The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

4 / 5 stars
Read in November 2019
Book #1 in The Folk of the Air trilogy

I will admit it took me awhile to get into this book. Although I’ve always been a fantasy enthusiast, I’ve never really explored the fae/fairy subgenre. This, plus the heavy world building in the beginning of this book made for a slow start. However, the story really picked up halfway through, and from there I could not put the book down.

First of all, Holly Black is a master storyteller. Dynamic, morally gray characters? Check. An immersive, magical world? Check. Political intrigue? Check and check. At least three times throughout the book, my mouth literally dropped open in shock. So many great twists I did not see coming!

Accompanying Jude on her journey, I sympathized with our protagonist’s desire to earn her place among the High Court of Faerie, yearning for them to respect her abilities as a warrior; and yet, I also hoped for her to best them all and show them just why they should never have underestimated her in the first place.
I was and still am very conflicted on how I feel about Cardan being a love interest for Jude. He is a bully and treated her terribly. It is definitely not healthy for Jude to fall for someone who was only mean to her because he secretly liked her! Other than a few lines here and there, I didn’t really feel the sexual tension between them until the amazing knife-to-Cardan’s-throat scene. While this scene made me realize I’m trash for any and all romantic subplots, I didn’t really feel the connection between Jude and Cardan before then.
*end spoiler*

I’m looking forward to seeing how Jude’s relationships with Taryn, Vivi, Oak, Madoc, and, most importantly, the infuriating Prince Cardan evolve in the coming books. I’m hoping to finish The Wicked King just in time for the highly anticipated The Queen of Nothing!

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