Monday, 20 January 2020

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk of the Air #1)



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 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.



ebook




First person, single pov.


Nope, book one in a trilogy.


Yes. No. Kind of.
It's not a cliffhanger, per se, more like a shocking ending that leaves you desperate for the next book but you could technically stop here... If you're a crazy person.


No.


Yes.
Poison and stabbings and all whole manner of other not nice things.


I wanted to read this book for so long but was also terrified of reading this book because of HYPE. All the hype! So much hype… Hype overload. Hype poisoning! But it came to a point, with the release of the final book in the trilogy, that I had to bite the bullet and read it or consign it to the pile of Never To Be Read.
I didn’t want to put it in that pile so it was time to read.

And….. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I loved it but… Oh yes. I liked it very very much.
It was delightfully twisted. Wrong… And not always in the right ways.
Reading it was an experience.

I’ve seen a lot of people say that they didn’t like Jude but I did. She’s a human living in a world of non-humans. She’s treated by the fae as lesser… Like she is nothing. Lowlier than the dirt beneath the gentry’s feet. I completely understood her desire to raise herself up. To be more. To not let them see her fear, even when she was terrified. To prove that she was equal - if not better than - them. I got it. I understood. And I’m honestly mystified as to how people could criticize her for it. The fae are not human but Jude - despite her fae-tainted morality - was very much so.

What I couldn’t understand for the majority of this book was why people liked Cardan so much! He starts off as a right prick. An epic asshat of the highest tier of asshattery! I disliked him so freaking much! But then… As it goes on… He changes. Or, you, the reader, change. Your perspective on him and his actions changes until you’re like, “OMG! Huh!” And then you kinda like him, even if you don’t love him. When I finished the book, I immediately went back and re-read some of the worst Cardan being a dick scenes and I could see it! I could see what I’d missed! It was right there for me to see… If only I looked properly!

Holly Black’s writing shot up in my estimation with that trick. She created a richly detailed world with vibrant characters, yes, but it was her skill with the smoke and mirrors that won me over completely.

And I’m so glad that I waited to read it and didn’t have to endure a years wait after that freaking ending!  I actually didn’t see it coming. I should have. I owned the second book, I knew the title and had read the blurb and had even read reviews! I knew who became king but… Nope! I actually spent a nice period of time while reading pondering who exactly the Wicked King would be (and then reminding myself) and then bam! Death and madness and then another bam! Twisty twisty goodness and then a king! And I felt stunned by it all despite knowing the outcome! I guess I just didn’t know the journey to the destination and that’s what shocked, surprised and delighted me.

It was all a lot of fun.

I found the entire book gripping and easy to immerse myself in. I never had any trouble with all the scheming and I didn’t find the lack of romance - the fox freak flirtation doesn’t count - a detraction. The possibilities of what could happen in each chapter were endless, the push/pull connection between Cardan and Jude was riveting and the possibilities for the rest of the trilogy are the same.
I finished the book genuinely excited for what comes next and thanks to my procrastination skills, I have the rest of the series waiting for me to dive into! Hurrah!

So, yeah. Needless to say, I recommend this book, lol.


Love it! It's eye-catching but simple.
It's prickly and matches the story quite well as it is not a tale of sunshine and rainbows.


“What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.”

💬

“Because you’re like a story that hasn’t happened yet. Because I want to see what you will do. I want to be part of the unfolding of the tale.”

💬

“Have I told you how hideous you look tonight?” Cardan asks, leaning back in the elaborately carved chair, the warmth of his words turning the question into something like a compliment.
“No” I say, glad to be annoyed back into the present. “Tell me.”
"I can't.”

20 comments:

  1. I’ve also been avoiding this one because of the hype. I’m glad you liked it! I’ll get to it someday.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. Glad you liked it! Personally, I think the plot is the weakest part, because the characters themselves are allowed to be all kinds of flawed, all kinds of manipulative and egotistical and etc etc and as such there is such potential for twisty convoluted politics and Holly Black doesn't go as far as I'd like her to.
    I was like, 'give me 50 more pages of plotting and arguments, pls'.
    But I enjoyed the trilogy a lot! it's refreshing to see an MC who isn't the hero/ine, know what I mean? Jude can be awful and she owns it.

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    1. I don't think I could have handled more pages of twists, plotting and arguments! lol I'd have preferred more romance.

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  3. I have these, I just need to start them already! It really is so hard picking and choosing what to read sometimes. Great review for this!

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    1. I can never decide what to read next. :(

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  4. I get so excited thinking about reading this one for the first time! I am *not* a fantasy reader but something about this one just appealed to me and I really fell for it. I liked how so many of the characters were very morally gray... even the main protagonist Jude. She makes a lot of questionable decisions and doesn't mind playing the game for the end result she wants. I loved all the scheming and manipulation and the undercurrent between Jude and Cardan.

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    1. I love how this series has drawn in many who aren't fantasy readers!

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  5. I've seen such great reviews for this one and believe it or not, there are still so many hold at my library for it that I wouldn't get it for months. It does sound so good though!

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  6. You pretty much touched on everything on loved and didn't like about book 1. I'm really curious how you feel about books 2&3.

    Karen @ For What It's worth

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  7. Same here with the hype. I've been wanting to read it for a while now but just haven't started yet. And I've heard it's twisted too. I'm also really curious about what you said about Cardan- I'm totally going to look for those clues now when I read this, to see if I can sorta predict how he's not all bad lol!

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    1. It's definitely worth reading Greg! Despite the hype! lol

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  8. Your review had me laughing but I agree, I've heard a lot about this one. Glad to her you liked it.

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    1. I'm glad that it was one that lived up to the hype! (it makes a change! they usually dont)

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  9. I read this when it first came out and yep, the hype was HUGE even back then. I didn't love it and almost DNF'd it but plugged ahead and at the end, I did find myself curious about the next book. Which I should pick up soon right? Especially since all three are out now. Great review.

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    1. I think I'd have lost my mind if I read this when it first released. I dont do well with cliffhangers.

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  10. This is an author that I never really took too and I tried reading a few different things by her. It happens though, and I'm glad you're enjoying the series!

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    1. I'd never read anything by her before and I'm not in a hurry to read anything else by her but this series is one I liked.

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