- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2366 KB
- Print Length: 385 pages
- Publisher: Hot Key Books (2 January 2018)
- Sold by: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited
- Language: English
- ASIN: B071XQ6H38
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 1,275 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,113 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter mobile phone number.
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) Kindle Edition
Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"Black is a master at world-building, conveying integral details without that information ever seeming tedious or encyclopedic, whether you're well versed in faerie or a newcomer to the genre....the experience of reading a novel like this is something like being surrounded by magic."―The New York Times Book Review
"I require book two immediately. Holly is the Faerie Queen."―Victoria Aveyard, #1 bestselling author of The Red Queen series
* "[S]pellbinding....Breathtaking set pieces, fully developed supporting characters, and a beguiling, tough-as-nails heroine enhance an intricate, intelligent plot that crescendos to a jaw-dropping third-act twist."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Another fantastic, deeply engaging, and all-consuming work from Black that belongs on all YA shelves."―School Library Journal, starred review
* "Jude, who struggles with a world she both loves and hates and would rather be powerful and safe than good, is a compelling narrator. Whatever a reader is looking for--heart-in-throat action, deadly romance, double-crossing, moral complexity--this is one heck of a ride."―Booklist, starred review
"This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life. Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in."―Kirkus Reviews
* "Black, quite rightly, is the acknowledged queen of faerie lit, and her latest shows her to be at the top of her game, unveiling twists and secrets and bringing her characters vividly to life."―VOYA, starred review
"With complicated characters, a suspenseful plot, and a successful return to the Faerie setting of many of her popular books, Black's latest is sure to enchant fans."―The Horn Book
About the Author
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Customers who bought this item also bought
Review this product
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This was such an exciting and engrossing read and I enjoyed myself thoroughly reading every bit of it. While initially we focus on their life at home, lessons, and the battles with Cardan and his crew, once <spoiler>Jude become a spy</spoiler>, things really begin to pick up, and there is literally something happening all the time. There is politics, espionage, conspiracies, betrayal, violence and bloodshed (also the inevitable romance or the beginnings of one), and so many twists and turns that one doesn’t really know what’s coming. There are also plenty of secrets that are revealed as we go along (only one of which I’d guessed), so there’s excitement aplenty. Jude is a character one doesn’t always approve of (mostly one does), but certainly one that keeps the reader interested throughout. She is vulnerable, scared because the Faerie folk can harm, hurt, humble her but that doesn’t make her cow down, instead, she is ever more emboldened to fight back, to show her enemies that she may fall but will never give up. Cardan too, despite his cruelty is an interesting character, who one can see from pretty much the start has more shades to him than what are visible at that point. Madoc too, even if his actions are not all one can approve of, is a person, I still found myself liking more than disliking. Vivi, her older sister, is very likeable, and I also loved little Oak. There are others that are outright cruel like the older Prince Balekin, and some others who one dislikes too (naming all would be spoilers). I also enjoyed reading about court life, the parties, and all the clothes and such. I found this so entertaining that I ordered the next one before I’d even finished. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
1) Impressive writing: In terms of writing, I must say Holly Black really nailed it.
2) Turning point: After the second half, the story picks up the pace and Cardan become the second coolest guy this book has to offer. All the cunning twists and back-stabbing really piqued my interest and turn the whole story around.
1) Weak plot: I'm not the biggest fan of fairy tales, so maybe it's one of the reasons for my disliking this type of setting.
2) Slow pacing of story: I must say the first half was pretty slow paced.
3) Character development could've been better: Apart from Jude and Cardan, I felt other characters are a bit out of the focus. These two totally stole the spotlight.
In a nutshell, I don't totally disliked it, but it proved to be an average read for me. Nonetheless, I will finish the series. For all those who love fairy tale set-up, this will be a memorable series for them. Those who don't, might find this appropriate to their liking.
This book was DEFINITELY something.
It was dark, filled with twists and spectacular writing. It always had that element of intrigue playing a my heels and OH, the world building was BEAUTIFUL.
