The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

March 8, 2019

When Jude and her sisters witness the horrible murder of their parents, their lives change forever. The man, or rather, the fae who killed them whisks the girls away and raise them in his own cruel world. Here, magic covers anything rotten with a shiny glimmer and humans are considered pathetic, decaying creatures from the day they are born. This might not be the best place for young girls to grow up.

Jude has done her best to fit in and keep her head down among the powerful fae. However, when her one dream is taken away from her and she is bullied by Cardan and his gang one too many times, she decides to no longer bow her head and becomes a spy to the crown prince – Cardan’s older brother.

The setting of this fairy world is deliciously cruel. Everything is beautiful, including the fae, but these beautiful creatures have no regards for anyone but themselves and often use magic to procure human slaves. They are dark beings who even welcome violent fights among their own kind since death and torture is nothing but entertainment. As a human, Jude is such an easy target and it clearly portrays the power hierarchy in this world.

As for theΒ characters, the cruel fae is the best. That sounds wrong but honestly, our main character, Jude, is a hot-tempered teenager who is so focused on proving herself, that she doesn’t see what goes on around her. As for Cardan, well, he’s a spoiled brat who likes bullying Jude but when a sad element about him is revealed, the sympathy we’re supposed to feel for him is so forced. The rest of the fae characters are either violent and mean or outright treacherous which is honestly a lot more fun than Jude and Cardan’s story.

The story itself… doesn’t even start until halfway through the book – no joke. Other than introductions of different characters, some pretty descriptions about the land and Jude being bullied by Cardan now and then, NOTHING happens in almost 150 pages. There are a few really intriguing political elements to the story but unfortunately, it doesn’t get much time in the spotlight, otherwise I would have been more on board. There is also some romantic drama going on which is a nice break from all the nothingness we get, but again, it’s not exciting enough to really lift the story.

This book took me an embarrassingly long time to finish, because I had to force myself to keep going. This was one of the hottest books of 2018 and I had to read it. I really wanted to like this book, but I really didn’t. I didn’t feel any connection with the characters, I was bored for so long that when something cool finally happened, I didn’t really care anymore. I will recommend this story to anyone who love books about the fae and enjoy a dark world. If you’re here for an action-packed adventure you should either find another book or just know this: reading this book is like running a 40 mile-marathon to get to the final exciting sprint!

Page count: 370
Goodreads rating: 4,1/5

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