The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is the first book in The Folk of the Air series. This review will be spoiler-free.
The Fey steal children. Everyone has heard the stories, but they are just make-believe.
Jude is seven years old when a strange man murders her parents and whisks her and her sisters away to Faerie. Ten years later, she wants nothing more than to belong, to be one of them. But that is impossible.
The fey hate humans, believing they are nothing but servants to be played with. No one hates humans more than Prince Cardan, the youngest son of the High King of Faerie.
Now that she is coming of age, she is desperately trying to find a way to keep her place in Faerie. She is thrust into a world of deceit and trickery, and she must face the consequence of her actions when war threatens the Fey Courts.
This book had such an overwhelming amount of love and hate when it first came out. The hype built it up into something that I expected to be pure gold. When I first read it, just weeks after it came out, I was disappointed. I never got around to reading the novella or the sequel, even though I had pre-ordered both.
It has now been over a year and a half since I first read it and the third one is coming out in November, so I decided to finally give it another try and read the other two as well.
AND I AM SO GLAD I DID! I loved it! It was so much better this time around. I don’t know if it was just the hype getting to me the first time around or maybe I had missed some important parts, but this time I can agree with the hype. This book is amazing and has officially turned me into a Holly Black fan.
Jude wanted nothing more than to be one of the Fey at the beginning of the story. She has such an amazing character arc over the course of the novel and I never knew what she was going to do next. She caught me off guard at each turn.
And Cardan. I have to admit I love all the fictional bad boys. They all have a special place in my heart and Cardan is now right up there with them. He is everything I want in the bad boy male lead. He is cruel, but he has that other side to him that we don’t get to see.
The world of Faerie that Black created was so intricate and she used so many of our myths to create it. I loved seeing all the familiar terms and courts. There was a lot of world-building in this book and I’ve never read anything quite like it.
The writing itself in this book was great! It flowed and it was easy to read without being boring. The pace of the story was perfect and kept the pages turning!
I am giving this book 5 out of 5 stars (which is significantly better than my 3 out of 5 stars the first time around). I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves folktales or fantasy novels.