--I loved all the tiny aspects that made the faerie world different from ours- I loved that there were Wicked fruits and Glamour and Immortality
-- I loved Jude and Vivi and just in general, Jude's strength and anger and her inability to back away from a fight. It certainly made for an entertaining read.
-- I LOVE that there was an actual SCHOOL that was there in Faerie, where Fae lounged around and learned things.
-- I DID NOT LOVE that there was so little actual magic in this book. There was more KISSING in this bok than magic (and there were TWO (okay four) kissing scenes) LIKE HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO ACCEPT A FAERIE BOOK WITH SO LITTLE MAGIC?
-- There was this particular scene - a coronation - that was SO UNDERWHELMING and I didn't know what to do. In a room filled with the most powerful people in all the land, they all just seemed so mortal and useless and WHERE WAS THE MAGIC AND FAE POWER?
At the end of the day, I WILL DEFINITELY be reading The Wicked King and I already miss Jude and Cardan and Oak and the rest of the world. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Is the story different: Yes
Is the main character whiny: Nope, she's headstrong.
The story will engulf you for a few hours, you'll end up binge reading it. You'll want to read the next book immediately. Then you'll proceed to forget book one. It's good but doesn't leave much of an impact.
Book 2: The Wicked King is much more of a step up. So read this to reach that book. It's a different kind of story where every character is an enormous prick (to put it lightly) and you'll end up liking quite a few 😏
Top international reviews
I was therefore pleasantly surprised to discover that this is basically full-blown fantasy, with the focus very much on politics, plotting and life and death scenarios. It's also very strong on showing the emotional conflicts and inner turmoil faced by the characters, particularly the lead, Jude.
Speaking of Jude, I was expecting either a kick-ass fantasy heroine or a softer romantic lead. Again, my assumptions were dashed. She turned out to be a very dark heroine, bordering on antiheroine. She kills, she plots, she does ruthless things. And her backstory and her ongoing fears and ambitions are so well set out that you completely understand the things she does and keep rooting for her.
The supporting characters were also mostly compelling and nuanced. I particularly liked Madoc, Jude's adoptive father, a bloodthirsty fairy general who killed her biological parents but genuinely loves and cares for her. The unusual backstory and set-up really add a lot compared to the standard set up of a human girl either wandering into faerie by mistake or discovering she is half fairy herself. Jude has grown up as an aristocrat of the fairy world, but facing huge prejudice for being biologically human. And her feelings towards her adoptive father and adopted land are wonderfully conflicted.
The world is set out beautifully and strikes a nice balance between solidly well-developed and appropriately dreamlike. I didn't realise until close to the end, when a cameo made it clear, but this is set in the same world as the author's old Tithe novels. I didn't enjoy them as much as this, but I think the existence of all that existing world-building really helped here.
As I've mentioned, romance was much less front and centre than I was expecting, though it bubbles under the surface, There was a side romance that felt rather throw away and did nothing for me. It's quite clear from both the title and the entire set up that Cardan, the titular Cruel Prince, is meant to be the main love interest, though, without getting too spoilery, there's surprisingly little development on that front in this volume. If I had one quibble with the book, it's that I was a little disappointed in Cardan. I was expecting him to be a bit like the Darkling or similar - cruel in a scheming, sinister way, with lots of ambition but also lots of charm. In this instalment at least, he was more like a petty, spoiled school bully, albeit one who happened to be a fairy prince, and wasn't particularly competent. And the way he treated the heroine was unpleasant and not linked to any wider plan.
Overall though, this was a really well-written and well-plotted fantasy with a great heroine and I'm really looking forward to the next instalment.
My first time in Elfhame left a bad impression. I felt so out of step because everyone was gushing about The Cruel Prince and I was on the outside thinking ‘I just don’t get it.’ That’s partly why I do not like reading books mid hype.
A friend talked me into reading The Wicked King, a little longer in the world of Elfhame and I finally felt like I was starting to get it.
