My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book stole the breath straight from my lungs. It is rare that I fall so hard for a book that I feel somewhat lost after it is over.
This is one of those stories.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black follows the story of our MC, Jude, who is taken to live in Faerie with her twin sister, Taryn, and older sister, Vivi, after some…um…family drama. She is mortal, while her….family…is not. While she is raised in Faerie, she is constantly reminded of her mortal status. She is belittled by classmates and bullied. At first, I thought this story would be just any old ‘bullying’ story, showing an MC overcoming their fears to stand up and fight for their dignity.
Boy, was I wrong.
Jude is CRAZY. I LOVE HER. She is so complex (as are all of the characters), that Black manages to knock the old tropes out of the park and completely re-invent character development. There are no “good guys” vs “bad guys” here. Everyone is a little bit grey…and that is what makes them all so interesting. You fall far into Jude’s head, her motivations, and her desires. You feel her heartbeat. My hat, truly, is tipped to Black for her amazing character development.
“Before, I never knew how far I would go. Now I believe I have the answer. I will go as far as there is to go. I will go way too far.” -Jude
The world building is also excellent. I was hoping for a little more geographical expansion as there are places only described to make the world feel bigger, however, most of the action actually takes place in 3-4 settings. I am hoping by Book 2 the world maybe opens up a little more.
The plot is deep, twisty, and dark. Some twists I expected and others were a complete surprise. The politics and drama of the fae world do not seem like ones I would want to get involved with!
Fans of fae fantasy stories, strong female leads, anti-hero tropes, drama/politics, and spies will love this one!
This book is appropriate for younger readers as you will not find explicit sexuality or inappropriate themes. Triggers include violence and bullying.