5 STAR REVIEW: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

THE CRUEL PRINCE (The Fold of The Air #1)
By Holly Black
Publisher: HotKey Books
Publication Date: 2nd January 2018
Format: Hardback (370 pages)

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. (Goodreads)

This book had been on my radar for ages, so when I saw that it was half price in my local bookshop, I just had to pick it up. With my participation in the Bookopoly Challenge, it jumped quickly up the TBR pile.

I had expected that this book would follow the generic Young Adult Fae tropes with the young woman on the cusp of adulthood being thrust into a situation that defies her age. This was very quickly dismissed after reading the first chapter as the book was set up.

The book is centred around Jude and her life with the Fae. She is very much a fish out of water for she is one of the few mortals that live there, but her life is anything but a fairy tale, despite living under the protection of one the most well-respected Fae Generals to the Royal court.

Most of the first third of the book is centred around Jude and the rivalry between her and Prince Cardan and his friends. They seem to enjoy making Jude and her sisters life a living hell. Things take a turn when Jude becomes entagled in some political intrigue surrounding the impending coronation of Carden’s older brother. It was at this point that I found that I it difficult to put down. The Crown Prince quickly morphed into a story that easily rivals Game of Thrones. Three words sum up this sentiment; THE. CRIMSON. CORONATION. (Ok, this may not be an official name for that scene, but this is what I call it and if you read it you will see why).

With each chapter after this event, I was kept on my toes. All expectations and pre-conceptions were thrown out the window and as it hurtled towards the end all bets were off and it left me desperately wanting the next one to be released today.

I had expected there to be some sort of romance or love triangle and though there is some romance and attraction between Jude and a couple of the other characters in the book. In both instances, it didn’t end as I expected to. One has little or no chance of developing and the other I am convinced may develop further.

Jude was a character that I found easy to route for. Her character arc in this book is very interesting and as I said she is the outside in this world. She wants to fit in, but on her terms especially when compared to her twin sister. Her relationship with her family is strained at times and I think this is a lot to do with the fact that she was taken from the mortal world at such a young age that this is all she knows. She can’t understand why her elder sister, who is half Fae, wants to live in the mortal world. Though it seemed that she was closer to her twin, as the book progressed, the bond between Jude and her older sister seemed to grow stronger.

Jude’s main adversary Prince Cardan started off as a character that I didn’t like, yet I had my suspicions that there may be more than meets the eye. There was evidence of this when he seemed to call off the teasing of Jude, by his friends. He didn’t back off completely and the rivalry did continue, but it was done in a way that Cardan didn’t lose face.

When a situation arises that forces Cardan and Jude to work together, there is a slight thawing between them. There is the start of something between them, but the conclusion of the book means that this may be put on hold. For some reason I do hope something grows from this in future books, but considering what as happened so far, this isn’t all but secured.

The Cruel Prince was a surprising and fantastic read. Though I only bought this because it was at such a good price, it has such a complex and dark plot. I couldn’t help but find myself comparing it to Game of Thrones for expecting the unexpected. Since finishing this, I have found out that I have Blacks “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.” As you might have guessed, its moved up my TBR pile because I need more by this author.



The Cruel Prince is currently £7.00 on Amazon & Book Depository….


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