- Series: The Folk of the Air (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Exclusive signed copy edition (January 2, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780316310277
- ISBN-13: 978-0316310277
- ASIN: 0316310271
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 617 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) Hardcover – January 2, 2018
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Human Jude has been raised along with her twin, Taryn, and half-sibling, Vivi, in Faerieland by Madoc, the faerie who murdered her parents. This intricate realm is filled with beautiful, blood-thirsty, playful, and powerful faeries who seem to have no patience or use for humans beyond enslaving them with magic. Despite this, Jude is determined to earn respect and a place in it all by becoming a knight. First in a planned trilogy, this YA fantasy features a political scramble reminiscent of Game of Thrones, with spies, manipulation, romance, swordplay, betrayal, and an intoxicating darkness that manages to enrapture Jude and readers. Black has created a brutal and captivating world, filled with complex characters and their intricate and layered relationships. Jude is a mighty heroine; strong, smart, cunning, and yet completely vulnerable. Teens meet her as she's no longer interested in restraining her emotions and actions and is willing to give up anything in order to work for what she wants, which makes for a powerful and dangerous damsel getting herself out of distress. VERDICT Another fantastic, deeply engaging, and all-consuming work from Black that belongs on all YA shelves.—Emily Moore, Camden County Library System, NJ
"Black is a master at world-building, conveying integral details without that information ever seeming tedious or encyclopedic, whether you're well versed in faerie or a newcomer to the genre....the experience of reading a novel like this is something like being surrounded by magic."―The New York Times Book Review
"I require book two immediately. Holly is the Faerie Queen."―Victoria Aveyard, #1 bestselling author of The Red Queen series
* "[S]pellbinding....Breathtaking set pieces, fully developed supporting characters, and a beguiling, tough-as-nails heroine enhance an intricate, intelligent plot that crescendos to a jaw-dropping third-act twist."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Another fantastic, deeply engaging, and all-consuming work from Black that belongs on all YA shelves."―School Library Journal, starred review
* "Jude, who struggles with a world she both loves and hates and would rather be powerful and safe than good, is a compelling narrator. Whatever a reader is looking for--heart-in-throat action, deadly romance, double-crossing, moral complexity--this is one heck of a ride."―Booklist, starred review
"This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life. Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in."―Kirkus Reviews
* "Black, quite rightly, is the acknowledged queen of faerie lit, and her latest shows her to be at the top of her game, unveiling twists and secrets and bringing her characters vividly to life."―VOYA, starred review
"With complicated characters, a suspenseful plot, and a successful return to the Faerie setting of many of her popular books, Black's latest is sure to enchant fans."―The Horn Book
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Now, it's been a while since I downloaded the sample but my thoughts did go back to this book from time to time. Something about it DID intrigue me.
Now this brings me to point #2. The first half of the book isn't the greatest. You will probably dislike all of the characters which is a major frustration. You can definitely get into the feel of the world and stay there, a testament to the author's ability to good writing but the 3 sisters, Jude, Taryn, and Vivi feel like they have no personalities at all. The author tries to convince us in a particular chapter that Jude has been through a lot and gives you a glimpse into the twisted way of faeries. This is supposed to reinforce our thoughts that Jude is only a lowly pawn with a predestined life filled with misery and misfortune. This is why she is dull and non-responsive to her own feelings and thoughts.That wasn't completely supportive enough to justify how bland Jude was. Her inner monologues were thoroughly lacking in regards to bringing the story to life.
Once you hit the second part of the novel, that's when things begin to pick up the pace and the book becomes a true page turner. It's as if someone else penned the second half of the novel. Someone who breathes in life and vigor to the plot. Jude becomes sharper, smarter, wittier. I have some issues with that as she was not exactly like that during the first half of the novel. And how she concocts a masterful plan and predicts the outcomes is a little above what I thought she was capable of within such a limited time of playing the Fae game.
Certain elements and plots come to light. It makes you abhor certain characters even more and makes you want to find out what some characters are ultimately up to. And some even manage to redeem themselves, although not entirely just yet. There is a lot of potential here for the next novel and I am really looking forward to seeing what Cardan will do to Jude after what goes down at the end of the novel. I also want to know what Locke's endgame is. True to what he says earlier, he is indeed a trickster; a very dirty one at that. Will Jude also be punished for her crime of murder? How will that (literally) be uncovered?
