The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black
on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Hard Cover
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By #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, the first book in a stunning new series about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue. This Barnes & Noble exclusive edition features a special jacket and bonus story starring fan-favorites Kaye and Roiben of the bestselling Tithe series, allowing readers to witness the pivotal coronation scene from an alternate point of view.
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 Black was the writer who got me hooked on dark faerie stories (Sorry, Brothers Grimm!). So when I heard she was releasing a new Young Adult book, The Cruel Prince, I ran out to pick it up on the day of its release. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed. Just like her Modern Faerie Tale Series, Black presents a faerie world that’s both dark and vibrant. In it are creatures that you can barely imagine and humans that struggle to maintain a place beside them. There’s tragedy, loss, and pain. But there’s also hope and that’s what drives this story forwards.
At the beginning of the story, we’re introduced to 7 year-old Jude, a human, and her family as tragedy is suddenly thrust upon them. Whisked away to the faerie world, she and her sisters must learn to live in a world that most never know exists. She is held prisoner, but raised as a faerie. Fast forward 10 years and we meet a different Jude. She’s torn between her mortality and the desire to belong in the world that she’s known the longest. She believes earning her knighthood will guarantee that, but the faeries, especially cruel Prince Cardan and his entourage, are determined to make her acknowledge her human weaknesses. Still, Jude rises against their taunts and tortures. When her “father” refuses to let her try for knighthood, Jude’s life is sent into a dizzying downward spiral.
When all seems lost, the king’s announcement that he plans on pursuing the faerie afterlife and will appoint a new ruler produces an interesting opportunity for her. Jude discovers that her human weaknesses aren’t the faults that the faeries want her to believe. The story takes new twists and turns as she’s led into the secret world of the royal faerie court. There are surprising events mixed that will make you say, “Wha-??” and there are others that are hinted at along the way, but you still really want to see happen.
There is a love interest in the book, but it’s definitely not central to the story. This is more a story about family and what Jude does to protect them. However, due to implied sexual acts and some violence, I would say this book is intended for older teenagers. As an adult, I had no issues with it. The language wasn’t overly crude, but if you don’t like swearing at all, then I suggest passing on it.
Overall, I thought this book had a nice balance of scandal, intrigue, tragedy, and twists. I definitely recommend it for anyone who likes faeries, paranormal, or fantasy books.