With Queen of Nothing on the horizon I decided to participate in a readalong with two people who haven’t yet stepped into the world Holly created.
Despite having read it… Despite knowing every twist and turn… I loved it.
I think people should be warned that this isn’t your typical YA story, you’ll step into Elfhame, you’ll be surrounded by cruel, beautiful, wicked creatures and you’ll probably question your own morals when you fall in love with them. There’s still plenty of characters I hate, don’t get me wrong but there’s a lot I can’t help loving.
It’s full of danger, betrayal, bloodshed, manipulation and cunning. Cunning above all else because the Folk cannot lie so they have to be especially clever with everything they say and do.
During my first read it was hard to grasp that along with the new world setting and everything else but this time I paid attention to every word.
If you’re like me, if you love everything fae and you’re unsure about this, my advice is to read it twice. Give yourself a wee break between reads and see where it takes you the second time around. I’m so glad I gave it another go. I am now really and truly obsessed.
Here’s one of my favourite moments;
“Take care,” he says, and then smiles. “It would be very dull to have to sit here for an entire day just because you went and got yourself killed.”
“My last thoughts would be of your boredom,” I tell him.
Raised as mortals in the world of the faeries is a precarious, often dangerous and always brutal existence. The Cruel Prince follows Jude, now a teenager, as she aims to prove herself as more than just human, as a powerful warrior set to be chosen as a knight in a faerie court. However, Jude's hopes and aims do not go to plan, and soon she finds herself hired as a spy for one of the princes in line for the throne of Elfhame.
This is a novel of political machinations, of lies and brutality, of cruelty and beauty and brilliance.
Someone on GoodReads described it as the literary equivalent of being hit by a truck, and I think that sums it up pretty well.
There is so much to discuss in this novel that it is hard to know where to begin -- Jude's ambition, her sisters' secrets, Madoc's secret allegiances, cruel Cardan, beautiful Locke and the fruit! But I genuinely think it's best if you go into this book knowing as little as I did.
Jude is a brilliant, furious creature -- the product of murder, danger and brutality, strength built upon her fragility and weaknesses as a mere mortal, easily swayed and damaged by the world around her.
I know it is February (though I read this at the start of January) and so this is quite a ridiculous thing to say, but The Cruel Prince is one of my favourite books so far this year. The thing is I think its going to stay as one of my favourite books. I think I've found a new favourite author, and I honestly can't believe I've not read any Holly Black until this. I've already gifted a copy of this to a friend who loves her writing, knowing that they would absolutely need to read this -- and it also meant I have someone to talk to about my emotions.
I'm going to be counting the days until I can get back to Jude and her story; roll on the rest of The Folk of the Air series.
What to read next:
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The Call by Peadar O'Guillin
Der Anfang hat mir auch richtig gut gefallen, er hat mich geradezu angefixt. Die Welt fand ich interessant, man muss nicht lange warten, bis Action aufkommt, supi. Danach allerdings hat sich meine Begeisterung gelegt, wovon ich vieles darauf zurückführe, dass ich altersmäßig (26) langsam aus dem Genre Jugendliteratur wachse.
