Monday, February 26, 2018

The Cruel Prince Review

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
By: Holly Black

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 had hit a bit of a book slump recently. I had read all of the new books I had acquired and decided to reread Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series to keep my reading juices flowing. I saw The Cruel Prince advertised on FB but never bothered clicking on it. Then someone recommended it in one of the Young Adult reading groups I'm in, so I thought 'why not?'. If it's good enough for someone to recommend to over 1000 strangers then they must feel confident that it's a damn good read. There's not a lot I love more than a good book/book series recommendation. It's affirmation that I'm not the only truly avid reader out there, there are others. And they will talk books with me any time. It's amazing. 

I didn't bother reading the synopsis before reading the book. I just jumped right into it. Looking back on the synopsis now, I'm glad I didn't read it. It really doesn't do this book any justice. This was my first Faerie novel, I had seen glimpses of them in other series but never really got to know too much about who/what they are or their folklore. I didn't expect to find them very interesting to read about. However, Holly Black made them far more interesting than I could have imagined. As a people she made them contradictory in personality; they come across as cold and unfeeling, but they have a hidden warmth to them that is definitely not easily accessible or understood. They have a hierarchy that applies and is imposed no matter the age of the fae, and no one questions the wisdom in having older and wiser fae bending to the will of younger royal fae. They're so bizarre which makes them that much more intriguing; you find yourself reading in part, because you want to know more about them. 

The story itself was brilliant, original and heartbreaking for the majority of it. During the first half of the book I was having a hard time with the subject matter because there is so much abuse going on, much of it affecting the main character Jude. It was hard to read. It's always inspirational to read about young main characters facing the most horrific circumstances and coming out of it stronger than even the reader themselves are. Jude is a teenager now and has made a goal for herself, a goal that no one supports or believes in, but her. She is truly one of the loneliest characters I've read about in a long time, but it has made her self sufficient and capable beyond her years.

There were so many twists and turns in this book that I was always on edge, suspicious of everyone, wondering what was going to happen next. I usually make theories as I go along in books about how they will end, how the characters will fare, and in this book theorizing was almost impossible as almost every chapter brought a new change/challenge that completely turned the direction of the book. It was brilliant writing. 

There were only a few drawbacks to this book, one being that there were definitely times when the writing was a little drawn out. During the historic bits I tended to tune out a bit as they were dull. Thankfully there weren't many. I was also bored with Vivi's story line, which was disappointing as her character has such potential to be a serious force in this series given her lineage and personality. Unfortunately she seems more intent on escaping Faerie than getting revenge for what her father did to her mother. Ultimately I am most disappointed with the timeline for this series. I hate waiting for books to be released. I hate when the book has such presence that when it ends you need more immediately, only to find that you have to wait a year for the sequel and then another year on top of that for the conclusion. By the time the next book comes out I am sure I will have forgotten why I wanted to read it so badly. That's not to say this book isn't worth the wait, I just wish that I had waited to read it closer to the date of the sequel.

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

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