The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
“If you live your life always afraid, always with danger on your heels, it is not so difficult to pretend away more danger.”
Jude was just a child when her parents were murdered and the murder, a general from Faerie took her and her sisters back with him. After ten years of living in Faerie she has almost forgotten how to even be human and is her “father’s” daughter. Yet, she is mortal, and her one ambition is to be accepted into the court of the fae, to prove to them that she is more than just worm food, especially her arch nemesis, Prince Cardan. In her attempt to gain her favor she gets swept up in espionage, palace politics, and violence she had never known herself capable of.
This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018 and boy did it follow through! As my first Holly Black book I am completely blown away. Here’s my money, take me to Holly Black land because I am seriously a fan. This is basically how this book made me feel:
I wouldn’t say I am destroyed, but oh man my heart was going to explode by the end. I started this book reading it aloud to a coworker who ended up buying the book on the way home so she could finish it her own. What I am saying is that the beginning of this book really sucks you in. I mean it pretty much turns Saturday morning cartoons into a murder scene. It takes our fantasy of going to a fae land, but only at the price of a massacre.
The only issue I had should have been evident by the title. Bullying seriously puts a sour taste in my mouth, and Prince Cardan is such a prick. However, the animosity between Cardan and Jude was palpable and set the tone for the book so well.
What I really loved about this book was that it didn’t have this generalized theme that good people finish on top. Jude is pushed to the point where her morality is tested and she proves to be just as vicious, plotting, and hungry as the fae.
“That’s what comes of hungering for something: You forget to check if it’s rotten before you gobble it down.”
The World Building
Somehow Holly Black took the ideas of a classic fae realm and made it feel fresh. There was this superiority vibe that expanded far from Prince Cardan’s hatred from having humans as slaves through Faerie. I loved that even though they were fairly safe being the general’s daughters, Jude and her twin still took extra precaution, which gave the fae this vibe of dangerous beauty.
There is so much that I want to say that has me jumping my seat, clapping my hands, and wishing I could excitedly yell to you all the things and actions I loved about the characters. Unfortunately, if I did it would give away too many spoilers, and I’m not about that game. So as vaguely as possible I will do my best to give the two main characters at least a sliver of justice.
Jude- This tough cookie. I swear, I want her in my corner. I mean the things she does to prove her loyalty and the sacrifices she is willing to make is astounding. What I loved most about Jude is that here she was a super bad ass, and her parents didn’t exactly fown upon her actions. Sure she probably could have gotten a little hurt, but here, lets give her more fighting and strategy lessons. It was a relief not to have a pretty princess type girl sneaking off to be a bad ass.
“I do not yearn to be their equal. In my heart, I yearn to best them.”
Prince Cardan– Oh my gosh. What a little butt munch. As much as bullying makes me sick, I want to retaliate on him and give him a billion paper cuts and then pick him up and cradle him. Can I just say how ridiculous it is that in the beginning it is just so easy to loathe this guy, I mean, even at the end he is still a little shit, but at the same time you want to cradle him and protect him from the injustice he has also had to suffer. I know it doesn’t really make sense. Throughout the story though, you can bet that his personality doesn’t exactly change, but you understand his motives. These motives don’t redeem him in any way, but my heart severely broke for him. Basically, I feel for Cardan like I do for cats – beautiful creature that can seriously hurt you even though you just want to snuggle it.
Metric – Help I’m Alive