Fantasy, Reviews, Romance

REVIEW: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

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Synopsis:

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 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.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal 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.


3.5 🍁s

“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”

MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT:
After three years of wanting to read it and two years of people telling me I should, I finally picked up The Cruel Prince. The most important thing I can say in this review is that the book was very different than what I thought it would be. I was under the impression that it was this beautifully written, hate-to-love/forbidden romance, with fairies, political intrigue, and an all out adventure. The best way I can describe it to you is that I thought this was going to be a better, more fairy oriented, The Iron King. Yeah… That was not this book. To give you my thoughts accurately, I’ll just tackle those one by one:

The Writing Style- It got better as the book went on, but when I first started the book, the writing came off info-dumpy, a lot of telling instead of showing, and just wasn’t flowing well. As I said, it did get better, but I can see how some people DNF’d this book in the beginning because of it.

The Romance- Before I get into the specifics of the romance in this book, I’m just gonna let you know that I am a hopeless romantic, I hate to read a book without a romance, and the whole reason I picked this book up was because I heard that the couple in this book was one of the best ever written. With all that in mind, I don’t know what some people were reading, but the Cardan/Jude romance, was practically nonexistent!!! I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. If I wouldn’t have been told by other people beforehand, I would have NEVER paired the two together. They HATE each other and I’m not entirely sure they wouldn’t kill each other if they could. This book is told in Jude’s perspective and she never expressed anything other than hate for Cardan. She acknowledges he is beautiful (like every other fairy), but she never even remotely expresses being attracted to him. If there truly is a romance budding between these two, it is about the slowest burn possible. I’ve never read anything like it. Like, I saw nothing between them.

There is one small kiss towards the end of the book, but the whole reason it happened was because Jude wanted to throw Cardan off balance. It had nothing to do with being attracted to him or wanting to do it. And after that, she kept thinking about him in that way. It was like a switch had been thrown. It came entirely out of left field and made me not connect with it at all. Whenever Jude had any feeling like that towards Cardan after the kiss, my reaction was like, “Oh, please. This is ridiculous.” It felt like the author was trying put something together that was just not there. I mean come on, even excluding all of that, Jude is literally with another guy for a big portion of this book! I just can’t.

Fairies/Political Intrigue- If nothing else, this book had plenty of fairies and their politics. And that was ultimately this book’s saving grace for me. I found myself becoming hooked on all the drama and politics. I might have disliked everything else about the book, but this aspect of it kept me reading and made me give it the rating that I did. The story was unpredictable with many twists and turns, I ate the drama up like candy, and I am dying to know what will happen next.

Jude- This might come off as really bad and if Jude is one of your favorite female characters, I’m sorry… But I really didn’t like her. She made so many stupid and reckless decisions that I just couldn’t bring myself to care anymore towards the end, because I knew I was going to disagree with her on her ultimate decision. She was unrelatable and 90% of her decisions made absolutely no sense to me. In any other story where she is not the main character, she would have been dead ten times over by now. She really is one of the rare instances where I would call a character TSTL. I’d say that I hope she gets better in the next book, but I highly doubt it.

Cardan- Going in to this book, I had such I high expectations and hopes for Cardan. I had heard that he was bad and morally grey and snarky and arrogant and just basically everything I look for in male characters. But he just came off dull for 80% of the book! For a long time, I was just really disappointed with him and the only thing about him that I found even remotely interesting was that he has a tail! (No, I’m not even joking.) He was just background noise until Jude had him as her prisoner. I actually have hopes for him in the next book and I want him to become the male I was expecting him to be. I guess I’ll just have to wait to find out.

Jude’s Sisters- I hate Taryn and how she acts. She comes across as a spoiled brat and her eagerness to throw her relationship with Jude under the bus infuriates and disgusts me to no end. Vivienne was a lot more relatable and I liked her character a lot more. She was actually my favorite out of the three sisters. She seemed like the only one that had her head on straight.

It might not seem like it, but despite everything listed above, I did enjoy this book. I highly enjoyed the plot and the world and I will be continuing with the next book. I am very eager to start it and see where this story goes next.


Other Books in the Series:

The Wicked King ~ TBR

Queen of Nothing ~ Not Released Yet

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