Title: The Cruel Prince
Series Title: The Folk of the Air #1
Author: Holly Black
Publication Date: Jan 2nd 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre / Themes: Young Adult, 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
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CRUEL PRINCE
I was hoping that I was going to end up liking this book. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. I ended up pretty disappointed with the things that I thought were going to be the saving grace of this book.
Let me start talking about the thing I actually did enjoy first:
• THE WRITING
I actually enjoyed Holly Black’s writing style but the actual writing of her characters is a different story. I like how she narrates. She doesn’t overly expound on things she shouldn’t be. I just really don’t like her characters as well as the actual plot of the story. Does that make sense? I’m going to talk about characters in a bit but first I want to focus on her writing style which I found was exactly right for my taste. There weren’t a lot of flowery words that describe things that makes no sense. I liked that.
• THE PLOT TWIST
If you know a little about faeries, then you’ll probably know how cunning these creatures are. Making a deal with them, no matter how good you think it is, there is always a catch you don’t see coming. They will cheat you out of your freedom without you knowing what hit you. So anyway, it’s nice to see “some faeries” get a taste of their own medicine. I’m not going to tell you what because it’s a spoiler but things were messy, at was left that was intentionally so you’d read book two (which I probably wouldn’t even when I am this curious to know what happens next).
• THE WORLD
The world was kind of interesting. A lot of court intrigue as you’d expect from Faerie courts. If you think human politics is terrible, you should try and visit faerie courts. Lol. Not that we can though, but in theory, they are worse than human politics. Haha. Just saying.
But going back to my point, I liked how I was introduced to the world, I just wanted more from it. The story focused more on the characters (which is a shame because they all suck balls) that the world-building kind of suffered a little bit. It wasn’t developed as much as I would want it to be. Who knows though? Maybe the other two books dive deeper into that world. Do I care enough to find out? I’d say… meh. Not really.
NOW LET’S GET TO THE PART WHERE WE TALK ABOUT MY GRIPES ABOUT THIS BOOK. THE PART EVERYONE WANTS TO READ ABOUT. LOL.
• THE CHARACTERS
To me, this is this book’s greatest weakness. I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters. Jude, our main protagonist, is supposed to be this unfortunate soul who gets bullied every now and then by a group of faeries. I was expecting to feel bad for her, to actually care that she is going through a rough time with these faes who can’t accept that a human is living among them. It sucks really. I couldn’t feel anything as I was reading while all of this was happening.
I liked that she was boyish and stuff not to mention her admirable desire to prove herself. Which brings me to another issue I have with her. Who in the right mind would like to serve and protect people who consistently belittles her and treats her like trash? Seriously though. I doesn’t make sense to me at all. All her decisions, all her reasonings throughout the book doesn’t make sense to me. Of course, there was that ending – i give her props for that – but other than that, I found her motivations and her character development a bit shallow.
The funny thing is, Jude wasn’t even the worse character in the book. She was decent enough to be fair. There was just something about her that was lacking.
Okay. There were some semi-good characters there that were under-developed as well. But there were two particular ones that I would like to murder: Locke and Taryn. These two left me so angry that I was even considering reading the next book just to see if they will die. Only then, I think, will I be satisfied.
• WHAT ROMANCE?
I have read reviews that ship Jude and Cardan which, for the life of me, I could not understand why.
For those of you know don’t know, Cardan the prince who likes to bully Jude for some stupid reason. When I say bully, I don’t mean random teasing and stuff. He did and allowed some bad things to happen to Jude. Eventually we find out his reason for hating on Jude but damn they were completely unjustified. I don’t care how fucked up his childhood or family was, the things he allowed other people or himself to do to Jude was sickening. Seriously though? I can’t understand the ship.
Don’t get me wrong though, I like some good enemies to loves trope but this wasn’t that. There were no instances where I can feel anything was blossoming from somewhere. There was just this instance where Cardan was staring at her the whole night which was rather creepy than sweet to me. There wasn’t enough time for the relationship between them to flourish. No scratch that there were no instances where the author allowed their characters to grow on each other. For those who have read it, you’d probably mention the captor and captive scene? Would that count? No it would not.
• SOME THING JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE
One thing that really puzzled me, even up to now is why she was willing to risk everything for a world that doesn’t even accept her. She had nothing but trouble in the Faerie world, got bullied for something she doesn’t even know, being treated like a piece of shit by the fae because she was human, so why the hell did she want tk risk everything for them? I didn’t see anyone there being extremely nice to her or her sister, Taryn. They were outsiders there. I just don’t why she wanted to protect them. She gave a reason, but it wasn’t something I completely bought because it was bullshit. She said Faerie is the only thing she knew. That is so wrong. She knew exactly how her parents died, they were killed by a fae. Instead of cozying up with the bastard that killed their parents shouldn’t she have tried to stay away? But no, she enjoyed being in the world that got her mother killed. Why? Like I don’t get it.
Then there’s Cardan. I don’t get him. I guess it also comes down to lack of character development. There was only one scene in the entire book where we sort of see what his life was like and we are supposed to be sympathetic to why he such a cruel asshole? No. Absolutely not. And the thing that puzzles me the most was why he was so cruel in the first place. He did explain but like Jude’s motivation in protecting Faerie, I couldn’t place my finger on why he treated Jude so unjustly. His reasons were totally misplaced and unjustified.
There were a lot of pieces in this story that if done well, I would have really liked. The enemies to lovers for one, is a trope that I actually enjoy yet did not work for Jude and Cardan because Cardan was too busy being a jerk to be likeable. If you are looking for a human and faerie love story with this enemies to lovers trope, go read Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series instead. She did the human girl who saves the day and misunderstood male fae romance so much better.
Would I recommend it? Probably not. I was told the series got better but I’m not too excited to read what happens to them since I don’t really care about any of them. I mean, if someone tells me Taryn or Locke dies I’ll probably read that part specifically to give myself some sort of closure that they got what they deserve for being douchebags.