[Im Folgenden kommen kleine Spoiler]
Das größte Problem hatte ich mit den Charakteren. Jude ist als Hauptfigur gewiss keine Sympathieträgerin. Ich hatte schon in einer anderen Rezension gelesen, dass man mit ihr vielleicht nicht warm werde, und das ist auch wahr. Sie ist eigentlich ziemlich kacke und egoistisch, ohne dabei interessant zu sein. Darüber ist sie ein Übercharakter, der irgendwie alles kann, kämpfen, Intrigen spinnen, stehlen, etc etc. Der Autorin gelingt es in meinen Augen nicht, ihr einen richtigen Charakter zu geben, da ihre Entscheidungen häufig keinen Sinn ergeben und eher zum Weiterführen der Handlung getätigt werden. Dasselbe gilt auch für jeden anderen der vielen blassen Charaktere. Das hat mich richtig aufgeregt. Kaum einer der Personen hat mehr als zwei Charaktereigenschaften: Madoc/Bain/Cardan/jeder Fey ist grausam und hinterhältig, Vivi ist rebellisch, Jude ist nervtötend und undurchsichtig, Taryn ist nur nervig. Die Charaktere sind austauschbar, blass und langweilig. Das macht auch die kurze Liebesgeschichte überaus langweilig, kein Funke springt über, nichts. Irgendwann verfliegt auch die Dramatik, wenn jeder ständig, STÄNDIG, als grausam bezeichnet wird, weil z.B. Madoc kaum grausame Sachen macht und ebenso ständig gesagt wird, dass er Jude und ihre Schwestern liebt, und man das auch ebenso wenig sieht. Der Court of Shadows, dem Jude irgendwann angehört, ist so blass und so ohne Charakter, dass es wehtut. Ich war und bin sehr sehr enttäuscht. Dadurch, dass die Charaktere so blass sind, ist man dann auch mit wenig Sympathie dabei und wenn halt welche von ihnen sterben, dann juckt mich das kaum.
Ohne groß auf den Inhalt einzugehen, hatte ich auch mit der Handlung ein paar Probleme. Das Grundgerüst ist überschaubar, die "Überraschung" beim Ende sehr vorhersehbar. Sehr lange Zeit passiert kaum etwas, es geht nur um das Mobbing und Judes nervtötende Schwester und eine kleine Liebesgeschichte. Viele Dinge ergeben keinen Sinn und sind überdramatisiert dargestellt. Bis zum eigentlichen Finale passiert eigentlich nüscht. Obwohl man weiß, dass irgendeine Falle kommt, wird nichts getan. Das hat mich aufgeregt. Einen roten Faden habe ich auch nicht wirklich entdecken können, mir war sehr lange Zeit nicht klar, in welche Richtung das Buch denn nun eigentlich gehen würde, und auch die Auflösung war dann nicht wirklich überzeugend. Mit der schwachen Handlung kamen dann auch Logikfehler oder einfach Dinge, die nicht so gut passten. Es hat sich mir nicht erschlossen, warum Jude nicht einfach in die menschliche Welt abhaut. Es wird nie richtig erklärt, wie die Welten miteinander verbunden sind, dabei wäre das wirklich interessant gewesen. Die vielen Courts wurden einfach nur hingeklatscht, die Personen blieben vage im Gedächtnis. Die ganze Geschichte mit Taryn war so unnötig und nervtötend, dass ich das Ebook gerne in die Ecke gepfeffert hätte. Und dass man einfach zu verfeindeten Lagern hingeht und sagt: Hey, machste bei unserem Coup mit, und alle es abnicken, macht einfach keinen Sinn. Wie so vieles einfach zu blass.
Mein größtes Problem war, dass viele Dinge so oft erwähnt wurden, dass sie irgendwann ihr Drama verloren. Feys sind grausam - das wird durchgekaut, aber richtige Gefahr kam irgendwie nie so richtig auf, auch, wenn es für Jude mal eng wurde (dafür ist aber auch der Schreibstil mitverantwortlich). Jude hat Angst, ständig, immer, aber ihre Handlungen zeigen das wirklich NIE. Jemand, der Angst hat, handelt eher so wie Taryn. Die Autorin wird nicht müde zu erwähnen, wie viel Angst Jude je hatte und wie sie damit zurechtkommt, aber immer mehr Angst hat - es geht so viel um Angst, dass man bei dem Wort irgendwann nur noch die Augen verdreht.
Der Schreibstil war in Ordnung. Den ganzen Aufwand, den man auf das Beschreiben der Kleider verwendet hat, hätte man besser in gute Charakterbeschreibungen investieren können. Oft kam mir der Stil gelangweilt vor, so als wüsste die Autorin genau, wo sie denn hin will, und schreibt es deswegen so langweilig wie möglich herunter. Ganz oft haben mir Detailbeschreibungen gefehlt, von Reaktionen, Gesichtern, ich hätte gerne mehr richtige Dialoge gehabt, die mehr als nur Drohungen gewesen wären.
