The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
Author: Holly Black
Rated D for divine, delightful, and deadly royal fae spy games.
Sharpen your blade.
Harden your heart.
Jude was seven when she, her twin, and older sister were swept away to the land of faerie after the murder of their parents. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing. More than to prove herself anything but a typical mortal in the treacherous land. She wants to end the terror that Prince Cardan and his troupe bestow on her and her twin to stop. That seems impossible when her dreams of knighthood are taken from her and her twin snubs her.
Everything changes when the prince’s brother, Prince Dain offers her a deal. Be his spy and Jude will get everything she’s ever dreamed of. Diving further in this magical world, she discovers so much more than she ever thought she would and is quickly drawn into the middle of political and royal toil that puts her life in jeopardy. Amid discovering her capacity for bloodshed, Jude will risk her life for the last person she expects. The devious and cruel prince, Cardan. He is the key to saving the land of faerie…unfortunately.
Holly Black out did herself. She writes the world of fae like no other. It’s dark and deadly, and absolutely stunning. You can’t find magic like this anywhere else. Jude, Cardan, and the rest of fae take fantasy to a deeper level. Humanity became something of envy and magic all on its own in this book, but it came with a dark side. And I’m not going to lie, I got some major GOT vibes, but this has been even better—just without dragons. LOL.
Jude and Cardan were the last two I expected to have any real connection or chemistry, but then I forgot that there are different variations of chemistry. Chemistry doesn’t always mean passion and fire. Sometimes it’s that fine line of love and hate that creates it, and these two have it. Black was phenomenal in creating it and giving that slow burn. I couldn’t stand the way Cardan treated Jude but that shifted without me realizing it. Ugh, these two pull back and forth and it leaves me so conflicted, but I love it! My utmost favorite realization has to be the two of them being jealous of each other.
Taryn on the other hand is a dastardly wretch. I would hate to share a face with her. Reeking of desperation and selfishness, she certainly fits in with the fae, or she will by the looks of it. I definitely foresee Taryn as one of the big bads in the future. She so badly wants to be fae and that makes her dangerous. She’ll do anything to have it. It’s quite similar to how intent Jude was to become a knight.
The inclusion of A Modern Faerie Tale’s Roiben and Kaye set me off! And I mean that with as much squeeing and excitement as you can imagine. I wondered when I started this if it would be tied to the trilogy and was overjoyed to discover it was. It wasn’t just a cameo. It was a wicked universal expansion.
The writing was as extravagant as the world Black built upon. Rich and mesmerizing imagery that just whisked me away and nearly had me under its fae spell. From the wardrobe to lush greenery to the fae themselves, it left me breathless. I didn’t even mind that the first half of the book had a slow start. It got so good it was worth the slow trudge. Plus, that trudge made the second half so much better. At first, it felt so extra because there wasn’t a lot happening, but then BOOM it’s going down and I understood Black’s game. It was so much more than a build-up, it was creating a major connection with the characters and it was done magnificently.
A dark and gorgeous splendor. A tale that goes beyond the discovery of identity but finding one’s place in the grand scheme of things. More so, the plot twists and turns were magnificent. Though Cardan and Jude prove toxic at the moment and intent to play games with each that could cost them their lives, I can’t wait to see how they fully develop. They’ve got a rocky road ahead of them and no shortage of enemies. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, but lucky for these two, they can share the weight.
“There’s always something left to lose.” (p. 41)
“Our lives are the only real thing we have, our only coin. We get to buy what we want with them.” (Jude, p. 90)
“You did a brave thing. Be glad of that. Not everyone can be brave. I’m not always.” (Vivi to Jude, p. 201)
“Never is like forever.” (p. 244)
More to come soon…
Song Today? I Want You to Want Me by Letters To Cleo.
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!