The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Title: The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Published: January 2nd 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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 years old 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.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war 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.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black definitely does not skimp on the word cruel. This was a twisty dark tale, where every character has a dark side. I loved the story and how intriguing it was. I admit it left me sad but also wondering how it will turn out in the end.

Jude’s character is interesting because if her upbringing had been different maybe she would be different. There is no way to really tell that though. After witnessing her parents murder and being whisked away to Faerie, she needs to harden herself in order to survive. Mortals are not celebrated in the Fey realm and many don’t appreciate their existence. Jude is not a perfect person and she finds that there is definitely pockets of darkness inside her. She deals with a lot of hating and loving her adoptive father, hating and loving Faerie. A need to belong and find a place and the fact that she can’t deny she is still mortal. There are things that will always be different about her. It was interesting to see her develop and almost find an understanding of herself along the way.

I was fascinated with Cardan because he is pretty much awful but there are moments. Moments that you kind of wonder. He never becomes a Knight or a bad boy with a heart of Gold. Of course not. He lives in this cruel world as well. There were just instances where his actions weren’t as they seemed and as we plunge more into Jude’s story, we see a bit more of his.

Taryn is Jude’s twin sister. They love each other with all their hearts I’m sure. There were many actions that Taryn chooses to take that made me not completely fond of her. If I had to pick of favorite sisters, it would have to be Vivi. Her love of her sisters almost seems the most human despite the mix of her blood. This is what makes these characters so interesting. There are so many good and bad things about them.

The story is full of Faere politics. Which often requires an awful lot of bloodshed. There are three princes. All of them are their own kind of cruel and the princesses, which we don’t get to know as well. The plot involves the coronation of a new High King of Faere and of course it’s no easy process. The courts are full deceit and suspicion. Jude finds herself sucked into all of this, having her adoptive father being the General. Fighting for her own place and life, she finds her ambitions intertwined with others.

The ending made me sad. I can’t say all the ways it made sad because I don’t want to give anything away. I was mostly sad for Jude. This strong, clever and foolish girl all rolled into one.