Series: The Folk of the Air #1
on January 2, 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.
To state I was excited to read ‘The Cruel Prince’ by Holly Black would be a gross understatement to say the least. I had previously read ‘The Darkest Part of the Forest’ and had completely and utterly fallen in love with the world and its characters. ‘The Cruel Prince’ is set in the same world. I did a happy dance round my living room when I found out (it wasn’t pretty as I have all the grace of a wildebeest on crack – Tuesday’s child my arse!)
I really wanted to rush out and get this book right away on release date, but I had a sneaking suspicion that it was going to be the book selected for January’s Fairyloot box (I always trust my hunches because nine times out of ten they are right). It was difficult waiting that extra couple of weeks but it paid off because I ended up with a gorgeous hardback edition with a signed book-plate!
Anyway, enough procrastinating from me – back to the book!
the cruel prince: a bit of background
‘The Cruel Prince’ is a tale about a family of sisters whose parents are killed by the Faerie Lord Madoc (this isn’t a spoiler as it happens right in the first chapter of the book). Madoc brings the three girls back to the Faerie lands (as the eldest Vivienne is his natural daughter and heir). Jude and her twin sister Taryn are fully human – and therefore outcasts in faerie society.
Vivi wants nothing more than to return to the human realm. Taryn thinks her best way to fit in is by marrying into faerie society. However, Jude wants to be accepted on her own terms. She is sick of being looked down upon and being frightened; she is determined to best her faerie peers in the art of fighting. If it shows up the obnoxious and cruel Prince Cardan, so much the better.
Jude is in a difficult quandary; she both loves and hates Madoc who has raised her and Taryn as if they too were his daughters. She wants to win his approval. Unfortunately for her she has also come to the attention of Prince Cardan who mercilessly bullies and torments anyone he sees fit to, along with his group of friends which includes the enigmatic Locke who seems to have his own interest in Jude.
Jude fails to get Madoc’s attention but she does come to the notice of Prince Dain, Cardan’s elder brother, who recruits her as his personal spy. Jude is playing a dangerous game, one that is going to have deadly consequences…
the cruel prince: review
This book. This book is… honestly I’m flailing here trying to come up with an appropriate adjective. ‘The Cruel Prince’ is everything. It is dark and twisted and just downright brilliant. It has taken me so long to review ‘The Cruel Prince’ because I was struggling to convey just how much I loved it. This gripped me from the very start and I read it in one sitting. I just could not bear to put it down.
It has been a really long time (and I mean a REALLY long time) since a book has moved me quite so much. I have not been so excited about a young adult series in ages. It is so compelling and darkly beautiful. ‘The Cruel Prince’ is everything that I love. The High Court of Faerie is a dangerous place, full of deceit and abject cruelty.
The characters are beyond flawed yet all the more relatable because of it. There are few truly likable characters (Vivi comes the closest, I think) but I loved them all so very much. Jude. My badass and brilliantly stabby baby. The Faerie Court has twisted her and made her dangerous and I adore it. Jude is a character that I completely and utterly love beyond measure. I found myself pulled into her narrative straight away.
Prince Cardan… boy is beyond twisted and someone who I would normally have nothing but disdain for. He is cruel, nasty, an outright bully and yet… he is so much more than that. At first I really hated him but as you found out more about him my opinion started to veer dramatically in the other direction. I ended up loving him nearly as much as Jude.
one of my favourite Cardan quotes:
I pretty much love all of the characters in this, even the downright terrible ones. Except for Locke – he can just exit stage right. Taryn is also a bit of a damp squib but I’m withholding judgement for now. We’ll just have to see how she develops in later books. Vivi was instantly a favourite – I’m hoping she will play a bigger part in subsequent books.
I love character-driven novels. This book certainly delivers on that front but the plot is equally exciting and innovative. I am on tenterhooks just thinking about how this story is going to develop. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book! I’m not sure how I am going to hold on until January *sobs* it is going to be a long, cruel wait.
to sum up: the cruel prince
I am beyond excited to see how the story develops and I cannot wait to see more of Jude, Cardan and all the other characters that have become quite dear to me in spite of their terribleness! I have not been so excited about a series in a long time. This series has so much potential and I cannot wait to get back into this world in the next entry ‘The Wicked King’. Holly Black has outdone herself with this book and I am now going back through all of her back-catalogue and cursing myself for not having read them sooner!