Vivi
When the court politics of Faerie become too much, the Duarte sisters dress in modern clothing, pick stalks of ragwort and escape across the sea to the mortal world. There they lose themselves in the girls they might have been – if they were raised human. Call me basic but I would love to hit the mall with Taryn, Jude and Vivi. We’d drink mango smoothies and sip blended coffee in the food court before wandering the isles of JCPenney or Target.
What would you love to do in the Folk of the Air universe? Let’s chat in the comments below! Do you have a favorite series you’d like to see featured next?