Ich komme langsam besser zum Fazit: Der Anfang war gut und die ganze Welt hat mir gut gefallen, da ist definitiv viel Potential drin. Ich hatte öfter das Gefühl, dass mit den ganzen royalen Intrigen auf Game of Thrones angespielt wird, ohne dabei auch nur annähernd das Niveau zu erreichen. Mit besser ausgearbeiteten Charakteren hätte man schon viel erreichen können. Vielleicht ist für die Zielgruppe 16+ ansprechend, mich hat es nicht überzeugt, und ich werde auch die Fortsetzung nicht kaufen.
In a bizarre (for me) twist, this was getting 3.5-4 *s right up until the second to last chapter. I love Holly Black but for much of this book, it felt like a stripped back and over simplified version of one of her other fey stories. It certainly didn’t seem to compare to Valiant for example. And then it sort of worked on me when I wasn’t reading it, meaning I had to get back to it asap and see how it progressed. That takes real skill.
As does the pitch perfect rendition of someone who is suffering from acute and constant bullying. If you then consider how powerless a human is up against faeries, who are stronger, more resilient, long lived, faster and also have magic. The mere fact of being able to glamour a human, effectively mind-jacking them and making them do whatever they want is terrifying. (Seriously what if your childhood bullies had been able to do that?!)
I didn’t really like Jude for most of the book. I could see why she was the way she was – a lot of it was the oppressed turning vicious. Which is a common occurrence with bullying/ oppression of any kind. When your internal measure of value is so skewed, then you often equate strength with power and power itself becomes a goal. Having said that, I found her extremely irritating at times not least because I have this unrealistic expectation that people should be superior to their circumstances. I also got really annoyed with the whole Locke thing. The only person who was stupider about that was Taryn. But I digress.
Black writes excellent characters. All are flawed and compelling and have moments of greatness. I loved Madoc and I really liked Cardan by the end, showing the author as the master of manipulated reader sympathies that she truly is. I love the direction this series is going in and genuinely cannot wait for the next book. Maybe the 5* didn’t come until the denouement but that just goes to show how well Holly Black pulls all the disparate threads together at the end. As good as the original Tithe trilogy (and for nerd points it was so good to see Roiben and Kaye again.) Highly recommend.
Luckily it was an easy read and I did come to enjoy the story more in the last few 100 pages but I came away feeling that Holly Black is simply not for me anymore and if I want a dose of faeries I should just reread her first trilogy.
For full disclosure, I'm 46 years old - so not the typical target audience for young adult fiction. Except good writing and a good story is good no matter what - it transcends age barriers. After all, some of my favourite books are still those childhood classics.
If you're someone who likes a one and done book (or even a trilogy where the first book provides adequate closure), then this isn't going to be a novel for you - as nothing is resolved by the end of this novel. It really does leave you wanting more. And, sadly, I was reading it under the false impression that book two, The Wicked King, which appears on Amazon was already published. At the time of writing this, it's not - and I don't believe it will be out until January 2019, with the final instalment being published in 2020. So there's a wait. Had I known that, I might not have started, because I'm left pining for the world Holly Black has created.
In a nutshell, the book is about our heroine and main protagonist, Jude, who (along with her twin sister Taryn and half sister, Vivi (who also happens to be half human, half faerie)) is taken into the world of faerie at seven years old. Fast forward 10 years, and Jude is struggling to find her place in a world that's not quite home, with a faerie step-father Madoc who is both warrior and protector. The only way for Jude and her twin, Taryn, to become fully immersed and accepted into the fey world, is to either marry into the gentry or become a knight (which Jude desperately wants - unlike her sister who is happy to assimilate through marriage). The counterpoint between the twins is interesting - and Jude's definitely the more interesting character but, hey, it's her story. Madoc is also a very thoughtfully crafted character - as a reader I felt both wary of him (on Jude's behalf) and also fond of him. He's by no means a straightforward character. In fact, the motives of all the characters, human and faerie, are complex and interesting. There are intrigues, jealousies, secrets and lots more. Which all make for a page-turning read.
