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'The Cruel Prince' by Holly Black

Should you read this dark faerie fiction?

The cover is completely gorgeous.

I first heard talk of The Cruel Prince in January 2017. You read correctly—I waited a whole year for this book. Everyone loves a hate-turned-to-love story in the young adult book world, and the description of this book sounded like the perfect solution to this need. The fact that it involved faeries was a giant plus after The Court of Thorns and Roses books were so well received for its love story and unique setting.

I pre-ordered The Cruel Prince which was a bit risky because I hadn't read a book written by Holly Black before, but the whole premise was something I couldn't miss out on. I didn't actually get around to reading it until almost a month after its release date because I only read on my commute to and from work, and on my lunch break.

So, the verdict? Well, whilst I wasn't ranting and raving about how good it was, The Cruel Prince turned out to be very enjoyable, even if it wasn't the genre-breaking perfection that everyone wanted it to be. Here are my thoughts:

  1. The main character, Jude, is kind of amazing. She reacts to situations like a genuine bad ass, not letting anyone get in her way, even if they claim to be in love with her, or they scare her to death. It was nice to read about a character like me for a change (kind of unemotional and practical about things). Her twin Taryn is the worst part of the book (emotional and impractical), but I guess if you like the Mary-Sue characters then you'll like her.  
  2. Cardan is pretty dangerous. He is the cruel prince the title promises, but obviously as he is the love interest, he has a few redeeming qualities. I'm very interested to see where this relationship goes, because whilst I did kind of guess the big ending, I didn't truly grasp the implications of the decisions, and how these could be progressed in a sequel. 
  3. The ideas of family and loyalty are very important in this book, and I love characters who think about more than their own heart. Jude loved her family, and did everything for them, but she didn't let them boss her around if they tried to stop her from doing what she thought was the right thing. I felt like this was a more realistic family dynamic compared to books where the main characters let their family decide everything for them to avoid arguments.
  4. Whilst I'm thinking back about all the things that happened in this book, I realise that I need the next book immediately.

It was a slow start, and I didn't find myself thinking about the characters when I wasn't reading it (my personal indication of a great book), but I would read large segments at a time, gasping and gaping as the plot was slowly revealed to me. Jude is one of my favourite young adult main characters of all time, purely because she was consistent in her beliefs, and wouldn't change her mind purely so that the plot could develop. She also tried really hard to balance the wants of all of the people around her.

If you like the idea of a dark faerie young adult book, I definitely recommend The Cruel Prince as a fulfilling and easy read. The story is quite unique for its genre, and the characterisation is extremely good for young adult fiction. The beautiful cover also makes a terrific addition to a bookshelf, and makes for unbelievable bookstagrams.

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'The Cruel Prince' by Holly Black
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