Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”

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If that doesn’t give you a sense of foreboding, I don’t know what will. Friends, it has been a long while since I’ve read an all-consuming fantasy. A fantasy that I couldn’t wait to get away from reality and read.

Jude’s young life is marked with death the moment Madoc, a thousands year old fairy reveals that her mother was his wife and ran away from him and murders them in front of Jude. Backstory: Her mother took Jude’s older sister, Vivienne (who is a fairy), and married a human male (herself being human too). She later had Jude and her twin sister, Taryn with said human male. Madoc then whisks away all three girls to the fairy world where the grow up.

I don’t usually summarize the beginning of a book for you friends, but I did it on purpose because I wanted to show you how easy it was to follow along with what was happening. Any good fantasy book usually has elaborate and intense world building and extradordinary characters that have hundreds of traits. I’ve had to write notes before just to keep up with who is who, who has what power, and where the hell did they go? But with The Cruel Prince, Holly Black created this fantastical world of fairy, which is indeed elaborate but so darn easy to understand which helps you get sweeped into the adventure that much faster! I knew who everyone was and their motivations (well I guess not too much since there is a lot of trickery going on – so many plot twists!).

Who’s motivation was my heart closest to? Well, our leading lady, Jude of course. Growing up mortal in a fairy world where everyone is naturally cunning, agile, and strong – Jude had to train twice as hard to belong, and oh, does she want to belong. And I can’t fault her for it. So many times the protagnist grows up hating the person that took them away and what not, but Jude is human, and humans are complicated creatures. Throughout the book you see her constant struggle between hating the fairies, and fighting hard to prove herself worthy. Even her stepfather, Madoc, WHO MURDERED HER PARENTS, she grows to care for and even love. But she isn’t stupid, she is clever and she doesn’t let her complicated feelings for her family get in the way of doing what she needs to accomplish. I love her. I really absolutely do.

She isn’t the only character that is multifaceted, Cardan, Locke, Taryn, Madoc, everyone. All the characters were so rich! If you are looking for a sweeping fantasy, that won’t hurt your brain, read The Cruel Prince.

Side Note: The only thing I didn’t like… the fact that I have to WAIT SO LONG FOR THE NEXT BOOK! I NEED IT RIGHT MEOW!

“Guard your mortal heart.”

 

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