And then there's Locke - a potential love interest for Jude. Interesting enough if it weren't for Prince Cardan - cruel yet beautiful, his contempt for Jude, and his bullying, is handled so cleverly by Holly Black that you just know there's something else behind it. It's that frisson of love/hate, which is expanded upon a little during this book, which adds another interesting and intriguing layer. In many ways, Jude and Cardan are made for each other - or, put it this way, they would be if Jude is able to tame Cardan's more excessive side.
I don't want to say too much about the plot - but there's mystery, spying, intrigue and lots more. It's quite a dark book - and the bullying elements might upset some readers; although Jude's determination to never let anyone crush her is admirable. The novel itself also begins with violence (the murder of Jude, Taryn and Vivi's parents). But I think its the darkness in this novel, combined with the more magical elements, which make it so compelling. This is fairyland for grownups, where every character has their flaws (some more than others).
There aren't many books that I'm upset to finish. But this was one of them - and I absolutely can't wait until January 2019 to enter this amazing, magical world again.
The Cruel Prince is one of those stories that starts out a little on the slow side but it gradually sucks you into the world that Holly Black has created and before you know it you've reached the end and find yourself desperate for the next instalment. I've not read this author's previous fae series but I'm definitely going to change that because she sure knows how to write the deliciously dark and devious fae that wouldn't make it into a Disney movie. These are Grimm's fae, ones who love to play games with humans and think nothing of hurting others purely for their own enjoyment.
Jude herself isn't always the easiest character to like, she is so totally set on her revenge that she can be quite cruel in her own right and she revels in proving that she can be just as bad as any of the fae. I found it pretty easy to see where she was coming from though, she didn't choose to be taken to faerie as a child and she's been surrounded by this amazing world and these supremely powerful beings for her entire life but she always has to look on as an outsider, she's never been accepted as part of things and it's made her jealous and more than a little bitter to be treated so cruelly. Even when I didn't like her actions I couldn't hate her character and I routed for her far more than anyone else we met.
I was a little disappointed that the bond between the twin sisters wasn't stronger but Taryn reacts to things in a totally different way to Jude. Rather than fight to prove her own power Taryn just wants to find someone else who can offer her protection and she just desperately tried to fit in. I actually found her pretty weak and I was really angry about the way she treated Jude most of the time. Their older sister Vivi was the voice of reason in the family, she's half-fae and fully accepted as her father's heir so she has a lot less to deal with than the twins but she wants as little to do with faerie as possible.
There is a lot going on in this story, I had actually guessed a couple of the biggest twists well before they were officially revealed but that didn't stop my enjoyment and the ending left me fully primed for the sequel. This was a brilliant start to the new series and I'm definitely planning on checking out Holly Black's other fae stories while I wait for the next book in the series.
Holly Black does a beautiful job of introducing a very dreary world and characters that have so many different aspects to them. Jude, our heroine is on a constant journey to gain more control of her life, and while she's incredibly brave she also has many flaws. I love it when writers aren't afraid to show us broken heroes.
Also, the plot twists on this book just kept coming and coming, and I loved every bit of it. Overall it was such a smart plot, and I cannot wait what the rest of the series will bring to the table.
For a long time I told myself Holly Black and I were never going to see eye to eye. She’s always seemed like a lovely person, but I really didn’t like The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and I couldn’t get into her short story in My True Love Gave to Me either. I initially had no interest in checking The Cruel Prince out but I kept seeing so many rave reviews that I figured I’d give Black and I one more chance, and I’m so glad I did!
