The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Dark, twisted and brutally violent at times, I absolutely loved this book. Black truly creates a wonderfully vivid world that you can quite happily lose yourself in.
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.
Holly Black truly is the Queen of the Fae.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a story featuring Fae and I’m so glad I waited for this one. It’s deliciously dark and twisted and so, so good. The writing is wonderful, Black creates a fantastically vivid world and a story that gripped me from the very start.
Main character Jude is incredible and I loved how she developed over the course of the story. The other characters are similarly unexpected and complicated and the relationships between them are just as unpredictable. As the majority of characters are fae, there are a lot of tricksters, some charming and some vicious, nasty and horrible. Very few are who they seem and many turn out to be completely different than you thought.
There are a lot of twists and turns in this story, some I saw coming and others that took me completely by surprise. Almost everyone seems to be scheming and plotting to maneuver themselves into a position of power or at the very least safety. It’s a dangerous and violent world, think Game of Thrones, where there are sudden bursts of brutal and bloody violence as the various factions try to take out their enemies.
As humans in a powerful fae family, twins Jude and Taryn are particularly vulnerable. They have no power and spend most of their time afraid and on the defensive, at the mercy of whoever decides to risk the wrath of their guardian Madoc. It fascinated me how both sisters were in the same position but took such different approaches, Jude looks for her own power while Taryn seeks protection. It makes for an interesting dynamic between them and quite a bit of conflict. I could understand Taryn’s attempts to go unnoticed and smooth the waters but I loved Jude’s determination and fire. The moment where she pretty much goes f*ck it and starts playing the game had me cheering.
There is some romance in this, those fae can be very tempting, but it is fairly light and like a lot of the story not necessarily what it seems. The focus is much more on family relationships, friendship, loyalty and trust. Basically all of the good things and I loved it.
Overall this is a brilliant story, so dark and twisty with a lot of violence. It’s one I’d recommend to all YA fantasy readers and I can’t wait for the next in the series.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book. As always all thoughts are my own.