Book Review - The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
The cruel prince by Holly Black is a bloody, luminous, and captivating book, which captured my eye, from the very first page. Jude was seven 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. As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal 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.
Jude Duarte’s parents were murdered in front of her eyes, at the young age of 7. Then she and her twin, Taryn, and their elder sister, Vivienne are kidnapped and brought to Faerie. Their Jude was raised, and brought up; in a world, where there is not lying yet, deceit, in a world with magic and curses, in a world, for no mortal such as herself to ever belong in.
Kidnapped by Madoc, Jude and Taryn grow up on the islands of Elphame, and learn their ways. Vivienne, their older sister, is one of them – a faerie, meaning she doesn’t have to bend down, or try so desperately to belong. But for Jude and Taryn it’s a different story. It’s not that easy, bending down to these beautiful creatures though; constantly belittled by everyone, abused by Madoc and most of all, Cardan. Being the sixth in line to the throne, he is determined to be his cruellest towards the sister, and he particularly has it in for Jude.
Jude hates being mortal, so easily controlled by glamour, or enchanted faerie fruit- vulnerability is her enemy. So much so, that she is determined to be a knight, and be a permanent member of the court, just to have power over her wicked class mates. But when that dream crushed by Madoc’s refusal, and Cardan seems to have it in for her big time, she meets Prince Dain.
Dain is the third oldest among his siblings, and top candidate for the thrown; so, when he offers Jude a geas, stating that no enchantments can be placed on her, in exchange for her loyalty as one of his spies, she gladly agrees. Not knowing the rise to power can never be so easy, neither can it be without secrets, dark secrets which can destroy the crown.
How will Jude prove herself to be better than them? What bitterness lies under the sweetness of power? And just how much is Jude willing to sacrifice in order to grasp it?
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is the first book in The folk of air Series, followed by The wicked King. This book is a YA fantasy, fiction and Romance book. The cruel Prince is recommended for readers ages 13 and over.
Let me start of by saying, this is the first taste or YA fantasy I have read, and I am absolutely in love with the world of faeries, ball gowns, crowns, daggers, betrayal and blood. The Cruel Prince was definitely one of my most anticipated reads of 2020, and I am anything but disappointed with the series.
Let me start of by explaining the wonderous irony of the plot. In Faerie, nobody can lie, exempting any mortals. However, the plot is based around a dark secret; Dain’s untold betrayal towards his father. Which is what forms the basis of the plot line. But everyone want power, and by the end of the book, I think it’s safe to say, that everyone, Betrayed, everyone else. And I was honestly flabbergasted by how Holly Black could have made everyone, say the truth, yet make all the characters equally as deceitful. It is certainly a jem of book, from the way it is written.
The book itself was written to be a complicated puzzle, piecing together the scraps of truth, and discarding the lies to form, what is essentially the background story. I honestly cannot name anything that would make this book better than it already was. Yet I stand corrected as The Cruel Prince transforms into the best enemies to lovers’ book, I have read yet.
“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”
-Jude Duarte, The Cruel Prince
Upon first reading the relationship between the two main protagonists I found it difficult to believe they would so much as to look at each other without exchanging lines of insulting sarcasm. So, when I found out this was an enemy to lovers’ book, I thought their relationship was going to be rushed and not worth the read. Yet again I am astounded on the way Holly Black took Cardan and Jude slowly and steadily, and not rushing the process like many other books I have read. This being said, I love Jude and Cardan, and am the ultimate Jurdan shipper.
“Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.”
-Carden Greenbriar, The cruel Prince
Carden has definitely earned the title of being my favourite character, with his sarcasm, and the pitying way he deals with his feelings for Jude. Although Carden is a classic YA male protagonist with black hair, and lots of sarcasm to cover up a tragic backstory, what puts him aside is the fact that he is just a messed-up teenager who has no idea how to fight, or deal with the “strange feeling” he has toward a girl in his class who clearly hates him. But one of my favourite Cardan scenes has to be when he admits to having a big crush on Jude, his enemy, and then immediately telling Jude to shoot him with a crossbow, out of embarrassment.
Holly Black’s characters are anything but perfect, as they each have a significant flaw which is affected by their past. Many authors have fallen into the trap of giving their character difficult backstories, that have no effect on their personality. Or have an irrelevant flaw, which doesn’t fit in with the story. Each character in the cruel prince, fits in with the story perfectly, which is yet another reason why I highly recommend anybody to get their hands on this book as soon as possible.
Lastly, I would like to mention the poem at the start of part 1 and 2 of the book. Although it is a small detail, I really liked reading them, because they are very well chosen and corelate with the book perfectly!
In conclusion, I have thoroughly loved exploring the highs and lows of all the characters as well as the constant tension hanging between Jude and Cardan. The cruel prince by Holly Black is a bloody, luminous, and captivating book, which captured my eye, from the very first page. I rate The Cruel Prince by Holly Black five out of five.
About the author
Holly Black is a bestselling author for children, and teen fantasy novels, and was born in New Jersey, USA. She has written over thirty novels for both teens and kids, as well having her books, translated into over 32 different languages around the world. She has won the Mythopoeic Award, a Nebula, and a Newbery Honor. She is a New York Times bestselling author. Her first novel, Tithe, was released in 2002 and is the first book in The Modern Faerie tales’ series. Holly Black is the author of the Folk of Air series, which includes; The Cruel Prince, The wicked King and The Queen of Nothing. She is currently living in England, along with her husband, son, and a secret library!