While I never used to be all that interested in Faerie books, they’re certainly something I’m more interested in now and I think a lot of that is because more authors are writing these creatures as they are in our original folk stories, rather than sexy, Twilight versions of them. The realm of Faerie that Black has created, with its politics, various creatures and warring factions, is so well realised and well written and felt a little like what I imagine licking a poisonous mushroom feels like. There’s something Wonderland-y about Black’s Faerie, where the world is seductive and sinister in equal measure.
In this world we have our heroine, Jude Duarte, a mortal girl raised by Madoc, the immortal man who murdered her parents in front of her. Jude’s mother was once in a relationship with Madoc and bore him a daughter, Vivienne, only to fake their deaths and escape to the human world. After settling down with Jude’s father and having Jude and her twin sister, Taryn, Madoc eventually tracked the family down and killed both parents before he took all three of the girls back to Faerie.
It’s a messed up family that’s brimming with secrets, and yet it’s also a very compelling, believable family. We know Jude should hate Madoc, and she does, and yet she also loves him because he’s been her father for the past ten years, and has treated her and Taryn with as much affection as he’s treated Vivienne. Madoc isn’t human, so he can’t be judged by human standards, and that makes for such an interesting relationship when it’s clear that he’s particularly fond of Jude, too.
Sadly, being the daughters of a powerful general in all but blood doesn’t make life in Faerie any easier for Jude and Taryn. They’re far more susceptible to spells and curses, and they constantly find themselves the target of bullying from Prince Cardan and his cronies.
What I ended up really loving about this book is that it has YA fantasy tropes galore, and yet they’re done so well here that I didn’t mind. Cardan is dark and brooding with a tragic secret that makes his treatment of other people strangely understandable and usually I can’t stand characters like that, but Black makes him believable. Like Madoc, Cardan isn’t human and faeries are traditionally cruel, so while he is a vicious, spiteful little bastard, by the end of the novel he’s also annoyingly likeable.
Jude was my favourite character by far, however. The great thing about her relationship with Cardan is how similar they are and how much Black plays on that. Jude isn’t a particularly nice person, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a likeable or understandable person. Given the turns her life has taken, the kind of person she is makes perfect sense; she’s been thrust into a world of cruelty, and the only way she can survive it is to be cruel, to fight twice as hard to constantly be one step ahead of everyone else in this land of bloodshed and court intrigue.
Jude is such a juicy, can’t-look-away kind of heroine because she has no easy choices, even when she has opportunities to go to the human world and stay there. How could she possibly fit back into the life she might have had when she’s been raised amidst myths and monsters? She’s never going to be completely part of Faerie, but she’s too much Faerie to be completely human now, too.
This book has spies, betrayal and murder galore, and I had so much fun reading it and immersing myself in the world Black has created. Bring on The Wicked King!
“I am going to keep on defying you. I am going to shame you with my defiance. You remind me that I am a mere mortal and you are a prince of Faerie. Well, let me remind you that means you have much to lose and I have nothing. You may win in the end, you may ensorcell me and hurt me and humiliate me, but I will make sure you lose everything I can take from you on the way down. I promise you this” – I throw his own words back at him – this is the least of what I can do.”
The Cruel Prince is the first book in a new series by Holly Black. It follows the story of twins Jude and Taryn and their older sister Vivienne, who are forced to live in Faerieland after their parents are murdered by a faerie.
Jude was my favourite character in this novel. She is fierce and learns to fight better than many of the fae, despite being human herself. She is brave and cunning, and one day decides she has had enough of being looked down upon by the faeries, and starts to take her future into her own hands. I admired how she refused to go along with the status quo, and took advantage of others underestimating her.
I thought Black’s world building was great. The world unfolds gradually as the novel continues, we learn of the politics of the court, and how this will influence who will be the new king. I also liked how Black decided to portray the fae. She describes them as deceptive creatures, and although they are unable to lie, they must not be trusted. Faerieland is a place of wonder and beauty, but as the author herself describes, “Faerie might be beautiful, but its beauty is like a golden stag’s carcass, crawling with maggots beneath his hide, ready to burst.”
