That’s what comes of hungering for something: You forget to check if it’s rotten before you gobble it down.
–Holly Black, The Cruel Prince
This is the first Holly Black book I’ve read and wow, I’m impressed. I wonder why it took me this long to read her books, but I’m glad it did!
The Cruel Prince has become a hot sensation among fantasy lovers ever since it was released on January 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 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.
This book drew me in right from the beginning. I’m happy how the story happened immediately, no more stalling. It actually began on a proper Before, it begins with Jude’s mortal life and how it all started, which gives me proper insight on the characters beforehand.
The pacing was slow. I don’t like slow pacing, but that is made up for by all the drama that happens every few thousand chapters or so.
The worldbuilding has this major wow-factor. I absolutely love this world and its cultures. It follows the traditional faeries-can’t-lie rule but I love the clever play of words. Nothing turns a faerie story into something good without cunning and cleverness. Holly Black created a world rich in magic and mysterious whimsy. The first time, I stepped into this world, I immediately thought of Wonderland! And I love that despite all the magic, Faerie is still connected to the mortal world. Like you could ride and go shopping there [mortal world] so long as you glamour yourself.
The plot is very interesting. Mortal-fae conflict and a sprinkling of typical racism from our faerie friends (no, I swear I’m not like them). However, half of the book is just, well…BORING. Like, just really insignificant of the plot. Might I say, half doesn’t even have a storyline? There were times when I just wanted to yawn or skip to the juicy parts. I don’t like Locke, but I really can’t blame him for wanting to spice the drama up a bit (*wink wink*).
Speaking of Locke, the characters were kinda cool, I guess. Exceed expectations, but my standards are pretty high right now after receiving good reviews about this book. No, it’s not like the characters are dull or annoying, but they’re NORMALLY OKAY. Not all, though. Not all. Sweet Cardan is an exception, of course. And Locke is a very intriguing character, till the end. I won’t spoil you guys any farther haha. I suppose I adore most of the characters. They’re beautiful and badass and act like they should.
“I am going to keep on defying you. I am going to shame you with my defiance. You remind me that I am a mere mortal and you are a prince of Faerie. Well, let me remind you that means you have much to lose and I have nothing. You may win in the end, you may ensorcell me and hurt me and humiliate me, but I will make sure you lose everything I can take from you on the way down. I promise you this is the least of what I can do.”
— Holly Black, The Cruel Prince
4 / 5 Dragon Eggs