The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
Author: Holly Black
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: January 2nd 2018
Format: eARC (384 pages)
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.
My Rating: ★★★★★
Having never read a book by Holly Black before this one, I really didn’t know what to expect. I really enjoy YA fantasy novels and this book really didn’t disappoint.
From the very beginning there is a glorious darkness to this book that I just fell in love with. Some of these characters are cruel beyond belief and on more than one occasion I found myself exclaiming loudly ‘Oh my God!’ or taking in a huge gasp of air. It twisted and turned like no other and I felt like I was constantly on my toes to find out what would happen next to Jude and the other characters.
Alongside outright murder and death, there is also a lot of deceit and betrayal. I found myself not knowing who I could really trust but at the same time I also really liked almost all of the characters. I love flawed characters and The Cruel Prince certainly comes with its fair share. I loved that each of the characters had something about them that prevented them from being perfect because it made them all the more real and their stories more compelling.
I absolutely loved Jude as our main character. Although not necessarily instantly likeable, she has an admirable inner strength, she is brave, courageous and, best of all, rather flipping sassy. She endures the most horrific bullying from her Faerie companions due to her mortality but I loved the way she used this to strengthen herself. She is the exact kind of leading character I love to read about. I also was really intrigued by Vivi and would have loved to see more of her rebellious side. I couldn’t help but like Madoc (and trust me he has some big flaws!). Cardan is a mysterious being and I still don’t quite think I know him as well as I want to but he did surprise me!
Gosh were there some complex relationships in this book! I mean, to begin with Jude and Taryn are being raised in the world of Faerie by the man who murdered their parents in front of them – way to go on making things difficult from the off! I am a BIG fan of a complex relationship because in life that’s exactly what relationships are. The idea that Jude and Taryn could forgive Madoc for what he did was something I battled with but I also loved the really layered relationship that Jude and Taryn shared. Whilst Jude has ambitions over and above her station as a mortal in the Faerie world, Taryn is willing to accept her lesser role and marry herself off, so to speak. The contrast between them was really interesting but the fact that there was also such a mixture of love and affinity too just really kept me interested in their dynamics as sisters.
The world building was exquisite! From the first few pages I felt completely at home in this new world and this is all down to the excellent writing and vivid descriptions. I was easily able to imagine the world Holly Black had created and absolutely adored the contrast of the dark, twisty Faerie world against the modern world we are familiar with. These two worlds were so different yet woven together so perfectly.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will definitely be seeking out more of Holly Black’s writing in future. Dark and twisted, this Faerie-tale kept me hooked from beginning to end with its glorious twists and turns. I certainly will be tuning back in for book 2 next year!
Thanks to NetGalley and Hot Key Books for my eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Have you read The Cruel Prince? Is it on your TBR?
I’d love to know what you thought!