This novel gets a 5 out of 5 from me, and I recommend it to anyone who loves Sarah J Maas’s books!
The main character is Jude. Jude and her twin sister Taryn are human but their older sister (Vivi) is not. We learn that the girls mother fled a faerie world when she was pregnant with Vivi and escaped to the human world when she then gave birth to the half-fairy Vivi, married and soon had human children Jude & Taryn.
The book opens with a grizzly scene; Madoc (Jude’s mother's ex husband) belongs to the fae and according to their wild ways, he was honour-bound to murder their mother for abandoning his family and stealing away Vivi and we see the murder through the eyes of the 3 children. Madoc then, operating on the same sense of honour, takes in the now-orphaned children to be raised as his own in the fae world.
Years pass and Jude is raised in the land of the fae and we soon see that the Cruel Prince follows Jude, now a teenager, as she aims to prove herself as more than just human, as a powerful warrior set to be chosen as a knight in a faerie court. However, Jude's hopes and aims do not go to plan and soon she finds herself hired as a spy for one of the princes in line for the throne of Elfhame.
I agree with others that have said that the writing in the book is a bit stilted and doesn’t always flow smooth but I thought that the characters and storyline were great. This is a novel of political machinations, of lies and brutality, of cruelty and beauty and brilliance.
With Jude, I was expecting a kick-ass fantasy heroine or a softer romantic lead but this was not the case. Jude is actually a very dark heroine, bordering on antiheroine. She kills, she plots she does ruthless things and her backstory and her ongoing fears and ambitions are so well set out that you completely understand the things she does and keep rooting for her. She doesn’t pretend to be strong, she knows she isn’t. Still, she tries to be and tries harder than anyone else, because she knows her species is at a disadvantage.
As with usual teenage stories, we see power and sex being played out. The difference in the dynamic here is that some are faeries and some are human. Another difference is that the faeries are in full control because the story is set in their territory. This isn’t about faeries invading the human world; it’s about a human girl doing everything she can to gain strength against the creatures who have kept her from having a normal, human childhood.
Some elements of the story were a bit predictable and slow but overall, the pace was good with a few twists thrown in. I will read the second instalment for sure and will search out some other Holly Black books.
The writing style is gorgeous, it flows perfectly from one situation to another, and is relaxing and easy to read, for the most part. Where the tension rises, the writing style makes the scene engaging and exciting, without being overly descriptive. This is an author who has a talent for painting a wondrous picture that you almost feel you can step into, without needing 500 paints to do so.
Descriptions flow together and give just the right amount of information to make you feel like you can reach into the nook and touch the world she has described, and leave you wondering whether or not you really have been there. I fond myself tempted to start the book again, because it was just that wonderful to sink into.
That being said. The plot for this is incredibly well thought out and perfectly assembled. If you expect this book to go in a particular direction, it will go elsewhere. So many times throughout this story, I have felt like I know what is going to happen, and then i am shown with shocking clarity just how wrong I was, as the situation flips entirely.
The characters are detestable, lovable, relatable and pitiable by turns. Ironically, the Author has made the variety if Faerie in this world wonderfully Human. They each have their reasons for the way they act, and I adored the fact that the Fairies have very logical responses, in most cases their reactions being easily plausible, in others they are plausible when given the explanations of Faerie extremes of emotion and flightiness, but that will be more easily understandable to those whom have read the story.
When I started the book, I must admit to having been very wary. I had heard many people tell me that its a love it or hate it book, and my experience with such previously had not been positive. And yet, I had read ACOTAR many times, and people kept recommending this as something I might also enjoy.
I have to agree with those who recommended it on this basis. In a similar style, Holly Black manages to have a engaging style that’s easy to read, a fun storyline full of twists and turns, and characters we love to hate. I absolutely loved every page, and with her own unique flare for creating a shocking and beautiful world at the same time, I have very high expectations for book 2.
If you enjoy stories that will keep you hooked, keep you guessing and keep you intrigued from the first page, then read this.