Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, 1)
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Hot Key Books (2nd January 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.
One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The fearsome assassin abducts all three girls and brings them to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed into the royal court. Mocked and tormented for being merely mortal, Jude soon realises that to survive in this treacherous, dangerous, new world, she needs to be as smart, cunning and deceitful as the Fey themselves.
But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan. Jude must take the utmost care . . .
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Holly Black returns to the world of fairy with a new book and series. THE CRUEL PRINCE follows the story of a human girl who grows up in fairyland. Jude and her sisters grow up in the fairy courts, where being mortal comes at a terrible cost – it is easy to fall under its spells. Even with the everyday cruelties and despite knowing she doesn’t belong, it is the only home Jude has known. She no longer fits into the mortal realm; to her it is as foreign and strange as fairyland is to mortals. It is a fight for survival.
THE CRUEL PRINCE was one of the most hyped and anticipated books of 2018, and whilst I was curious it wasn’t one of my must buys. Holly Black is a really imaginative writer, and I’ve enjoyed exploring her worlds – I’m a particular fan of THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN, and I enjoyed her previous venture into fairies in IRONSIDE. That being said, I was honestly a little hesitant to pick up this book because although I’m a huge fan of books about the fair folk I often find them pretty hit and miss. Still, the story called to me and I decided to pick it up and give it a try.
THE CRUEL PRINCE is a good solid read; I enjoyed reading it, unfortunately I didn’t love it. There are a lot of good things about this book – the world building is excellent, the characters are interesting – but I just didn’t love it. The plot also takes a while to get going, Black includes a lot of twists and turns and I felt it takes a while for the story to really get going. Jude’s relationship with fairy is really interesting and complex, and was one of my favourite elements of this book.
As I’ve already said, Black does a good job with the world building – by the end of THE CRUEL PRINCE she has painted a very vivid and complex world that seems very real and believable. The characters are very interesting and there are a lot of complex motivations going on in the background, but Black focuses so fully on Jude that sometimes the other characters don’t feel particularly fleshed out. On the one hand this works well, as it adds to the atmosphere of not being certain of anyone, on the other I found it quite frustrating particular in regards to Jude’s relationship with her family. Still, the story is interesting and complex and well worth a read. I might not have fallen in love, but I am curious to see what comes next for Jude.