Title: The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: January 2nd, 2018
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.
(Cover and synopsis taken from Goodreads)“What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.”
I’m ashamed to admit that this is my first Holly Black book. Why didn’t anyone tell me how much I’ve been missing out? The way she writes is absolutely phenomenal. This book demanded to be read, and I couldn’t put it down!
The story primarily takes place in Faerie, but the magical world exists within our own familiar one. Jude, her twin sister, and her part-faerie half-sister, are brought to Faerie as young children after their parents are brutally murdered in front of them. As a human living in a fey world, she is bullied and belittled, despite the high-standing of the father figure who brought them there. The majority of the bullying comes from Cardan, a nasty and self-important fey prince, along with his group of close friends. While Jude’s twin sister is timid, Jude tackles the bullying head-on.
“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”
Soon, she becomes entwined in the politics of Faerie, and what ensues is political intrigue, scheming, and lots and lots of Red Wedding-esque murder.
I love Cardan. He wasn’t redeemed in this book, by any means, but there is some backstory given that makes you feel sorry for him. Also, I’m a huge sucker for the hate-to-love-you trope. His obsession with Jude makes the story so much more interesting.
“Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.”
And omggggg the feels. This book is dark, vicious, and delicious, and I’m about 99.9% sure that it was written for me. Jude, is everything you want from a main character. She’s smart and strong, but also entirely believable and relatable. She’s fierce, and her strength and determination only grow stronger with every horrible thing that’s done to her.
“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 is the least of what I can do.”
This world that Holly Black has created is magical, beautiful, and savage. No one is particularly good, but they all have unique voices, personalities, and motivations. It’s almost like a faerie version of Game of Thrones.
I could probably spend all day quoting this book, so let me leave you with this gem:
“Nice things don’t happen in storybooks. Or when they do happen, something bad happens next. Because otherwise the story would be boring, and no one would read it.”