Title: The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Fiction/ Romance/ Fantasy
Source: Kindle Recommendation
Favourite Quote: “I am going to keep on defying you. I am going to shame you with my defiance. You remind me that I am a mere mortal and you are a prince of Faerie. Well, let me remind you that means you have much to lose and I have nothing. You may win in the end, you may ensorcell me and hurt me and humiliate me, but I will make sure you lose everything I can take from you on the way down. I promise you this is the least of what I can do.”
10 years ago, Jude knew what it was like to live a normal life with her sisters, Taryn and Vivi. They went to the mall, hung out with friends, ate fish sticks with ketchup and lounged around in the evenings watching whatever was on television. Until the day when everything changed. When her parents were murdered before her own eyes by the same man who raises them now; Madoc.
Jude and her sisters had no choice coming to live in the land of Faerie. Living with their parents murderer wasn’t easy, living in a world when you’re a human surrounded by magical beings was less easy. The Fae are constantly reminding her of her lowly human status and how she can never amount to anything of importance. This however, does little to discourage Jude from training to be a knight in the royal court, to finally prove to everyone that humans are just as strong and important as the humans they slave. Only at what cost?
“In Faerie, there are no fish sticks, no ketchup, no television.”
It’s taken me a while to review this book, The Cruel Prince. I’m still debating how I feel about it. It was a great book in the sense that it had everything; an interesting story, well described characters – every one of them surprising me at one point or another, even the scenery was well written. But even though it had all of that, I still put it down at the end thinking that it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Maybe it was the cliffhanger at the end that’s got me needing more. The hatred between Jude and Prince Cardan is wonderfully addictive.
Jude is our protagonist in this tale. She introduces us to her experiences growing up in Faerie over the last 10 years, where, as a mortal, she struggles to be accepted. Both herself and her twin sister Taryn, are some of the only few humans to live in their world, with their lack of any magical ability, they need to be extremely careful. Especially from their classmates who take particular enjoyment experimenting on their lack of magical defences. Prince Cardan, Valerian, Nicasia and Locke being the main culprits in their torment.
‘”Oh he’d like to make you believe he’s our leader, but it’s more that Nicasia likes power, I like dramatics, and Valerian likes violence. Cardan can provide us with all three, or at least excuses for all three.”
“Dramatics?” I echo.
“I like for things to happen, for stories to unfold. And if I can’t find a good enough story, I make one.” He looks every inch the trickster in that moment.’
Prince Cardan is definitely one of my favourite anti-hero characters. He is determined to go out of his way to use his power and status to make Jude’s life as difficult as possible. We just assume that he is just a bully who likes to pick on the weak, which, although this is somewhat true, it completely took me off guard as to his true reason behind it. Cardan plays his part so well as the dark and cruel prince of Faerie, until we see that his harsh attempts at domineering intimidation is nothing compared to his family members. Never trust a royal.
‘”I suppose you were right after all.” He studies my face, giving nothing away on his own. “I suppose I didn’t know the least of what you could do.”
I try not to let him know how much his calmness rattles me. It makes me feel as though the knife in my hand, which should lend me authority, isn’t enough. It makes me want to hurt him just to convince myself that he can be frightened.”
Jude is a fantastic protagonist. She’s strong, brave, selfless and only has the desire to prove how capable she is in the world of Faerie. Even so, she’s still a teenager with confusing emotions and a need for human essentials to get by. Although a part of her can’t get past the fact that Madoc killed her parents, it’s interesting to see how she has come to care for him as a father figure. Being the general to the High King, Jude is insistent on making Madoc proud of her and her fighting abilities to take on after him.
The story is fantastic with endless twists and turns, you don’t know what to predict will happen next or who you can really trust with so many secrets surrounded each character. Who is Taryn’s secret love? Why had Locke quickly changed sides to be close to Jude? Who is plotting to kill Prince Dain and why does Prince Cardan have a mortal story book with a piece of paper covered in Jude’s name? So many questions and so many pieces of the puzzle to put together. It’s a fight for power with surprising feelings thrown into the mix.
I’m really looking forward to the next The Folk of the Air sequel; The Wicked King, to find out more!
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.
One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed in the royal court but mocked and tormented by the Faerie royalty for being mortal.
As Jude grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong.
But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan . . .