All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

on January 18, 2018

The Cruel Prince (The Folk Of The Air #1)
Holly Black
Hot Key Books
2018, 370p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

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 years old 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.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war 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.

I’m dead after this book.

The hype was real. It was everywhere in the last couple of weeks, it was on everyone’s most anticipated 2018 release list, including mine. It took me three bookshops and a couple of days after the first reviews started appearing but I finally found a copy. And ended up reading it almost right away. I wanted to see if it would live up to the hype that had surrounded it.

And for me, the answer is yes, but not from the very beginning. It’s a slow build up as we are introduced to Jude and her two sisters and their odd, adoptive family. Jude and her twin are human but their older sister is half Fae. Their mother fled the land of Faerie whilst still pregnant and it takes years for her spurned lover to track them down. Jude watches helplessly as her father and mother are murdered in front of her but then her older sister’s father, Madoc, takes all three children back to his house. He murdered their parents, so he must assume responsibility for her kin.

There Jude is a human treated as a privileged Fae which causes resentment. She has no powers, she is considered a lesser being by many and her life is often made a misery. Jude’s sister would prefer to lay low and keep quiet, trying to stay out of trouble’s way and going about her life as quietly as possible. She wants to fit in but as unobtrusively as possible. Jude doesn’t want to go that way. She wants to be like they are, she wants to fight back.

And so for the first part, I was enjoying this book without really loving it. But then Jude is offered a sort of apprentice spy position and things start to pick up. Her adoptive father is a warrior and Jude wanted to be a knight, having trained from her arrival in the Fae world. Her adoptive father is a little dismissive of her desire, stating that she doesn’t have it in her. Her skills are good but it takes much more than that.

Jude begins to learn a lot as she spies – her humanness is the perfect cover at times. It’s clear that there’s a lot of political wheeling and dealing going on but no one could’ve guessed the full extent of what was being planned. And it’s when all this is revealed that this book suddenly explodes. And all of a sudden Jude’s attitude comes into its own and it’s really quite impressive.

Despite not possessing any power and often being on the end of cruel jokes and pranks and even more by the Fae, Jude finds a way to show them that she might be human but she’s not useless and she’s not helpless. She has her skills – everyone it seems, underestimated her intelligence, her planning and her ability to do what needs to be done, no matter what consequences. She is ruthless in her scheming and honestly what’s offered to her on the last page of the book is about the most accurate thing ever because it’s where she should be.

I’m not exactly going to say there’s a romance in this because it’s not but whatever the heck it is, can I just say that I am 100% here for it? It’s messed up and unexpected but I love it. I love that Jude isn’t some helpless female struck dumb by the male. I love that she’s in control, almost violently so and that she instigates things as some sort of test and then walks away. After what she did I don’t know where it’s going – I can’t even begin to imagine. But I want to know. Oh do I really want to know! How long until the next book? Way too long.

This is a brilliant set up book. The first part is a little slow and ‘buildey’ but persevere and it’s so worth it. You just know that this has laid a lot of very important ground work in so many ways for the story to continue. I love how fearful Jude was at the beginning, how helpless she felt in the face of all these perfect, powerful Fae in a land where she was regarded as inferior. But she never believed that about herself. No matter what they did to her or how they treated her. Her entire life as she knew it was ripped away from her and she wasn’t given a choice about what her life was to become. Well, in this book Jude definitely starts regaining her ability to choose her own destiny. And she’s doing it in some pretty darn epic ways.

I really, really need book 2 please. Yesterday.

9/10

Book #10 of 2018


3 responses to “Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

  1. Jovita says:

    I’m so happy that I came across your review, I have this on my list. I wanted to wait a bit to see if it was just hype because it was a new lease, or if they reviews were real. Maybe I’ll see if I can find it this weekend. Happy Reading –

  2. Greg Hill says:

    I’ve been wanting to try Holly Black, and have been seeing the hype for this one. It sounds awesome and I love stories about humans in the fae realm, so this is a definite must- get for me!

    Nice review!

  3. Loni says:

    Sounds amazing. I’m going to have to read it.

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