'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 seventh book I have read so far this year, and probably my favourite. The pure dreaminess I felt whilst reading it was unparalleled. Although the world Holly Black has created does sound truly awful, I would still love to be part of that world. Which is testament to the world building and writing. The world created acted almost as a character in itself.
“…like taking a dare to run over knives, like an adrenaline strike of lighting, like the moment when you’ve swum too far out in the sea and there is no going back, only cold black water closing over your head.”
This book was certainly a rollercoaster of a novel. You know the feeling you get whilst watching game of thrones? that feeling of being constantly tense and dreading what will happen next? that feeling. One thing I loved in particular about The Cruel Prince, is how the majority of the characters were so ambiguous. Reading the novel, I never truly knew who was good and who was bad, which in the Fae world that Holly Black has created, makes so much sense. The characters are morally corrupt, some (if not most) out for themselves. My feelings for the characters ebbed and flowed in waves of emotion. Some characters I hated in the beginning I ended being drawn to, and others I adored I now utterly dislike.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jude’s narration and watching her transform from someone struggling to not be walked all over into this ruthless machine entirely capable of murder and spying and plotting and conniving. I really took my time reading this one as there is so much detail that I felt like I wanted to absorb it all properly.
“If I cannot be better than them, I will be so much worse.”
I need to talk about the ending. Everything about the ending makes me desperate for book two. There were so many twists that I didn’t see happening even in the last five or so pages. My one complaint, if you could call it that, for me, it could have been pushed even further in terms of how dark it was. However, vividly stunning from the beginning and exuding all the rotten details of a rotten fairy world. Basically if you love dark stories about morally grey characters and books that involve a lot of plotting and cleverness and general court intrigue, then this is the book for you. It was cruel and royal and everything I like my YA fantasy books to be.