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Book Review: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, Book 1) by Holly Black

the cruel prince

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: 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.

Opinion:

This tale may have faeries that harness such beauty that your throat will constrict on sight, a court of royalty both fierce and alluring, and a human girl thrust upon its center.

But this isn’t your typical Fae tale, and it isn’t for the fainthearted.

There are tricksters and murderers, kin slayers and cruel rulers.

There are romances with slit eyes and truths entwined in riddles.

There are faeries as flinty as a fox, ones who love tyrannical tricks and depraved deadly deeds.

But sometimes the most cold-blooded becomes the compassionate, and the most sympathetic becomes the sadistic.

Buckle up boys and girls. Your sweet faeries are dripping in poison.

At the age of seven Jude and her sisters were swept away to a land called faerie by the murderer of their parents, the general of the High King at the High Court of Faerie. After being forced to adapt to her new surroundings and way of life, Jude grows to love faerie even though humans are looked down upon. Ten years later, Jude can finally call the land of Faerie home with the goals of becoming a Knight to the High King. But Jude’s life in Faerie is far from easy. She is ridiculed and tortured by the Fae, especially by the youngest Prince of the High Court and his minions. Usually choosing to be meek and keep her head down, Jude decides to show a different hand. As she fights to win a place at court, she realizes that the politics and deceptions in the inner circle might just be more than she bargained for.

Call me naïve, and maybe even innocent as a stretch, but here I thought I was going to be reading a nice Fae tale with a grumpy prince, a whirlwind romance and the potential of a swift rebellion.

Dear oh me. Was I f*****g wrong.

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Where do I even start?! This book just went to the TOP of my favorites list, and THANKFULLY book two, The Wicked King, is coming out in four days or I might just have to fall over in some sort of dramatic goth-like fashion!

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The tale goes as such: long, long ago, in the far away land called Faerie that isn’t’ all that far away, Jude’s human mother marries a Fae general named Madoc and they sire a half-Fae daughter. Soon the human wife falls in love with a human swordsmith in Faerie, and they both escape to the mortal lands with the half-Fae daughter. Some odd years later AFTER the mortals sire their twin human daughters, said Fae General named Madoc finds the mortal couple and attempts to convince his wife and daughter to return to Faerie. After refusals and threats, the impatient Fae general murders the mortal couple in front of their children. But EVER the gentlemen that this Fae male is, he takes his half-Fae daughter AND her human sisters back to Faerie whilst bringing honor to the wife that he just killed.

Isn’t that just dreamy?

I knew you’d love it.

Let’s start with our lovable, though debatable, female lead: Jude. Jude is the epitome of an underdog. Nobody in Faerie expects much from her and Taryn due to their humanly status, and as such they are ridiculed and taunted mercilessly by Prince Cardan and his loathsome entourage. At first Jude strikes the reader as a meek and dutiful girl, trying to stay in line and invisible to the Fae. But quiet quickly a drastic change in her is thrust upon the reader, and we are given this formidable and fierce female. Plainly put, Jude becomes a Grade-A BADASS with a pension for s**t disturbing. I don’t know about you guys, but I want this girl on my team. Ruthless.

But what is the cause of this sudden change in demeanor for our female lead? Why, it’s the cruel prince himself, Cardan! Naturally it was easy to assume that the romance of this story would be between Cardan and Jude. That Cardan would be a sulky little prince at first meeting and then transform into a valiant and respectable man fit for a fairytale! Well…not so much.

Ladies, Cardan is a hulking jackass.

He is vicious, constantly in a state of inebriation, and does everything in his power to torment Jude. But this isn’t just a case of name-calling and shoving. He tears off other Faeries wings and tries relentlessly to persuade Jude to kill herself. BRUTAL. Truthfully though, I find Cardan to be sinfully delicious and intriguing. The author goes out of her way to confuse the reader about this character, and I am left with a vague and mysterious idea of him that makes me crave more.

The sisters of Jude are also interesting characters that bring an ENTIRELY different level of innocence and cruelty to this book. Taryn embodies the roll of a submissive female. She seems willing to do just about ANYTHING to stay out the path of ruthlessness provided by Cardan and his friends. The girl has a floppy spine, the heart of a rock and I would be GLAD to be rid of her. But Vivi is a completely different case. She is Fae but loathes living in Faerie, and wants nothing more than to return to the mortal world. She is a fiery and outspoken woman, especially when it comes to her EXTREME distaste for Madoc. I wish she had a bigger role in this story, but in the end, I suppose it make no difference.

The Cruel Prince has proved to be an extremely imaginative and completely different story than what I was expecting. These faeries are brutish and downright wild when it comes to getting what they want. I feel completely constricted in what I can say, but look out for those blindsides, because you will NOT see them coming! This book is packed with vague answers, manipulation, mind games, murder and brutality. However, I am slightly disappointed that there wasn’t more descriptions and world building for the land of Faerie. I felt that the author had a HUGE chance to make this world a whimsical and dauntingly beautiful place, but instead it comes across as “okay” due to the lack of description. I also would have preferred a little more insight into Jude’s physical training and to see her grow in that way as well. This was all mentioned, but moved over rather quickly.

With that said, I honestly can’t say anything more or I will give everything away to those of you who haven’t had the chance at reading this FANTASTIC book. I am counting down the days for The Wicked King to be released! Hopefully it will be just as addicting as the first.

4-stars

 

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20 thoughts on “Book Review: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, Book 1) by Holly Black

  1. Yeeeees I love seeing more people enjoy The Cruel Prince. I can’t believe I read this book exactly a year ago and it’s still one of the most memorable books of 2018. Wicked King here we come!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also have this library book at home in preparation for book two coming out. I should probably get on that but I put The Winternight Trilogy first. The third book releases the same day. *smacks forehead* So. Many. Books.

    Liked by 1 person

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