Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Fiction / Dark Fantasy
By #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, the first book in a stunning new series about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue.
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.
The Cruel Prince is the first installment in author Holly Black's The Folk of Air series. The Cruel Prince is a blend of Faerie and Fantasy. In this world, Fae are a mixture of horror and pleasure. As with The Darkest Part of the Forest, Black has returned to the genre that launched her YA career with a setting and cast of faerie characters, and successfully mixes her expertise with the tone of bestselling fantasies such as the A Court of Thorns and Roses, And I Darken, and Red Queen series.
When she was 7 years old, Jude Duarte, her sister Taryn, and step sister Vivienne, watched as a man named Madoc showed up and murdered her parents. Madoc isn't just any man, however. He is a redcap general of some merit who has fought many wars in his time. The sisters found themselves being dragged into the land of Faerie where we find them 10 years later. For 10 years, Jude has strived to be more than a puny human whose life span is short next to those she not only lives with, but goes to school with.
Jude wants to be a knight to prove that even mortals are worthy of rising to the top of the ladder. When that path is closed to her, she reinvents herself into a person that is as cruel as any fae. Jude's time arrives when Prince Dain asks her to be his spy and puts a geas on her to never to reveal who she is working for, or what she is doing. Even in the face of danger and threats from magical, violent faeries, she holds her own and manages to find her own power. Jude's ends up belonging to a group known as the Court of Shadows which includes Roach, Bomb, and Ghost. Loved all three.
There is nothing like a group of anti-heroes fighting the good fight against even more nastier villains to peak my interest. As Jude is fighting off those who hate her guts and want to see her dead, she doesn't leave any room for how much she is willing to do and the things she is willing to go through in order to survive and make her home in Faerie where she will finally get the respect she wants. For Jude, her antagonist is Prince Carden. Let me briefly summarize my feelings for Carden.
He is the most arrogant, the most selfish, the most twisted, the most damaged, the most cruel, the most curious male character in this entire book. As the youngest in his family, he doesn't give two craps about who is in charge or who he offends as long as he is having fun. He just wants to drink, taunt everyone who is lower in rank them him, and party like it's 1999. He struts like a peacock while everyone is looking. His main target more times than not just happens to be Jude who doesn't back down but fights back. He's also got a curious side that ends up making the final chapters that much more entertaining.
So, while Vivienne is acting out in rebellion against her father and wanting to return to the mortal world, Taryn is being sneaky as a snake. We shall leave that right there because while I would love to speak my mind about Taryn. Taryn's behavior goes towards Jude's growth as a character and the choices she makes. Jude's relationship with the Court of Shadows and her unknown pull towards the Cruel Prince Caden grows. Can Jude keep her head attached while sifting through the politics of the Fae world? Or, will she just become yet another casualty?
This book is, in a way, very cruel. There are twists galore, and you better be ready for anything to happen. The ending leaves you wanting to connect this book with Games of Thrones and the Red Wedding episode. Yep, it is that bloody. Those who are left standing, will have to put the pieces together in order to go forward. In Jude's case, everything she's done, lie, steal, murder, and become a leader all of her own, means selling her soul to the boy that may end up breaking her into pieces.