The Cruel Prince

Holly Black

Jude was taken from her home and her parents were murdered when she was seven years old. She, and her two sisters, were taken to the High Court of Faerie, located on an island in the ocean, surrounded by a permanent fog.

Jude just wants to finally feel like she has a place in Faerie. And if she has to lie, steal and cheat her way there, she’ll do it. 

Prince Cardan Greenbriar is the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. He doesn’t want to rule, and thankfully he never will. In order for Jude to earn her place at court, she’ll have to deceive and defy the cruel prince of Elfame- and face the consequences.

Reading The Cruel Prince was like reading a dark fairy tale. The prologue of this book was straight from a Disney story, and I was hooked. I’m a sucker for tragedy. The writing was so magical, literally, But more than that. The way people and places and feelings were described were beyond anything I’ve read recently. This book was a king among men. I was hooked on Jude from the moment she spoke. She is so brave and cunning and determined. And she’s so strong and has learned to use her human abilities to her benefit. And while it’s not easy being a human among these faeries, she’s certainly earned her place. Usually when I read fantasy, the main girl will irritate me at one point or another. Not Jude. I was consistently on her side and wanted all the best for her. I would’ve done the same things and made the same mistakes as her if I were in her shoes, and I think that shows how well the story is written, how realistic it is. 

And Miss Black should not have written “with black hair as iridescent as a raven’s wings and cheekbones sharp enough to cut out a girl’s heart” if she didn’t want me to fall in love with Cardan. He was the best enemy I’ve read in a while. When I normally read enemies to lovers fantasy, they get over themselves rather quickly and are together by the end of the book. Not Jude and Cardan! They cannot stand each other, but there’s an underlying tension that neither can explain. And for good reason. She’s human and hates him for being cruel to her and others, and Cardan hates humans, or does he? Jude finding the copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass in Cardan’s chambers should’ve been a clue that he has some interest in something that doesn’t revolve around him. Cardan has carved a special spot in my heart. He’s 18. He’s just a kid and has dealt with so much pain in his life. Forced out of his house, abused, forced to do things he doesn’t want. This kid has had a hard life. And seeing the switch towards the end where Cardan isn’t our enemy so much, but more of a friend and confidant is so heartwarming. He just wants someone to love him and care for him. In more than a romantic sense. He wouldn’t mind that too but he needs more than that. 

Holly Black writes good villains. Anybody you’re not supposed to like, you don’t. I have a couple characters I’m reading to throw down with and it’s because they’re so well thought out. Everyone has a back story and reason for being the way they are. 

Amazing characters aside, this was an incredible story. So well thought out and planned. I was very confused when I started this book because in the opening scene in the prologue, they’re watching TV and eating fish sticks with ketchup. Uh… I was not expecting that. But knowing that there was a human realm just over the fog, and that it was a modern world with Target’s and malls and jeans, was comforting. It felt like magic could be and is real. There were so many plot twists and turns that I was not expecting. But even with these twists, the main plot was still present; Jude wants power. And she’s going to get it by any means necessary. And Black didn’t give us the same twenty something year old falls for a 500+ year old and they live happily ever after and fight crime in the next novel. No she gave us a dumb, drunk 18-year old and a sassy, stubborn 17-year old. And she wrote them like their ages, with small enhancements. If you can’t tell, I’m in love with this book. If you aren’t left with your mouth hanging at the end of chapter, you missed the point of it. 

Final thoughts, twelve out of ten. So amazing and I’m in awe of Holly Black and I can’t wait to finish this series.