Holly Black is one of the most versatile authors writing today. With more than thirty books to her name and more in the pipeline, it’s no exaggeration to say that Holly Black has something for everyone. But with so many books to choose from, sometimes it’s hard to decide where to start.
No worries though, if you’re looking to start reading Holly Black but aren’t sure where to start this post has you covered.
If You Want to Read a Standalone Novel:
- The Coldest Girl in Cold Town (2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults): When Tana wakes up after a Sundown Party it takes her a few moments to realize she survived a massacre and might have been bitten by a vampire. With time running out and no good choices, Tana will have to embrace the monsters in Coldtown if she wants to avoid becoming one.
- The Darkest Part of the Forest (2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults): Hazel used to think she could become a knight who rode alongside the fairies and hunted the monsters that lurked in Fairfold woods. That is until the coffin in the woods is broken and the horned prince, who has been there for as long as anyone can remember, disappears.
- See Below For: Doll Bones and Flight of Angels
If You Want to Start a Series:
- Tithe (2003 Best Books for Young Adults, 2005 Popular Paperbacks): Kaye travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an unexpected attack pushes Kate to return to her childhood home where she becomes a pawn in a bloody power struggle between rival faerie kingdoms. This book is the first in Black’s Modern Faerie Tales series which continues with: Valiant (2006 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, 2005 Best Books for Young Adults 2008 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults) and Ironside
- White Cat (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2011 Amazing Audiobooks): In a world where curse magic is real, a bare hand is more dangerous than any weapon. This book starts Black’s Curse Workers trilogy which continues with: Red Glove and Black Heart.
- See Below For: The Good Neighbors, The Iron Trial and The Spiderwick Chronicles
If You Want to Read Some Short Stories:
- Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales (edited by Kelly Link): This collection of stories imagines worlds where humans and monsters coexist (with varying levels of success). Black’s story for the collection is titled “Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (The Successful Kind).”
- My True Love Gave to Me (edited by Stephanie Perkins): Black reimagines the mythology surrounding the Krampus in her addition to this holiday-themed anthology called “Krampuslauf.”
- The Poison Eaters and Other Stories: Black returns to the world of Tithe and explores other areas of speculative fiction in this book of short stories which includes some original pieces while also republishing stories previously seen in other anthologies.
- See Below For: Geektastic, Welcome to Bordertown, and Zombies vs. Unicorns
If You Want to Read Something Holly Black Edited:
- Geektastic (co-edited with Cecil Castellucci): This collection celebrates the inner-geek in all of us and began with the short story co-written by the editors called “Once You’re a Jedi, You’re a Jedi All the Way” which imagines what might happen if a Jedi woke up with a Klingon in their bed.
- Welcome to Bordertown (co-edited with Ellen Kushner): This series launched the modern urban fantasy genre with stories exploring a city where humans and magical creatures meet and interact. Black co-edited this fifth book in the series, and co-wrote a story called “The Rowan Gentleman” with Cassandra Clare.
- Zombies vs Unicorns (co-edited with Justine Larbalestier): Forget about pirates and ninjas. Vampires and Werewolves is so 2008. There is something far more important to debate: zombies versus unicorns. Larbalestier comes to this anthology representing Team Zombie while Black heads up (the winning) Team Unicorn.
If You Want a Comic or Graphic Novel:
- A Flight of Angels (co-written with Louise Hawes, Alisa Kwitney, Todd Mitchell, Bill Willingham; illustrated by Rebecca Guay): The graphic novel brings together several fantasy authors in a story exploring the varied interpretations of angels in world mythology.
- The Good Neighbors (illustrated by Ten Naifeh): This three-book graphic novel series (Kin (2009 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, 2009 Great Graphic Novels), Kith, Kind) follows Rue Silver as she tries to make sense of her faerie heritage and rescue her mother from the faerie realm.
- Lucifer (illustrated by Lee Garbett): Black turns her hand to the character first seen in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman before starring in his own series. This reboot begins when Lucifer grudgingly teams up with his brother Gabriel to solve their Father’s murder.
If You Want Something Middle Grade:
- Doll Bones (illustrated by Eliza Wheeler): Lifelong friends Zach, Alice, and Poppy will have to work together to bury a china doll made from a dead girls ashes if they want to avoid being cursed forever.
- The Iron Trial (with Cassandra Clare): Callum has spent most of his life trying to fail the trials and avoid admission into the magical Magisterium. Except his efforts to do his worst fail . . . This series continues with The Copper Gauntlet, The Bronze Key, The Golden Boy, and The Enemy of Death.
- The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi): When siblings Mallory, Jared, and Simon move into their Aunt Lucinda’s old house, the children quickly realize something strange is afoot. When Jared discovers an old copy of Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You he discovers that fairies and all manner of other magical beasts are lurking near the house. And they all seem to want the Field Guide. This series continues with The Seeing Stone, Lucinda’s Secret, The Ironwood Tree, and The Wrath of Mulgarath before moving into a spinoff series which begins with Goblins Attack.
There you have it. With so many books to choose from, there’s a Holly Black book for everyone. Where will you start? Which ones have you read already?
–Emma Carbone, currently reading The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater