The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on January 2nd 2018
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.
This book left me speechless. The last scene was incredible! I was at the edge of seat expecting one outcome, and then the chair was pulled from me when something completely different happened.
When I first heard about The Cruel Prince, I brushed it off. I mean, yeah, the cover looked cool, but the description didn’t immediately grab me. On Goodreads I started seeing a lot of people reading and praising it. But still, I wasn’t going to buy it, because I’ve been avoiding spending money on books lately, preferring to utilize my trial of Kindle Unlimited. But when I got a second reminder email from Barnes & Noble saying I had a credit due to a lawsuit settlement (this is the third time it’s happened which is pretty neat), I was like, what the heck. I might as well take advantage of the credit before I lose it. It only paid for half of the ebook, but I was totally okay with covering the $4-ish dollars.
I’m so glad I made the decision to buy The Cruel Prince. It’s the first book in a long time that had me glued to the pages, forsaking sleep.
Jude and Taryn, both human, live in the land of Faerie, along with their older sister Vivi, who is half-fae. Vivi’s father is a redcap general who, by nature, is extremely violent. The Cruel Prince begins with Vivi’s father slaughtering her mother and the father of her two younger sisters. Vivi’s father drags her, and out of obligation, Jude and Taryn, to Faerie.
If you’ve ever read about the fae and their seelie and unseelie courts, you know how vicious they are. They’re bloodthirsty tricksters that lead humans beneath the hills to dance until they drop, among other horrible things.
Jude and Taryn are lucky because, even though Vivi’s father is not theirs’, he treats them like fae daughters. They have splendid rooms, lovely gowns, take the same classes that noble faes take, and are allowed to go to lavish balls.
Although both Taryn and Jude know that darkness lurks beneath the beauty, they have both, in different ways, adapted to the fae world they were thrusted into. For ten years Jude has resented the fae. She’s responded to their cruelness by becoming a formidable opponent in swordplay and the mind. In The Cruel Prince, after ten years of inferior treatment, Jude starts to bite back. Then you have her twin Taryn who has spent the last ten years keeping her head down, trying to the mimic the graceful ways of the fae. Taryn doesn’t want to just blend in, she wants to have a place amongst the fae. She’s pretty foolish in Jude’s and my opinion. Taryn has this romantic notion about the fae even though she’s witnessed the horror they bestow. I’m sure it comes as no surprise when I say I prefer Jude, the smarter and braver sister who stands up for herself and others that need the protection, even if they don’t deserve it.
There a lot of fascinating characters in this book. You have the twins of course, and their older half-fae sister Vivi who is hilarious. Vivi despises the fae in general and their old ways. She wants to be free, to live in the modern world with electronic devices, like cable. Then you have Vivi’s ‘stepmother’ Oriana, who reminds me of the wicked stepmother from Cinderella. She only tolerates the sisters because their stepfather expects her to. Oriana has a young son named Oak who is a wild child, but clearly loves his older sisters, and they him. There’s Cardan, the cruel youngest prince to the king of the seelie court who I despised in the beginning, but slowly began to love. He’s kind of the typical, attractive, brooding, jerk that is shielding deep problems that you’re dying to learn about. Other characters I enjoyed included an attractive fox-like fae that seems to be part of Cardan’s cruel group of friends, until he slowly changes his tune and takes an interest in Jude. *wink*
This book has action, heartbreak, sabotage, espionage, romance, and more. I was so riveted by Jude. I cheered for Jude when she stood up to Cardan and the other vicious fae, and I felt sorrow when she slowly started turning dark like her recap stepfather. I understood her transformation though, to survive, sometimes you have to become the very thing you hate most.
I can’t gush enough about this book. It’s so juicy and one of kind (in my eyes). Now I’m agonizing over the 1 then 2 year wait for books 2 and 3.