The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse
Have you ever been drawn magnetically to a book? You’re looking at your bookshelf, trying to figure out to read, and out of nowhere is a pull towards one specific book? That’s what happened to me with this book. One morning I woke up and decided I have to read this book and I have to consume it as quickly as I can. The magnetic pull was right. This book was amazing.
Honestly, this review was supposed to be written and uploaded last week but I finished it when flying home and got distracted by the holidays.
The Cruel Prince is one of the best YA fantasies I’ve read in a long time. It reminds me a lot of A Court of Thorns and Roses, but perhaps that’s because it’s the only other faerie book I’ve read.
I understand why this book was so highly recommended to me. The book picks up on a whirlwind of a start and then drops you into a brand new world, slightly disoriented, much like the main character of the book.
One of the things I love so much about fae books is that the creatures in it, cannot lie. Which makes for an interesting environment when you’re trying to figure out who to trust. Deception is quite different than lying when you know the other person can’t lie. At first you assume that if someone can’t lie then they’re trustworthy. Then you realize they can still deceive and twist the truth to where it’s still true, but not quite. For so much of the book, I wasn’t able to trust even Jude’s sisters.
Holly Black knew exactly how to weave a beautiful, and terrifying, world of fae. Immediately after finishing I went on a hunt to buy the sequel. I’ve never read anything else of hers, but I’m definitely intrigued.
The Cruel Prince doesn’t unfold like you would expect. Reading it was like a breath of fresh air. Something I desperately needed and it has revived my love of reading after a few months of low motivation.
Jude is definitely my favorite character. She was handed a crappy deck of cards and is handling it better than either of her sisters, if you ask me. When she was a kid her parents were murdered and then she was taken to live in the world of fae. However, this is not where you want to be if you’re human. The fae look down on humans, glamour them to use them as servants, and are incessantly cruel to humans. Jude’s older sister, Vivienne, is half fae half human but absolutely hates the world they now live in. Did I mention their parent’s murderer took them away to live with him? Their step-father (and Vivi’s real father). Vivi wants to do anything she can to get out of this world and go back to live with humans. On the other hand, you have Jude’s twin sister, Taryn. How she’s handling this new life they grew up in is by trying hard to become like the fae.
Jude and Taryn go to school with the other high fae and are constantly ridiculed by their peers. Taryn stays quiet and takes it while Jude stands up for herself and has made it her mission to be better than the fae. Which is so badass.
Jude’s desire to best the fae and prove that she deserves a place in the world she was forced to live in, entangles her deep within the politics and powerful people in their world. It also happens to entangle her just as horribly with a certain wicked prince, Cardan.
Cardan is someone I don’t know how to feel about fully yet. He’s one of the worst of them but…it’s a trope I love and I’m digging the new twist on it.
Not only does the book have excellent fantasy elements, it has the complicated inner workings of this society. If you’re a fantasy fan, you definitely need to run and pick up a copy for yourself.
I’m excited to read my first book of 2020, The Wicked King and see where this storyline goes. Jude always has tricks up her sleeve that shock even me.