The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Publication: January 2, 2018 by Little, Brown Books
Find it on Goodreads: The Cruel Prince
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.
This is sort of a spoiler-free review. It definitely foreshadows about events, but doesn’t explicitly state what happens. Take that as you will.
I’ve seen plenty of reviews with both positive and negative comments about this book. I’m here to say I loved it and finished in under 24 hours. I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads. Anything involving faeries, I AM HERE FOR IT. I don’t know if this love for whimsy and fae is a thing because I’ve loved them since I was a little girl or if it’s just that good. We may never know. But what I do know is, Holly Black can take all my money. I didn’t know she was one of the authors for the Spiderwick Chronicles. I liked the movie as a kid, but never read the books.
Back to the review…
This is another one of those books that is not heavily focused on romance. Politics in the Court and power-struggles are at the center of this story. It was plot-driven which kept the story moving at a fast pace. The fast plot combined with my over-eagerness to get into this faerie world meant I was able to complete it so quickly.
I read reviews saying that the characters in this story were despicable and did unforgivable things. All I have to say about that is DUH. That is what makes it a good book. Of course there will be murder, betrayal, bullying, lying, and cheating in a book with faeries. The fae are sneaky bastards and I love them. Yes, I know these actions are inexcusable, but IT’S A FICTIONAL BOOK.
Jude is one of my favorite female characters ever. She is cunning, calculating, and ambitious—I’m pretty sure she is a Slytherin like me. Her hunger for power is inspiring. She is a strong, independent woman who does not need Madoc’s approval. Too many female protagonists in YA are strictly “good”. I like seeing a character go to the darker side for a bit. It makes them realistic. No one in life is perfect or on one side of the scale. Life is a grayscale, and I live by that fact.
Cardan makes me want to slap and hug him at the same time. I am still not over this trope. He irritates me so much because he is such a coward, but at least he knows it. I mean he is always drunk. Obviously, he’s drowning his sorrows for a reason. He does end up having some redeeming qualities.
Jude’s twin Taryn is not my favorite. Something about her had been off from the beginning, and I couldn’t put my finger on what it was…until the end. I had a feeling I knew what would happen and I was right. I knew the outcome, but it didn’t stop me from jumping off the couch and yelling a bunch of different expletives. The people in this book are shady.
Finally, Vivi is my favorite character attitude-wise. She is the wiser older sister, filled with advice. She’s not perfect though because her attitude and pettiness is a big part of who she is. I love petty characters. It’s fun to read about a character who doesn’t give a shit.
As a person who loves fae stories, especially the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, this was a great book.
I can’t say it enough.
The world didn’t feel as dark as I expected. It felt like spring, and I loved it. I highly recommend this book if you like a little bloodshed and betrayal to brighten up your day.
I’m currently in the middle of The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air), and the review will be up soon.