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The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black (Review)

The Cruel Prince Book Cover The Cruel Prince
Book 1: The Folk of the Air
Holly Black
Fantasy: Fairytales & Folklore
Hot Key Books

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.

One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed in the royal court but mocked and tormented by the Faerie royalty for being mortal. 

As Jude grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong.

But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan . . . 

Enter the dramatic and thrilling world of the Folk of the Air, brimful of magic and romance from New York Times bestselling author Holly Black.

Good morning you B-E-A-Utiful Bookish Folk. ^_^

I hope you’re having a great start to your weekend and that you’re reading something which pulls at your heartstrings. I have been so psyched to write this review and hope that you find my experience and opinions helpful.

Political intrigue, Royal coups, Assassins, Betrayal, & Bloodshed.

Faerieland- a setting that sounds harmless enough, but in reality, is anything but.

The Cruel Prince literally snatched my breath away. Every page was a delight to read and brought me closer to our MC- Jude, a young girl orphaned by her mother’s Fae ex-husband.

(Please click on the below cover image to learn more about The Cruel Prince.)

The story begins with an everyday ‘at home’ setting. The tone of the writing is light-hearted and calm when we get our first glance at Faerie via the brutish Redcap, Madoc.

We are thrust into the world of Faerie with little preparation, which I found rather scary as it had me relating more and more to Jude’s personal experience. She and her two sisters, Taryn and Vivi, are expected to adapt to their new lives in the magical realm, torn away from all that they previously knew and loved.

When you seek to belong in a world you were not born into- ‘Even if by some miracle, I could be better than them, I will never be one of them.’

Jude’s overall character was one I easily related to: she is stronger than she thinks and uses her determination of will to see her through some very difficult experiences, many of which involve death.

‘I have always been scared, since the day I got here. I was raised by the man who murdered my parents, reared in a land of monsters. I live with that fear- If I didn’t pretend not to be scared, I would hide in Madoc’s estate, forever.’

From Jude’s fear alone, you can see just how much the Faerie folk despise humans. They are less than accommodating to the new arrivals, and when an upcoming coronation is due to take place, Jude only gets herself further into the Fae’s bad books.

As the story progressed, I finally came to realize that The Cruel Prince, although this phrase could easily have been used to describe many of the royals in this story, is actually intended to describe the 6th son born to King Eldred, Cardan. His character was one I found most intriguing as he shows both a strong like and dislike of Jude at different points in the story. He is first described by Jude in the following way-

‘Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest, with black hair as iridescent as a raven’s wing, and cheekbones sharp enough to cut out a girl’s heart. I hate him so much that sometimes, when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.’

Jude’s opinion of this cruel Prince changes somewhat throughout the novel as we learn more about Cardan’s past and the experiences which have caused him to become bitter in his youth. Their interactions appear mutually hostile at first, eventually melting into somewhat neutral (and on rare occasion, close) interactions.

Overall, this was an incredible reading experience for me. I’ve yet to find a book which compelled me to read on as much as this. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more books by Holly Black, and I recommend that you keep an eye open too.

A gripping fantasy (Fae-inspired) novel that revolves around loss, imprisonment, love, and betrayal.

My rating? 5 Stars.
Recommended for lovers of Epic Fantasy, and The Fae.

Now, I leave you with one final quote that made me think.

‘Our lives are the only real thing we have, our only coin. We get to buy what we want with them.’

Whether you agree with this quote or not, it was one that really made me think and so I leave you with it as a final thought.

Thank you for joining me for this review.
Have a Sensational Saturday,



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