5 out of 5 Stars
This is one of the few books that are as truly phenomenal in every regard as they can be. Holly Black's The Cruel Prince is as addicting and powerfully beautiful as the faerie fruit that is in the book. The characters are authentic, the momentum of the story just right, the writing mythically enchanting, and the politics of courts wonderfully convoluted. This book is just what a book with fae should be: dark, intricate, and spell-binding.
One of the best things about this book I think is that there is not a romantic plot in it. There is romance to be sure, but the focus is primarily on Jude finding her place amongst the High Fae of Elfhame. This is partially due to Jude's character, which will come later, but as a whole, I think the plot could best be described as a beautiful tree. There's a main conflict that needs to be resolved (Jude finding her place) like the trunk of the tree, but then there are all these twining little plots and details like the branches that make the tree whole.
Of all the things that happen in the book, my favorite is how things are developed and revealed to the reader. Constantly, there are at least two or three things happening at once that are all significant in some form or another. The reader learns as Jude does though, which means that things are not clear right away necessarily. And then they all come together in the end of the book and, I kid you not, I couldn't put down the book at the end even if I wanted to.
Jude: Jude may be one of my favorite literary characters ever. I love how she is so strong and we get to see her develop to conquer her fear- or at least function with it- of the fae around her. Her rashness was a bit startling at times, but I think it fits with her character. My only concern though is to see how "dark" she gets per say. I have a theory that Valerian's curse on her will either, a) turn her into a killing machine where she'll come to despise herself, or b) doesn't matter at all because he died before he said the third part. I'm interested to also see how her relationship with Cardan plays out. [I ship it, but with trepidation]
Taryn: She was the most infuriating character ever! Even more so than Valerian the psychopath. This may also be because I have a sister, and I absolutely cannot imagine my sister doing what Taryn did. But holy smokes, I felt betrayed when Taryn revealed she was dating Locke and knew Locke was teasing Jude. Sister just don't do that.
Cardan: I have very mixed feelings on Cardan. It seems like for every horrid thing he does, there's a good deed (or at least slightly above decent deed) to counteract it. However, now there's the huge concern over what will happen at the end of his and Jude's bargain, because we all know he's pissed as hell for being made King. What I hope happens, is that Jude will make him see reason, they'll fall for each other in their own volatile ways, and then at the end of the year Cardan makes Jude Queen. Wouldn't that be nice? Or at least the least bloody? Of course then when Oak comes back Cardan will rescind the crown and he and Jude will move away and live happily ever after.
Valerian: He's a psychopath- that's all I think I need to say.
Locke: Locke is just slimy in my opinion. Yes, I hate him for how he played the twins and I think he's disgusting for doing it. But he's not evil like Valerian, so I can't hate him as much. Plus, it does seem like he'll take care of Taryn? Maybe? Or, he'll do something awful to her and Jude will kill him. I think that's an acceptable option as well. He'll definitely be in the story then.
Madoc: I don't have very many strong feelings on Madoc. My biggest thing with him is that I'm curious to see what happens when he wakes up and realizes everything that's happened. Will Cardan protect Jude from him? Will he even try to get revenge? Who knows.....
First person present tense narration can be extremely difficult to pull off; but when it is done correctly, it is my absolute favorite to read. Holly Black not only pulls it off though, but she also does so in a way that is excellent for telling a story. It's strange because in this way, the book isn't just a narration of what Jude is going through, but it is the artistry of weaving a story in a way that is meant for enjoyment.
As for the world of the book, I was so happy to be back in this world. I loved The Darkest Part of the Forest, and it made me SO happy to see Severin and Ben (even though Ben wasn't named in the book). The world is just so thoughtfully illustrated and what's more is that the story was constantly in motion. Some parts were the fast pace that they needed, and others were a bit slower to explain things more thoroughly, but they always fit the tone and the moment they were telling.
Finishing this book was almost sad in a way because now I don't have the second book and I won't have the second book until some time in 2019 I believe. However, I looked on Goodreads and it says the next title is The Wicked King, which make me so excited I could scream... there's just so much to wait on! So many ways this could go! The characters and the world are hanging on the precipice of the unknown and I hate and love that feeling all at once. I absolutely cannot wait to see where this series goes. Highly recommended, this book is definitely an official favorite of mine and I really think it will explode across the community.
Thanks for reading!
POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: Book You Borrowed