Title: The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Hot Key Books
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 was a last minute favourite read for 2018. It was one of the books I read for the readathon I hosted at the end of 2018, End of Yearathon.
I haven’t read anything by Holly Black before so I wasn’t too sure what to expect but I’d heard quite a lot of positive things about this book throughout 2018 since its release so I wanted to make sure I read it during the year it was released. Especially since the sequel, The Wicked King, was released in January so I knew I had to get to The Cruel Prince before that.
Oh boy, I really was not prepared for how much I’d enjoy this book. Don’t get me wrong, this book did have some aspects that I wasn’t too keen on, but by the end of the book I found that I had really enjoyed it and I really needed the next book that second. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait too long.
The Cruel Prince follows Jude, a human girl, who navigates through faerie whilst being seen as below everyone else. We follow her as she goes to school and balls and has to deal with the disapproval of faeries the majority of the time. During her time in faerie, Jude comes across some interesting information as Elfhame becomes increasingly closer to having a new ruler.
I liked Jude despite the fact that, at times, she was a little annoying. I thought that she was quite brave and that she was trying to do what was right. She has been through a lot in her life, such as witnessing her parents being murdered and then being taken away and raised by their killer, which is cruel in itself. Despite her experiences, I felt that she was a fairly strong and resilient character, as well as being fairly clever and using things to her advantage.
I disliked Taryn, Jude’s twin sister as I thought that she was pretty bad to Jude at times. Vivi, on the other hand, was pretty cool and I loved that she was fairly rebellious. Cardan and his group are friends are huge bullies. I wasn’t keen on a lot of ways they treated humans like they were so below the faeries. Some of the things they did really didn’t sit well with me and I found myself getting quite frustrated at them at times.
The Cruel Prince is set in Elfhame. I felt like I could imagine things fairly vividly, including Madoc’s estate as that’s where a lot of Jude’s time was spent. The map at the front of the book also really helped me when trying to imagine where places mentioned throughout the book were. Everything was described fairly well so that really added to my reading experience.
There was plenty of scheming throughout this book which I quite enjoyed. It involved different plots by different people and it was interesting to see how the different schemes were carried out throughout the book. It’s especially intriguing to see Holly’s faeries scheme as they are unable to lie so I think that does make the scheming seem even more clever at times.
I quite enjoyed the writing of The Cruel Prince and felt that it flowed really nicely. The chapters were fairly short which enabled me to read this book at a faster pace. Of course, this was aided by the story being so good. I thought that Holly’s writing worked so well with the plot and that she really kept the pace up throughout. Holly’s experience in writing about faeries really shows.
As I said before, there were some aspects of this book that I wasn’t keen on, which is why I gave this book 4.5 stars, but I did end up really enjoying it. I don’t read that many faerie themed books (apart from Sarah J Maas’ books) and this was the first book by Holly Black that I have read. I found myself liking both her interpretation of faeries and her writing so that has definitely pushed me to check out more of her work in the future.