Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

260328255 out of 5 Stars!

Another book by the amazing Holly Black. I just couldn’t help myself 🙂

The Blurb

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.

My Thoughts?

This was such a unique twist on the traditional fairy story, I loved it! Beginning in a contemporary world–complete with cartoons and fish sticks–this novel abruptly takes a turn when three sisters are yanked into the world of fairy.

We follow the story of Jude, our narrator, as she works to become more like the fae to earn a place in their court. She makes for a great female antihero, driven by the need to prove herself and become more terrible than her fairy antagonists. Not a hard feat when she’s spent the last ten years raised by the very man who killed her parents right in front of her.

This book managed to be both magical and horrible at once. There’s the beautiful, whimsical side of fairy–filled with magic flying horses, adorably mischievous fairy children, and gorgeous ball dances. But then there’s the other side of fairy–where humans are kept as drugged slaves, children are trained as assassins, and members of the royal court murder the people they’re sworn to protect in order to gain power.

The character interactions in this book are so twisted, I had no idea what to expect next. The relationship between the three sisters is complex and realistic, filled with all the in-fighting and cattiness you could expect. But also an enormous amount of tenderness and friendship. And this is sort of unrelated, but I have to say I appreciated the descriptions explaining the difference between fae and human menstrual cycles. Hah!

The love interests keep you on your toes too. Because apparently the whims of fairies can be even more fickle than those of the normal teenager. I did expect one of the romantic turns, but it was portrayed in a surprising and somewhat disturbing way. It was a strangely satisfying turn of events.

Even though I greatly enjoyed this novel, I did have some complaints. I liked the main character, but there were some instances where her internal dialogue felt whiny and distracting. For a tough girl willing to go to any length to get what she wants, it felt kind of out of character.

The conclusion was a spectacular reminder to be careful what you wish for. Overall, I give The Cruel Prince Five out of Five stars. Loved it! For fans of other Holly Black novels, there’s even a cameo by some of the characters from The Darkest Part of the Forest 🙂 I can’t wait to pick up the next book in the series!

Happy Reading!

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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