Published January 2, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
“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 years old 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.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war 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.”
Have you ever put off giving a review on a book that you loved because you knew no matter what wonderful things you said about it, it just wouldn’t be able to do it justice? This is me with this book.
Holly Black… She gets me. She knows my secret desires, my dreams, my fears and doubts. She knows exactly what I love and what I hate and she gives me all of it at once, shoving it in and clamping a hand over my mouth so I have to swallow it down. Sometimes its bitter but its also everything that I need. This is how The Cruel Prince made me feel.
It began with a double homicide and a kidnapping… Yes, please. (What’s wrong with me?!) Jude, our narrator, her twin sister, Taryn and their older half-fey sister, Vivianne are whisked away to Faerie with Vivianne’s biological father, Madoc after he kills their mother and Jude and Taryn’s father. He did seem to regret this almost immediately but what else can be expected from a Redcap, a creature born of violence and made to thrive on it? Fast forward ten years and the twins are now seventeen and must choose what roles they will play in Faerie. Will they be one of the Fey’s brides or will they try to carve out their own place?
Jude is just a human girl living in a Faerie world. (Did you read that in time with the “Barbie Girl” beat by Aqua? I did.) She is such a complex, strong, brave and flawed heroine. It was impossible not to relate to her. She has always felt less than, since she came to Faerie. All of the Fey are beautiful and strong immortals and she is considered to be a gnat at their picnic. A weakling with a miniscule lifespan that shouldn’t even bear notice. Having Madoc, Prince Dain’s general, claim her as his child allowed her privileges that no other human in Faerie had. She was allowed to attend lessons and she was trained in sword fighting. She had a roof over her head, a comfy bed and food on her table. Even if she had to dose that food with salt to counter the magical effect it would have on non-fey. However, even with all of this privilege from her surrogate father, in Faerie she didn’t measure up. This feeling was amplified by Prince Carden, the youngest and cruelest prince of the High King, and his entourage of spoiled Fey teenagers. They bullied her mercilessly and worse for what she was. I’m sure we all have felt somewhat like this in our life. Someone was always prettier, smarter, stronger or wealthier. It is so relatable but a hopeless and draining feeling and Jude had had about enough.
Jude was determined she was going to be someone in Faerie. She would be her own Hero and she dreamt of competing for Knighthood in service of one of the princes or princesses. However, a certain prince discovered a valuable skill Jude possessed that almost no Fey or anyone else of importance had… She could lie. This opened up a whole new world for Jude. A place in the Court of Shadows. A world of deception and lies. A world of bloodshed and heartache. Could she do what she needed to, to save Faerie and her family? Could she be ruthless in her quest to save this alien place, she now called home? Who would get hurt and would she recognize herself after it was over?
Black enthralls with her whimsical landscape and her complex characters. Not one of them is one dimensional. In the beginning, the intense hate you feel for a character will have completely morphed into like or love by the end, and vice versa. You can’t tell the worth or makeup of a person/fey you do not know and first, second, and third impressions may not be worth their salt. The motives and desires of characters are kept a mystery until the perfect moment. She keeps you guessing until the very end! I’m in awe of this!
To summarize, “All Hail the Queen of fantasy and the fey!” I read this novel in one sitting. Once I cracked the first page, I was completely sucked in! For fans of dark fairytales and the complex will of the human spirit, read this book. You will not regret it.
While I wait a year for the next installment of the series, I will be returning to Faerie beginning with the first book of the Modern Tales of Faerie series, “Tithe”. It you haven’t read these three, starring Kaye and Roiben, then you NEED to. Click on the pictures below to find them on Goodreads.