The Cruel Prince Book Review

Title: The Cruel Prince
Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Authors: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: January 2, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle eBook

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 years old 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.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war 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.


What a ride it was to be back in Holly Black’s land of Faerie. I read her Tithe series way back in the day, probably when I was in middle school or high school, and I absolutely fell in love with it. The story was so fascinating to me, and it’s really the thing that pushed me to fall in love with faeries from that point on.

Now, in this new book, it shows a much darker side to Faerie than I’m used to. I mean, I’m used to reading dark tales about Faerie because, let’s be real, it can be a very cruel place not just to mortals, but to the other Fey as well, but this story brought on a lot more betrayal, hatred, and a general sense of apathy than anything.

Let’s talk characters because there were a lot of characters introduced to us through Jude’s eyes, and I want to give some of my thoughts on them.

Jude, herself, was a very melancholic character. We were often reminded of how much she hated life in Faerie and how she loved Madoc, though he’s a monster, and how she despised Cardan. I’m not saying those points were annoying, but I did pick up just how often they were said and I kind of felt it was redundant. I also felt her character was a bit… lacking? She was very much just a ball of anger at the world around her. Any emotions other than general discourse or anger felt outside of her realm and I didn’t really feel any particular attachment to her, especially through the first two thirds of the story. More on that in a minute.

Cardan was quite the cruel prince (but not the main reason for the title of the book, let me tell you lol) who enjoyed seeing Jude suffer, but also did very, very subtle things to ensure nothing harmed her to the point of death. In the latter half of the book it felt almost like I was reading about an entirely different character? At least in some parts he felt a bit too open, a bit too friendly, even, but that familiar cruelness came right back at the very end and I was like, “Ah, yes, there he is.”

Madoc, Balekin, and Dain all had fairly significant parts to play throughout the story, and each of them played it well. Overall they all felt very cunning, very manipulative, and willing to do anything to get what they wanted. But my biggest point here in talking about these three: I wanted to learn more about them and why they were the way they were, even as fey.

Valerian, Locke, and Nicasia were friends of Cardan’s, and I didn’t very much like them. Valerian was a huge jerk, Locke always seemed like there was something more mischievous and cunning underneath everything that he did, and Nicasia… well, I actually kind of liked her, despite her being a horrible person.

Taryn and Vivienne were Jude’s sisters, and though they had their parts to play in the story, I also felt like they were just there when it was most convenient for the plot. I do, however, really like Vivi and her determination to do everything in her power to go against her father’s, Madoc’s, wishes.

Okay, now let’s talk about the plot, because I have some things I want to say about it, as well as the writing through the first two thirds of the book.

First off, the writing continuously felt like it was jumping and cutting out scenes that should have taken place. When I was reading some parts and it instantly jumped from, for example, Jude about to go somewhere, it then jumped to her having already done it. Or there was no real dive into any sort of emotions – not often, anyway – or a real look at surroundings or situations that I really craved for.

There was no middle ground, no “filler,” I guess you could say. But it wasn’t just that that bothered me, it was my desire to feel something more for what was happening to Jude and what was happening around her.

I didn’t feel as connected as I was hoping because I felt so disconnected because of the jumpy writing – at least for the first two thirds of the story.

And then? Oh man, did it kick off right at the climax of the book, and even the writing got a lot better and I felt like I was following it a lot better than I was before.

The plot was leading up to the grand coronation of one of the princes, and when the thing (I won’t spoil it) happened, and then a lot of chaos ensued, I was shocked. Seriously, I hadn’t been expecting it to go down the way it did, and there was a lot of bloodshed and just… a lot of stuff happening.

The last third of the book really held my attention and, more than once, especially in the last chapter, I had to catch my breath because I was so anxious as to what was going to happen next, how it was going to play out, and if the plan was going to succeed.

Overall, I found that the last third of the book was much more enticing and dynamic than the first two thirds, but that’s not to say it was a bad read. I actually really enjoyed the book and found myself hooked into reading it, despite the flaws that I personally found. And I can’t wait to read the sequel; it’s going to be so good. THAT ENDING THOUGH. UGH, MY HEART.

★★★★☆

Darkfever Book Review

darkfeverTitle: Darkfever
Series: Book #1 in the Fever series
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Publisher: Dell
Publication Date: October 1, 2006
Genre: Adult – Urban Fantasy
Pages: 347
Format: Purchased Paperback

When MacKayla’s sister was murdered, she left a single clue to her death, a cryptic message on Mac’s cel phone. Journeying to Ireland in search of answers, Mac is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to master a power she had no idea she possessed – a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae.

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysteriou Jericho…while at the same time, the ruthless V’lane – an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women – closes in on her. As the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: to find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book – because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control both worlds in their hands.

As this book had faeries in it, I was instantly intrigued. I’ve always loved faeries and reading about the Fae and their world, so when I picked this book up I was instantly intrigued. This book also had a great premise: a grieving sister seeking vengeance for her sister who was murdered overseas. That alone also had me wanting to read this book.

