THE CRUEL PRINCE
by Holly Black
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: 2nd January 2018
Received From: Hot Key Books
Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
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.
Holly Back's Tithe and Ironside are the books that started my love of YA Frey. They are full of danger, magic and lust that completely absorb you into the pages and when I heard Black was making a return trip to the land of Faerie I was beyond excited! The Cruel Prince is fast paced, magical, dangerous and all consuming. The characters are, in my opinion, some of the best she has ever created and the way humanity and power interlink throughout the story made this book unputdownable.
The Cruel Prince is the first of a new series and it tells the story of an orphaned human girl, Jude, who finds herself right at the centre of the High Court of Faerie. Jude and her two sisters all adapted differently when their parents were brutally murdered by their now step-father and as the story unfolds it’s these differences that leads to Jude’s unlikely story. For you see, Jude has always wanted to be like the Frey. For Jude it was their strength and skill she admired and even though being human is seen as a weakness she was determined to prove she could be one of them. However, with a coronation around the corner, battles for power in play and a prince that can’t stand the sight of her, Jude has more to prove than ever before.
Jude, for me, was the perfect protagonist! There was something about her that made you want to route for her even when you could see she was making all the wrong choices. She is one of those characters that has a bit of a chip on her shoulder (and rightly so) and finds herself needing to prove her worth to everyone around her. Her two sisters adapted differently to the world on the other side of the hill but it is Jude's need for acceptance from this world that makes her relatable. She is the quintessential outsider, the girl that will never fit in, never given a chance to be more than her preconceptions and that in itself makes her fight even harder. You can't help but adore her and for me that's what makes a YA protagonist special.
The story itself was full of adventure and interlinking parts that keeps you on your toes from the very first to the very last page. Black never shies away from the brutal side of frey folklore and The Cruel Prince is no different. There were moments that made me wish she wasn’t so damn good as describing things but it is this grittiness mixed with the wonder of the Faerie world that entices the reader. This is one of those books were setting, storytelling, characters and that literary magic all come together to create something rather special.
Overall I adored this book. If I'm honest I was a little worried I had set my expectations too high but Black smashed it and I didn't want this story to end. It is full of peril, trickery, plotting, love and magic. It’s a tale of family value, royal hierarchy and a young girls need to be accepted. The Cruel Prince is Holly Black at her best and I'm dying to see what she has in store for us next.
I received this book as an ARC from Hot Key Books to read & review. This is a 100% honest review.