The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk of the Air, #1)
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: YA Fantasy
Number of Pages: 370
Synopsis on the Cover:
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.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black comes the first book in a stunning new trilogy filled with twists and enchantment, as one girl learns the meaning of true power when she finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue.
Stars from Goodreads– 4.15
My Overall Recommendation– Definitely one to read for younger fans of YA fantasy, it kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting for another, darker twist
Other books by the same author: The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Modern Faerie Tale Trilogy, The Curse Workers Series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, The Magisterium Series
What is it about?
A human girl with Stockholm Syndrome in a magical world, what could go wrong? As it turns out, a lot of things. Jude is navigating a magical world, and court machinations, while confronting her own mortality, but will it all be too much in the end?
The Good, The Bad, and the Magical
Good– I’ve loved Holly Black ever since I read The Spiderwick Chronicles as a kid (if you haven’t read them, you SHOULD- they’re targeted more towards younger readers, but still worthy of adult attention). Her ability to create her own realm, taking from fairy tales and folk tales (look into Scottish folklore for “Changeling” stories), is exquisite. I appreciate her different take on fairies (faeries/fey/etc.), where they aren’t your standard Tinkerbell, and instead have a darker, borderline EVIL persona. Throw in a cast of characters with questionable morals and I’m hooked. Who will do what? Is everyone who they claim to be? Etc.
Bad– The syntax is definitely for younger readers. While I love books that can span a wider audience (part of my obsession/focus on YA Fantasy), I do think there’s a line that can be crossed that borders both “too young” and “too adult” to quite fit into the genre. This novel errs on the side of too young for me.
Good– Black is great at playing up the mystery of things. I genuinely did not predict some of the twists that the plot ultimately took, and it felt like each page was a new piece of the puzzle. She can keep you guessing without boring you or making it too complicated to follow, which is a talent.
Good– The characters. I mean, talk about a dark history and darker present. Every character has some “fatal flaw”, or tragic story, or dark intrigue. You simultaneously hate them and love them, want them to die but also want to see what their next move will be. Nothing is as it seems with the characters, and yet it’s exactly how they should be (if you want that to make more sense, read the book J).
Just a cute side note: Holly Black dedicated this book to Cassandra Clare, who, for those of you who do not know, is another author of YA Fantasy books (The Mortal Instruments Series is beautiful), and gave her a lovely little shout out in the Acknowledgements section. YES to authors supporting other authors!
If you’re a reader who appreciates YA Fantasy, in all its forms, this book is a must-read. If you like a little, darker, edge to your fantasy, same thing. If you’re not a fan of the “Young” in “Young Adult” Fantasy, this might not be to your tastes. Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down, not just because it was an easy read (although it did make it go faster), but because I truly HAD to know how it would end. And, once I finished it, I immediately picked up the next book in the series. Whether you’re a connoisseur or just a YA Fantasy dabbler, I think this book is worth a read.