Title: The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Date: 2nd January 2018
Publisher: Hot Key Books
It has been a very long time since I read a book about the Faerie world, since Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, and I am so glad that Holly Black brought my love for the folklore back to life. The Cruel Prince was incredible, dark, dangerous and I was hooked from the beginning. Black captured the world of the faeries perfectly with vivid descriptions that brought the story to life. The Cruel Prince had everything I love about this genre and I need the next book so badly.
Jude and her twin sister Taryn were seven years old when their parents were murdered and they were taken away to the High Court of Faerie to live with their half sister and her father, the Faerie General, Madoc. Since then Jude has wanted to belong to the world, to be accepted, but that isn’t what the faeries are known for. Faeries greatly despise human, some more than others such as Prince Cardan, a cruel and vindictive Faerie who has it out for Jude. She wants to prove that she has what it takes to earn her place at the Court, but it could cost her.
Instantly I was drawn into the world that Holly Clack created, intrigued by the politics, the darkness and the beauty of it all, something she captured perfectly. There are so many small details woven into this book that makes it feel so real. I kept wanting to turn the pages, eager to find out more and that feeling only intensified once I hit the half way point. You have absolutely no idea what will happen to the characters, what their intentions are and the twists were fantastic. It had me gasping out loud in shock, laughing at some of the lines the characters said and wishing that it would never end.
All of the characters toy with your emotions, one minute you like them and the next you wish nothing but pain on them (which was the case for a few). I wasn’t sure what to expect from Jude, but she was a wonderful protagonist who was strong and driven, even in the face of danger. Even when she was afraid of the faeries, she never let it show which proves just how fierce she is. I loved reading the scenes with her sister and those who she considered family, even if they weren’t by blood. There were some very interesting dynamics that changed drastically towards the end of the book and I can’t wait to see what will happen to them all.
Prince Cardan, well…he was just awful and I wanted to hate him, I really did. However, I began to understand him and why he is the way he is. I wanted to root for him. The funny thing is that I was so sure the title would refer to him, when in actual fact, it referred to many of the Princes. All of the other faeries in this book were just as vindictive and cruel, sometimes in ways that were subtle so you didn’t notice it until later.
This isn’t a romantic book by any means, even though there are hints of it, and I liked that about it because let’s face it, the faeries can’t really love the way humans do. The political turmoil that ensued throughout the book, the violence and magical elements kept my attention and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it all. I still can’t get over the ending and how incredibly shocking it was. You have no idea what will happen and I love that fact.
Overall, The Cruel Prince was a great read that drew me in and didn’t let go. I would definitely say that the second half of this book is better than the first, with a lot of action that makes for great reading. While I don’t think this is a five star read for me, I am going to give it 4.5 stars so that’s close enough. Now for the long wait before book two comes along.