I primarily read adult novels and I do appreciate a good dollop of romance. If this was an adult novel, I would be expecting quite a few feisty and interesting scenes between Cardan and his new 'master', Jude. *Sigh*. One can only wish.
If you are on the fence about this novel but do enjoy YA novels with plot twists, conspiracy, and revenge then I would recommend this book to you. Just do yourself a favor and give yourself time to get to the turning point in the novel. I promise, it gets much more intriguing.
When Jude was seven, she witnessed—along with her sisters—her parents murdered by a faery. Turns out, Jude’s mother was once married to a faery named Madoc and ran away one day with who would be Jude’s father. Her sister, Vivi, is actually Madoc’s daughter, while Jude and her twin, Taryn, have another. Madoc takes the girls back to faerie with him and from then on, Jude’s life would be changed forever.
Jude has always struggled with being in faerie. She wants so much more for herself than what is expected from a human living there, which is either servitude or being married off to a faerie that fancies humans. Her sister, Vivi longs to go back home in the mortal world while her twin, Taryn wants to find love and happiness within faerie. Jude knows what she wants for herself though and that is to earn knighthood with the realm that she lives in. Though knighthood for a human is laughable among her peers.
Jude senses her dreams coming true when Dain, the soon-to-be king comes to her and asks her to basically be a spy for him. When he receives the crown, she will be granted knighthood just like she always wanted. Though Jude does have a few enemies, namely the peers that like to torment her. Let’s just say that faeries are not ordinary bullies. Especially ones who do not like humans.
There was quite a bit of politics and history at play here, I’ll admit sometimes there was an overflow of names, it was a tad more confusing since some of the names being thrown around were from characters that have previously died. So when they are first mentioned and then pop up some hundred pages later, it was hard to find the connection to the moment in time. Stepping back I can just understand the events in the past enough to apply them to the present, but yeah, there were a few befuddling moments for me throughout, but nothing that ever kept me from reading on!
This story really enraptured me! I loved Holly’s Tithe that I read some years ago (for the first time) and it pretty much cemented my intrigue with the fae. It’s hard to differentiate what we know from faeries from Disney versus almost anything else! For the most part in the sense of literature, we know that faeries can be devious. The faeries here are no different. Most have no love for humans and having two in their realm doesn’t make most of them happy at all. Such as Cardan, Jude’s most vicious bully, and one of the faeries who could be king as well. Then there’s Locke who doesn’t seem as bad as the rest, but for me that sent its own set of red flares up! Needless to say, never trust the fae!
Holly does throw in just the tiniest bit of romance in this one, but it’s almost immediately challenged by the end! It definitely makes one wonder what will be in store next for Jude and…someone! I feel like by book two I can better explain my feels over this romantic element. It’s hard to describe without getting into details and possible spoilers, but yeah, it’s complicated.
The ending was quite astonishing as well, though I sort of anticipated something like this happening, but I guess my thoughts went astray and I missed what was meant to happen but didn’t. If I haven’t confused you yet there, then yay! Basically plans were made and changed and then changed again and I somehow missed the first change. There were several sets of plans going before one was decided upon! Lol!! Things are left at a very tense moment. Nothing cliffhanger-y per se, but ultimately tense indeed!! I cannot wait for the next installment! Holly Black weaves a tale of magic, adventure, and intrigue that will leave you spellbound!
Overall Rating 5/5 stars
Once I got to the 150ish page mark, I could not put this book down. I was engrossed with the storyline’s darkness, the espionage, the secrets, the twists, and OHMYGOD that ending!
The Cruel Prince is a gorgeous and gritty read. It’s simply a stunner from the beautiful cover to the unique characters and all the unexpected plot twists. This book has everything from mouth-dropping scenes, several punch in the gut romances, and the most unforeseen betrayal that had me gasping for more pages.
I am floored that this book did a 180 on me and I cannot wait for book two. If there is one book that I highly recommend that you TREAT YO SHELF to this year, please for the love of all fairies pick up The Cruel Prince. You will not regret it.