December 11, 2017

Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Publication Date: January 2, 2018

Source: Vine

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.

In my original review, I wrote that The Cruel Prince was my first foray into Holly Black territory - completely forgetting that I had read the Spiderwick Chronicles years ago and LOVED them. Embarrassing much? 

The beginning chapter - stark and merciless - captured me and the rest simply held me hostage. The fairy world is indeed beautiful but cruel. Jude is basically bullied by the fairy teens (it reminded me of high school, albeit with supernatural beings). Her struggle to belong is difficult and beset with humiliation, especially when Prince Cardan is around.  As a human, she is pretty low in the totem pole.  Yet Jude's ambition lands her in the middle of political plots and murder attempts ala Game of Thrones-style. It is full of violence and betrayal but certainly an addictive read. Although some of the narrative turn was predictable, the ending did leave me with my jaw hanging open. What will be the consequences of Jude's power play???

“Yes, they frighten me, but I have always been scared, since the day I got here.  I was raised by the man who murdered my parents, reared in a land of monsters. I live with that fear, let it settle into my bones and ignore it. If I didn’t pretend not to be scared, I would hide under my owl-down coverlets in Madoc’s estate forever. I would lie there and scream until there was nothing left of me. I refuse to do that. I will not do that.

“Nicasia’s wrong about me. I don’t desire to do as well in the tournament as one of the fey. I want to win. I do not yearn to be their equal.

“In my heart, I yearn to best them.”

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