Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
No. of pages: Hardcover, 370
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Date Read: December 29, 2018
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
There are many books that I’ve put off reading for one reason or another. This one happened because I just had a crap ton of other things to read. I really wish I could just read books without thinking about it, but that is my mortal flaw. The Wicked King releases this month and since Holly Black will be visiting my local Barnes and Nobles, I felt it was a perfect time to finally pick The Cruel Prince off my shelf where it’s been since May when I bought it and actually read it before I meet her. And dang. Why has nobody made me read it sooner?
The Cruel Prince follows the story of Jude, a human whose mother had been married to a fey knight, faked her death, and hid in the real world. Jude, her twin, and her half-fey-sister are returned to Faerie with their mother ex-husband and murderer. Jude and her sisters are then raised in the world of Faerie. Growing up in Faerie, Jude and her twin feel the need to fit in and adapt as they’re being raised in the Faerie Court due to Madoc, the ex-husband, basically being the right-hand Knight of the Crown. When Jude asks to compete in the Summer Tournament to compete for knighthood, Madoc denies her the chance. After her battle and skirmish with Prince Cardan, Prince Dain sees an opportunity to afford Jude the chance at a place at Court, even if it’s not the position she wanted most. As Jude begins to serve Prince Dain, she begins to unravel many mysteries and questions that she never believed were possible. She learns about plots to overthrow the Crown from transferring to Prince Dain, she learns how Cardan became so cruel, and she learns one of the biggest secrets of all that could threaten the line of the Crown. What follows is action, oaths, and promises that lead to giant twists and turns that will leave you wanting to read the second book right when you finish the first.
Black truly knows how to create a story that will leave you wanting more. The world and characters are truly fleshed out and everything plot-wise is so carefully laid out. The twists and turns in this book are ones that you would never suspect. Some I didn’t even catch the first time and had to read back through. Each part of the court and the people under them are so carefully crafted and explored and explained that it wasn’t hard to catch on at all. It was a great Faerie story and one like I don’t believe I’ve read before.
As I’m thinking back over the book, I loved everything. But, as much as I loved it and wanted more after I read it, I keep thinking back to what I didn’t like. The manipulation and hate/love that happened. Because the Fey can’t lie, they’re clever with their words. Jude, as a human, can lie as much as she wants. My one issue with that it that she uses it for her own gain at times and turns that she had on her side against her which will make things harder for her in the long run. Also, the hate/love thing really gets me. I really dislike when parents tell their little girls that boys pick on them because they like them. NO ONE should ever see being bullied, treated like crap, or abused and equate it with love/like. Cardan treats Jude like absolute dirt and later we find out that he treats her like that because he hates the fact that he likes her. Though it meshes well with the storyline that is eventually seen, no one should ever have to be put in that predicament. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO EQUATE LOVE WITH ABUSE; that’s not love. And I really am not fond of Jude starting to like him back. This really is my only major issue with the book. I still love the book, I just really don’t like that plot point.
I can’t remember if I’ve read another book by Holly Black, but I’m definitely going to be looking at other titles that she’s written. If they’re anything like The Cruel Prince, I know it’ll be a great read. If you’ve liked the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa you’ll really enjoy this one.