REVIEW ✧ THE CRUEL PRINCE

“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”

☆☆☆3/4

 

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.

Was it just me or did everyone else notice that as soon as 2018 hit this book was everywhere? Not that that’s a bad thing at all, because it isn’t. If a book is everywhere that means that it’s probably really good and it’s one that everyone needs to read. And as you can see, I am now one of those people. Me? Reading a book because it’s on trend? I’d like to say it sounds fake but obviously it sounds exactly like something I’d do since I do it all the time. But after reading the synopsis, can you really blame me? To me, it sounded like a top notch fantasy book and one that was right up my alley and it was. I was actually a bit worried that after everything I went through trying to get this book (for some reason it’s not available in stores here??) that I’d end up not enjoying it but I really did. I think the only reason I can’t bring myself to give it the full 4 stars I’d love to give it is because it took me a little while to read it, especially given the fact that it’s less than 400 pages and I should’ve knocked this out in 4 days maximum. But that’s what working does to you; it ruins your reading time. I still think 3 3/4 stars is a really good rating and apparently I’m into giving quarter stars now. Cool.

THE GOOD

  • The. World. Building. Oh my god, I don’t think I’ll ever be over this world building. I feel like after reading countless fantasies where there’s a lot of great world building, particularly in YA, you eventually reach a point where it’s hard to find one that truly impresses you. Like, sometimes I find myself comparing one world to another, especially if I find them similar, and I can’t commend the author for kinda building on top of someone else’s world and I think with stories involving faeries, you get a lot of that. I’ve experienced good fae world building and bad fae world building (*cough* SJM *cough*) but the fae world building that Holly Black did knocked it out of the park. Most of the time with faeries, I find, the world generally sticks to beautiful immortal beings with pointy ears, magical powers, and long, flowing hair and the four main courts. But here, it was like Black broke all of that into a million pieces and explored every single inch of the fae world and its courts. It was like there was a court for everyone, even termites apparently, and these fae weren’t human-like immortal beings. They all had their own kind of animal quality, like cat eyes or a tail or horns, that made them either unique to their court or family. It was like features that were typically put on a monster or a person to disfigure them, things that were noted as ugly, were seen as beautiful in the fae world. I found it kind of odd initially but as I got more comfortable with the world, I got more comfortable with these fae and I thought it was fantastic in the end. But I think by far my favourite thing about this world building was that it co-existed with the mortal world, in a way. The faerie world was described as being hidden in between the mortal world, found in cracks and shadows, and it was quite simple to go back and forth. I can’t fully call this co-existing because the fae often would compel humans to be slaves and play things for them but the worlds themselves do. I don’t know about you but I really thought that was cool, ok? I loved everything that Black used to create this world and I want to explore every crevice of it.
  • Like world building, fantasy writing can also be either hit or miss for me. Authors can sometimes get too caught up in making the dialogue and overall writing authentic to the times, making it sounds proper and accented, and they can also get caught up in various POVs. Thankfully, the writing here was a big hit. There was only the POV from Jude, which I really enjoyed, so there was no need to muddle everything with multiple voices and storylines so that’s a big checkmark there. But I found that Black’s writing here had a bit of a magical flow to it, one that you might expect from a faerie world, actually. It was like her words were making me feel like I was in this world and had me feeling a certain way when I was reading it. I also liked that it was descriptive when it needed to be and also blunt when it needed to be. I never felt like too much time was spent on one moment and there was never any sense of a chapter dragging on unnecessarily. I honestly can’t think of an example where I was sitting there going “ok why is this happening? Can we move on please?” and that’s why I feel like Black’s writing was a true hit here.
  • Jude was such a good protagonist and one that’s going on my favourites list, for sure. She’s not really your typical protagonist either, meaning she’s not some special chosen one that’s going to save the entire world because of secret powers or she’s a secret heir. She actually never should’ve been in Faerie nor should she want to stay there. Typically, a character in Jude’s situation would want to do anything to escape this world and go back to her own, like her sister Vivienne was doing. But Jude actually wants to stay in that world and deep down wants to be like the fae. She even humours the idea of becoming a fae herself, if the opportunity presented itself, and I found that to be pretty interesting. But I like Jude because she understands the fae world like no other and understands her place there, but she still wants to be more. She knows her limits, knows what she can do as a human, and uses that to her advantage, to gain power. I found myself constantly admiring her and overall being impressed by her. The fae see her as weak and mock her for wanting to fit in with them but she knows that she has to defy them to come out on top. I think it shows how strong she is and how resilient she is and I like that how in a world where she should fail and should be under the fae’s thumb, she can come out on top. I like how she sees her world and how she assesses her situations and I truly believe she’s a character everyone can support and root for.
  • I usually never talk about a title but I feel like The Cruel Prince is one that has multiple layers and meanings. You kind of go into this thinking that the prince in question is Carden, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but as you go deeper into the story you realize it’s more than just Carden. Maybe there’s more than just one cruel prince; maybe it isn’t Carden at all. I found it to be a clever title and I think it alludes to more than just Carden and his place in this story. I don’t even know if this was intentional on Black’s part but I like it.
  • THE ENDING. WOW. There are a handful of plot twists in this book but the ending is one that’ll just blow you away. All I could do was stare at the book and just repeat “wow” on a loop. I was amazed. The plot twist, the final chapter, the final piece of dialogue, all of it was a big, fat, wow. I don’t think I’ve been wowed like that in a while and I loved it.

THE BAD

  • I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Carden yet. I know I talk big game about loving bad boys and princes, but something about a bad boy prince doesn’t really float my boat. I feel like there’s a lot to explore about Carden and I can see myself seeing something in him, especially since he’s not as cruel as you’d think him to be, but I’m not there yet. He has potential to be redeemed, even more so once you get to the near end of this book. But I think I’m gonna need a bit more remorse from him and exploration of his actions towards Jude before I personally get there. I’ve definitely dealt with worse than Carden and I never accepted those characters’ redemptions but I feel like I can with Carden. Just not yet.
  • I took too long to read this and that’s my fault entirely.

THE BOTTOM LINE

  • This book is so unbelievably pleasing that I can’t not recommend it. From the beautiful cover aesthetic to the magical flow of the writing, the top notch world building to crazy plot twists, this book is worth the hype and bandwagoning. I might not have been too keen on faeries in the past, unless it’s Tinkerbell for obvious reasons, but I definitely am now.

BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
Author: Holly Black
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Pages: 384 (Hardcover)
Goodreads

Until next time,

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What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!

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