I am wary of hyped books, especially recently. I’ve been majorly disappointed by some other hyped books, so I approached The Cruel Prince with fear and trembling. Was it going to be overhyped?
Guys, GOOD NEWS. This book deserves the HYPE. So much. The story is incredible, the characters are so rich, and the world is engrossing and simply fantastic.
Yes, I’m gushing. The Cruel Prince may be my favorite read of 2018. Ok, 2018 has barely started. But I loved this book so much!!!
There’s a bunch of reasons I liked this book. How it tackled bullying, why the abuse played into the characters development. The politics and morally grey characters. And of course, the fantastic world building.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Published January 2018 // Book Depository
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 isn’t for the faint of heart
It’s Slytherin, and morally grey, and chock full of stabbiness. I’m not a Slytherin, I’m 100% Gryffindor. I don’t want the bad guys to win, so this is a twisting read for me. I want to run away, and find the good guy. But that’s a loosing battle. Because, are there in good guys in Faerie?
- So many Faerie details
I felt like Holly Black lived with Faeries. The story is rich with amazing little details about surviving with the Fae. Being Pixie led, charmed, glamoured, poisoned with Fae food.
This book could be called The Handbook for Different Ways Faeries May Kill You.
Also, remember how Faeries can’t lie? I LOVE how faeries figure out how to be deceitful without outright lying. SO CLEVER.
Besides all the Faerie trickery, Faerie land is gorgeous. It’s mouthwatering. The scenery is lush, you can fall into this beautiful land of deadly enchanted fruit and handsome fairies.
- Plot Twists Galore!
Buckle in, because you will have NO IDEA what’s happening. No idea.
At one point, I was pretty sure where things were going. I wasn’t exactly happy with that train, but that train went completely off the rails. Turns out, we weren’t even on that train.
So BUCKLE UP. Because Holly Black is a master at misleading. (Maybe she is part Faerie???)
- Jude – Jude is telling the story. And I love her voice! She’s complex, and I am not like Jude at all. I would never want to be a knight. Fighting in front of the Fae Court? That is SCARY.
Jude might be scared. But she doesn’t let that stop her. She’s going to be better than the Fae. Also, I really loved how the story drew on Jude’s bullying experience. Bullying is an awful ordeal to live through, and it influenced who Jude is so much.
Sometimes, I think we can gloss over horrible things like bullying as just things from our childhood. Bullying has lifetime affects. And in The Cruel Prince it deeply affects the story.
- Taryn – Jude’s twin sister. I kind of relate more to Taryn. (If you’ve read the book, don’t JUDGE ME) Taryn is a little bit of sweet heart with some rough edges.
Also, Taryn is also Jude’s opposite on so many levels. She retreats from the fights, looks to love for rescue, and might think the best of people?
So, everyone can’t be GOOD with a sword. And desperate for a fight. Taryn just wants safety, to not be usurped by her sister. I feel ya, Taryn!
On the other hand, I love Jude’s spunk and skill with a sword. More hard working, fighting girls, please!
- Vivi – Of all the sisters, I relate most to Vivi. AGHGH, she’s so amazing! I love her attitude, her absolute commitment to hating Madoc. She literally doesn’t care AT ALL about the Fae. And I love her for that SO MUCH.
I am really, really excited to see Vivi in the next book. She may have some major parts to play.
- Madoc – Jude’s stepdad. He’s really, really interesting. We find out right away he’s not a nice guy. But he is an alright guy? I mean he’s a Fae commander who will mercilessly kill people. But he also loves Jude and her sisters? MORALLY GREY CHARACTERS ARE SO EPIC.
One of my favorite details is the super cute & awkward time when Jude is chatting about Madoc’s parenting. He’s a great dad, he read us war strategy books until we fell asleep.
Fae Parenting skills on point.
- Oriana – Jude’s stepmom. She’s super prim and protective of her son, Oak. I kind of disliked her, and then fell in love. She’s so layered!
- Oak – the cutest little guy, ever. He’s super clever and you can instantly tell he’s a Fae child. I want to give him lots of hugs and love. 💕
I could go through and talk about each of the Fae characters, but I’m not. Because that’s treading on spoilery ground.
- Prince Cardan
He’s our villain. But he’s layered and maybe not the actually villain? Ok, it’s Faerie so there’s lots of villains.
I also like how Cardan doesn’t rely on his strength. He’s not the macho type of prince character. He’s clever and beautiful, and sharp tongued. And totally cruel.
Cardan uses his brains to outsmart everyone. He doesn’t bring a flaming sword and scare everyone out of their wits.
I like smart, sly princes more than shirtless, bloody warriors. Just saying. 🙂
Spoiler! Turn away before it’s too late!
I don’t ship Cardan and Jude AT ALL. Seeing them work for/against each other will be interesting. But I feel like romance between them would be super weird? And not exactly healthy?
I’m not sure if this was supposed to be a love to hate relationship. It didn’t feel worked out. Cardan confessing his hate/love for Jude, and Jude being all chill about his feelings.
I’m eager to see how their relatinship works out in the next book, but I just don’t see romance happening?
As I’ve gushed about, this book is full of politics. But not parallel politics to our own world. (A la Cassandra Clare and JK Rowling)
Completely Fae politics about thrones and family infighting and factions. I LOVE IT! It feels so scary, and everything’s about to fall apart.
Also, these politics are life and death? People are going to die. Stab each other in the back. It’s gripping. Totally scary.
I adore Jude’s relationship with her family. But also, the Faerie royal family relationship is intense. And plays alot into the politics.
Most stories gloss over or completely ignore family relationships, but The Cruel Prince does not. Family really, really matters. and I can’t wait to see the families work for and against each other in the sequel.
This has been my favorite read so far this year, and I can’t wait to reread it. I just want to live inside the pages!
Also, pain and suffering because the next book doesn’t come for an ENTIRE year? What Faerie torture is this???
If you’re worried about reading a book that ends on a gigantic cliffhanger, don’t be too worried. While The Cruel Prince definitely needs a sequel, you’re not left completely in the dark. So read this NOW and suffer with me for a year, ok?
And if you haven’t bought the Cruel Prince yet, and you’re interested int doing do, consider buying it through Book Depository. If you use my link, I receive a 5% commission. No extra charge to you, and your purchase will help pay my college tuition. 🙂 Actually you can buy any book using that link!
Have you read The Cruel Prince?
Do you like dark plot twists? Do you think you’d survive Faerie?