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REVIEW: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black Changed How I See Fantasy

Hello Fellow Readerholics,

I have promised you reviews of ‘The Folk Of The Air’ series and I take my promises very seriously. I will be reviewing the first book in the series, The Cruel Prince, today but I am hoping to get all the other reviews out as soon as I can so keep your eyes peeled! Unless you have been living under a rock (in that case, my apologies) The Cruel Prince won the Silver Inky award this year, which means a lot of you really enjoyed it. Here’s what I thought:

AS ALWAYS, THIS REVIEW WILL BE SPOILER FREE

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SYNOPSIS:

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 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.

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REVIEW:

If any of you were to leave this post (please don’t) and check out my ‘favourites page’ you would notice that none of the books there are classified as fantasy. That’s because I usually have difficulty getting into the genre and I often find the alternate worlds so incomprehensible that I just give up (it’s bad, I know). I would much rather read a cute contemporary than a book about mythical creatures. Although, this year I have challenged myself to broaden my horizons and read books outside of my comfort zone. I figured ‘The Cruel Prince’ would be a good place to start because it won the Silver Inky award so it must be good. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.

I’ll begin by talking about the characters because they are so very important to a good book. I absolutely adored Jude. I found her to be so powerful and courageous and brave even in instances in which she was scared. She radiates such an intense energy and if I’m completely honest, she does scare me a little bit but in a good way. Normally I’m not all that fond of bitter characters but in Jude it just worked. It made so much sense that she was bitter about being one of the only humans in a world in which the creature are far more powerful and dangerous than she is. I feel like sometimes you just have to root for the morally questionable jerk and for me, that was Cardan. Cardan is elitist and really mean and simultaneously he is a traumatised victim of neglect and physical and emotional abuse. He was cruel by necessity. I am in no way condoning some the terrible things he did but somehow I have a huge soft spot for him.

The other characters were all pretty great too. Vivi was absolutely awesome, she is definitely the cool big sister I never had. Madoc is so dynamic and well written and I can appreciate his character while understanding that he is not a good person, I also feel like he would be rather disappointed in my life decisions, so there’s that. Taryn and Locke were summoned from the depths of hell and I hate them with such a passion that if by any circumstances I am teleported into this book, I will have no qualms about fist fighting them. I am typically a non violent person, I swear. I understand that even if I didn’t love (hate, I’m talking about hate) some of the characters, I can appreciate their contribution to the plot.

The plot is extremely compelling and I found it to be ‘unputdownable’. There is the presence of some more typical tropes but Holly Black has moulded the characters, plot and settings to make the story something new and exciting as opposed to something that feels like a repeat.

‘The Cruel Prince’ has given me a new appreciation for the fantasy genre and has made me more open to further exploring other worlds of fantasy. I have actually started to read ‘A Curse So Dark And Lonely’ by Brigid Kemmerer, another YA fantasy, because it is now a genre I can appreciate.

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Overall, this was an epic fantasy with just the right amount of wickedness. I loved it. I am going to rate it a solid 4.5/5 because it was just that fantastic.

Xoxo,

Your Favourite Bookworm

 

5 comments

sekhmet

I finished the audiobook of this on Saturday (I think) and am on the second one now (very much liking it). I am surprised, though not really - this is fantasy after all - to find out how the names are spelled (spelt????)

16th Dec, 19
imosshelf

I totally get that! Someone must’ve mentioned the book to me before I read it because it wasn’t until I read the book that I assumed Cardan was Carden?? Fantasy is weird :)

16th Dec, 19
zitongbooks

In reply to imosshelf

Wait until you see the names in some adult fantasies, they only get weirder :)

17th Dec, 19
imosshelf

In reply to zitongbooks

Why must they do this to us?? I can never talk about characters to anyone because I know for a fact I’m not saying their names right!

17th Dec, 19
zitongbooks

In reply to imosshelf

I know right!

17th Dec, 19