The Cruel Prince was a great start of the The Folk of the Air series. I buddy read this with Toni and we both enjoyed it. We could finish it in a couple of days even though we didn’t have much time. It was addictive, dark, twisted, and fast-paced YA fantasy with complex and interesting plot and characters.
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
Publication Date : January 2nd 2018
Publisher : Hot Key Books
Pages : 370
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 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.
The Cruel Prince was addictive YA fantasy, an interesting beginning of The Folk of the Air series, that revolved around Jude, a human girl’s survival in the Faerieland. The story was about royal politics, political intrigue, trust, betrayal, family drama, deception, magic, desire, and cruelty.
The writing was gripping, vivid, and steady to fast pace, first person narrative from Jude’s perspective. Everything in this book from plot, characters to world was complex and interesting.
It started with Jude, her twin sister – Taryn’s parents were murdered when she was seven and was brought to Faerieland along with her faerie step sister Vivienne where they were raised by their abductor and their parents’ murderer, Madoc. Ten years later, Jude along with her sisters consider Faerieland their home. Jude kept her head low so far but being human, it isn’t enough to survive the world of faeries that despised humans and considered them lowly servant made for their fun and slavery. She needed more to survive the faerie world- power- and that she could only gain by being a knight under the protection of one of the princes and princesses. But on her way to power and control was standing arrogant and egoistic Prince Cardan who made it his mission to make Jude’s life miserable.
It was interesting to see what Jude has planned, how she would stand against Prince Cardan and fulfill her vow to best him and all faerie folks, who would support her or betray her on her climb to power, would she get what she wanted or would lose more than she had.
Characters were complex and interesting. They were all flawed and no one was perfect, even Jude who I liked from the beginning. It was hard to predict anything about any characters until I was much into book but I was right about who was good and who was bad. It was secrets characters were keeping and their actions surprised me most.
Jude was strong female character. She was brave, clever, fierce and strong who would do anything to protect her sisters and her dignity. But she was single minded and vulnerable. she is too desperate, eager for someone to see something good in her, appreciate her and for being valued and I could see why but in her desperation she made mistakes, put her trust in wrong person. What I liked most about her was her conscience. Even with her love-hate relationship with faerie world, she cared about her home and put her own desire aside to save it from being ruined. I enjoyed reading how she realized things are not as she thought or expected, her thought process after that realization and how she acted from that point. She proved to be true daughter of Madoc and at the same time also a daughter of her human parents. I loved her for making right decision and I can’t wait to see what happens in next book.
I didn’t like Cardan for most of the book. He made terrible impression with how he treated Jude. He was bully and like all bullies, he too was exacting the pain he had to endure on others. He was bad boy but not as bad as other characters, kind of cliche but it was okay here. I could see beneath his cruel arrogant nature he liked Jude and doesn’t like that feeling and hence was being cruel. I generally don’t like this trope in enemies to lovers but the romance between him and Jude wasn’t on focus here so that was okay as well.
The world was interesting and captivating. It wasn’t described in too much detail that would made it perfect for readers who don’t like info dump but even with only superficial details, there were many things to take in. I enjoyed reading how Faerie world was coexisting with human world, different faerie folks, Elfhame and its islands, High King’s court, how his bloodline came to rule the Fearieland, court customs, coronation ceremony, their beliefs and nature. Court politics and political intrigue were the main focus of the book and it was the best part. I also loved conversations between characters and confrontations.
Like I said romance wasn’t the main focus of the book. What little romance we get was complicated by deception, judgment, misunderstanding, and betrayal. Jude and Cardan were idiots. They were in love and they still don’t know that or don’t want to accept the feeling. I can’t wait to see when they will realize it in the next books.
Twist and turns were well written. Most of them were easy to guess or at least I had a vague idea but couldn’t say how that will happen until it was revealed. The climax was most interesting. It was horrible to read what villains planned and how it was executed and I enjoyed reading what Jude and her unlikely team planned and how that worked out in the end. The end twist was interesting and I guessed it but at the same time, I made mistake of reading the synopsis of all books before I started this. The ending was perfect. It wasn’t a cliffhanger as I expected which was relief.
Why 4 or 4.5 stars –
There wasn’t anything wrong with the book. We still need to see character development which might be in next books. Also, I don’t like the cliche of ‘bad boy is actually good’ and ‘boy acting ridiculously jerk just because he didn’t like how he felt around girl’.
Overall, Cruel Prince was dark, twisted, fascinating and fast paced YA fantasy with complex and interesting plot and characters.
I definitely recommend if you like,
YA fantasy with violence
complex plot and characters
fascinating twisted faerie world
bad boy is actually good arc
possible enemies-to-lovers arc
strong female character
Less focus on romance
royal politics and political intrigue on main focus
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What do you think about this book? Have you read this book or any book by author? Which Fae books you like most?
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