When I read it, though, I wasn’t totally sold on it, but there was still enough of the book that had me wanting to know what would happen next that I’m definitely going to continue onto the next book.

When the book started, it had me hooked – I HAD to know what would happen next. But as MacKayla was doing more in Dublin, I was actually kind of annoyed with a lot of her decisions and felt that some of the other characters had a lot of similar personalities, so they kind of blended in together.

But I will say that I did enjoy reading about the Fae and the different types within this book, and that there was a whole other world that was joined with ours that was right under our noses. That sort of aspect of the world building intrigued me by far. The Shades, the Gray Man, the Many-Mouths-Thing, all of the different kinds of Fae were interesting and held their own sort of stories and folklore behind them that really made them come to life on the pages.

So let me talk a bit about MacKayla and some of the other characters. MacKayla was kind of really prissy in this book. I found a lot of what she said or thought to be annoying in the way a bratty kid who got everything she wanted and her way to be said. The tone came across that way on occasion – not always. She also praised her appearance way more often than was necessary. Don’t get me wrong – appreciation of one’s own beauty is perfectly fine, but when it feels like it’s every other chapter, it can be a little bit overbearing.

Other times I thought that she acted like any other normal person would in that situation, or she acted like how her blood called to her and who she was. Overall I wasn’t totally thrilled with her character, but I’m hoping she’ll mellow out in the upcoming books and really hone her skills as a sidhe-seer. I was a little sad we got to see so little of her sidhe-seer skills in this book, but then again, it was only the beginning.

Jerico Barrons was a mysterious character throughout the whole novel. He acted much more mature than what his age perceived him to be, and that kind of threw me for a loop. He was very sort of domineering, always trying to be in charge, and Mac was always butting heads against him. I really want to get to know him better because I really don’t feel like I got a true feel for him, but I do have my theories that he, himself, is a Fae – we’ll just have to see if that theory is true!

V’lane, the Fae who drives human women to want sex like crazy, was also just as mysterious and only made two appearances in the book, but both times were highly erotic in ways that didn’t really involve touching or anything of the sort. His character just felt kind of put in there to me, like he was just there for certain plot points, but I’m sure he’ll make more appearances in further books.

Other than that, I really hope that the plot grows and that the characters grow, too. I felt like this book could have been a lot better and included so much more.

That’s also not to say this book was bad! Some of the descriptive elements helped to paint the picture of Dublin and the state in which it is in, and also it held elements that made me wondering what will happen next. If you want to give it a shot, definitely do so, but just remember that this is the first book in the series and that it’s just laying the foundation for the rest of the series.

I give this book a 3.5/5 stars and recommend it to anyone looking to get into some more adult urban fantasy.

Stardust Book Review

stardust

Title: Stardust
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks – an imprint of HarperCollins
Publication Date: This edition: August 29, 2006 (originally published in 1998)
Genres: Adult – Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
Pages: 250
Format: Purchased Paperback

“Stardust” by Neil Gaiman is a story about a young man, Tristran Thorn, who goes out into Faerie after seeing a falling star with the girl of his dreams and vows to get it and bring it back for her – and she would give him whatever he desires. On his journey to the star, he discovers that the star is a young girl and the two of them set off on a harrowing journey back to Wall, the town where Tristran is from. Along the way they encounter many friends and foes, and the tale which is spun is one that is in itself unique and inspiring.

This book was beautiful. The writing style that Gaiman presents in this short novel is lovely and unique, and it spins the tale of Tristran very wonderfully, while also weaving in tales of other characters within the story that all eventually come together in a great wrap-up of a conclusion.

When I first started reading the book, I was unsure of what to expect, but as I continued on, I felt that I was engrossed in the world and that the characters and everything around them came to life in my imagination. The story telling was fantastic and the plot itself was unique, but one of which could be told over and over again.

I thought the character of Tristran was one definitely of a boy growing up in the world, one of which he started as naive and stubborn, but also he seemed very gentle-hearted and kind. As he journeyed through Faerie he learned more and more about the world and how each thing that is said or done in Faerie has a price that comes with it (rules, rules, rules!). He definitely has growth and development within the novel and toward the end I can see where he has finally learned all there was for him to learn as he made his way back to Wall.

Yvaine, the star, grew along with the story, as well. She played the part of loathing captive to gentle young woman as the story progressed. I believe she was part comic-relief a few times in the novel, but there wasn’t much humor in the book that was outright and in your face. It was more subtle and hidden within the pages.

The characters that dotted the story throughout, from the witch-queen to Septimus and Primus, to all the others in between, played integral and important roles throughout Tristran’s story, for sure. I thought that the way they were all introduced separately in their own story lines, and then brought together at the end for a clean ending, was well done and made the story that much better.

The plot, too, was one of which is unique and could be told a thousand different ways, but I enjoyed the story of a boy seeking to please his true love, only to find himself on a difficult journey and getting an outcome much different from what he expected. It was a fun, grand adventure, and this book is definitely one of my top five favorites for the year.

(Also, I read his name as Tristan, not Tristran. Very slight difference that I didn’t notice until halfway through the novel.)

I rate this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.