The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1), by Holly Black
Publish Date: January 2, 2018
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 out of 5 stars)
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.
Having previously read and thoroughly enjoyed The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, when I read the description for this I knew I had to read it. Of course, once I actually bought it, it ended up on my TBR pile for far too long. But finally I took it down and started reading it…and was a little unenthused for a large chunk of it to be quite honest.
The prologue of the story definitely drew me in, but the first part of the book was kind of a drag. I understood that there was a lot of world-building and plot set-up in it – with a little far too many obvious plot devices – but it just felt like that for much of it nothing was really happening. Jude was spying (not that greatly), Folk were deceiving, and the mean popular kids were picking on her. Actually that part really turned me off because I knew that Cardan is the supposed love interest but I could not for the life of me get behind her falling for such a cruel bully.
It wasn’t until the coronation happened that finally things started moving. And part of me felt annoyed that it took till then for anything really interesting to happen? There was very little plot twists before that so I was easily expecting something to happen then, and the fact that it did was actually almost disappointing? I guess that because most of the plot was a little predictable I was kind of bored with it.
The second half was definitely much better, and I loved the twist at the ending that I caught onto just at the last moment and I loved Jude for what she did. “Whoever controls the king controls the kingdom.” Queen, indeed. In fact, I think that Jude was definitely the best part of this book for me because she is so conniving and ruthless in her schemes to get what she wants. I love that she is unapologetic about wanting power, because it makes sense with her character and given circumstances – she has been at the mercy of these fairies, especially the one who murdered who parents, since she was seven, so of course she will do whatever necessary to protect herself. And there was just something so satisfying about seeing her take that power for herself in whatever way she sought possible.
Overall, I was satisfied with the story as a whole. The beginning was just a little slow for me and didn’t have much movement in terms of plot to make me completely in love with tihs book. But I liked Jude, and the other characters were all extremely complicated that, while I didn’t necessarily like them as persons, I could appreciate them as characters, with all their complicated relationships and desires as well.