Title: The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Category: Young Adult
Status: Book 1 of The Folk of the Air
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.
The Cruel Prince has been receiving SO MUCH PRAISE in the book community. I was a little afraid of the hype so I waited until the hype went down a little before reading it.
I’m glad I did because although the book is pretty good, I didn’t like it enough to hype it up as much as I’ve been seeing. If there was no hype and I didn’t have any expectations, I probably would have liked it better because now I feel like it’s not lived up to the hype.
Jude’s parents were murdered by her elder sister’s biological father and she and her sister were taken to the Fae world. Jude and her twin sister Taryn have grown up as humans in the fey world, hence envying the Fae beauty, strength and power.
Since they’re brought up as the children of the Gentry even though they’re not, they learn everything the Fey kids learn. They also get bullied at school by the youngest royal Prince Cardian and his friends.
All Jude wants is to rightfully earn a place in the Court, and she can do that by learning to fight well and getting selected as the knight by someone.
But, of course, things don’t go as you’ve planned. Old secrets, deceit, corruption, murders and more get involved and Jude is somehow caught up in it by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or maybe it was the right place and the right time? Who knows.
There were a couple twists and one of them totally caught me off-guard, changing the course of the story completely. I loved the ending and I cannot wait for the next book.
The book follows Jude alone so we get to know her a lot, and we can relate with her easily. She’s grown up in this world and has been separated from the human world for so long that even if she goes back, she won’t fit in anymore. And she doesn’t fit in in the fey world either, being a human. All Jude wants is to fit in.
I liked how determined and brave Jude is. She’s also willing to give up sleep and energy to learn things and does everything to get what she wants. She’s an admirable main character. She takes huge risks to keep the people she loves safe.
But what I didn’t get was how Jude, who’s just an unimportant human in the Faerie, is in the middle of everything. It doesn’t make sense.
Jude’s twin sister Taryn, on the other hand, was.. point-less. Kind of. She doesn’t have much of a personality, doesn’t stick with her sister like Jude does and is selfish. I quite hated her.
Jude’s elder sister Vivi, who is half fae, was better but we hardly saw her. She hates her father for murdering her mother and uprooting her from the human world, which she liked. So she spends her days rebelling by not listening to him and irritating him. I felt like she was more of a child than Jude because she did petty things but nothing of consequence.
The supporting characters, especially Cardian, were written very well. I HATED Cardian in the beginning, but I expected a redemption arc and we got the beginning of it. By the end, I didn’t hate him but I don’t particularly like him either.
I quite liked it! I gave it 4 stars but I am still disappointed because the hype led me to believe it’s worth over 5 stars. I tried to remain objective with my review and rating but my feeling of satisfaction is an entirely different issue.
I definitely recommend it but I suggest not going in with the expectation that it’ll blow your mind.