December 19, 2017

Playing the Great Game • The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince book cover
I'm never particularly drawn to books about faeries, if I'm being honest. But I do happen to trust my friends! When Kristin from Super Space Chick raved about The Cruel Prince and told me I had to read it, I listened. And as she promised, I devoured it from start to finish. Yes, she was right about just how damn amazing this novel is. Yes, I sat down on my couch without knowing exactly what to expect and being just the slightest bit hesitant on a Saturday afternoon and didn't get up again until I had hit the very last page. Yes, I read a book about faeries and I loved it!

The Cruel Prince centers on Jude, a seventeen-year-old human who desires to belong among the High Court of Faerie where she and her sisters have lived since she was seven. Desperate to find a place among the fey, in spite of the prejudice most have against her race, she ends up becoming deeply involved in the political turmoil, deceptions and bloodshed of their world in ways she could never have imagined. But as the stakes get higher and the world of Faerie looms on the brink of war, Jude will have to figure out a way to save herself, her sisters and the world of Faerie.

Where do I even begin with this novel? The Cruel Prince is pure magic, a masterpiece in writing care of the incredible Holly Black. I was immediately hooked by the premise, reeled in with the first few chapters and unable to stop reading and reading and reading until I hit the end. The story was so well-written, threading together Jude's own personal journey as she attempts to carve out a place for herself, the goings-on in the world of Faerie wonderfully and the fantastical, terrifying, whimsical details that immerse the reader in the setting. I found myself reacting so viscerally to the events of this one, whether it was to smile, to laugh, to tear up, to fear, to yell, to rage, which is also a testament to the way the emotional beats were perfectly strung throughout the tale. It was one hell of a story, and I am so glad that I decided to let myself come along for the ride.

But really, even with a sensational plot and a well-conceived world, I wouldn't be able to tell you I loved this one if it weren't for the fact that I also liked the characters. Black somehow manages to craft these Fae characters who are layers of contradictions, capable of great magic and strong emotions - and I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed them. Of all the characters, however, Jude is probably the one that shines the brightest in my mind. She's strong, she's smart, she's stubborn; she's determined to make a name for herself, no matter what it entails from her. I admired her tenacity in going after what she wants, her heart for those she cares about and her ability to work with whatever she's got in her hands. I thought she was a great character to read about, and cannot wait to see what comes next for her (and a few others as well).

To sum it all up for you, I loved The Cruel Prince. I highly suggest checking this one out, whether you're a long-time Holly Black fan eagerly anticipating her latest release or a newbie to her work who finds this premise as intriguing as I did. I know that I will be talking this one up to just about every single person I know, and eagerly anticipating the sequel (2019, why are you so far away? *sobs*).

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black | Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thanks!)


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