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.

★★★★☆

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Every Magic Lover Should Read

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday as hosted by the lovely people over at The Broke & the Bookish. Today’s topic is books that every ___ should read. We got to pick the kind of person we wanted to recommend books to, and I chose people that enjoy reading about magic!

 

1 . Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. Honestly, did you not expect this to be on the list? I find that the magic in this world is something that we, as children, definitely wanted to have when we were younger. And we’re all still waiting for our letter.

2. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. This story has a different sort of magic that relies on wishes and incantations. Though it’s mostly magic of a different kind, there are still elements and hints of a deeper kind of magic throughout the world.

3. The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. This trilogy has a different kind of magic system that focuses on Allomancy: the use of metals and the different types of metals having a different effect.

4. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. I think that the magic in this world is so complex and so interconnected to everything around it that it’s just really kind of cool. A lot of it is elemental, but there are some that are different and deeper like truthwitches, bloodwitches, threadwitches, etc.

5. Air Awakens by Elise Kova. This series has a lot of elemental magic of varying levels and degrees and I just love, love, love it.

6. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. You guys know me by now. Though the magic doesn’t really appear until the third book I find that when it’s used by people that it’s intimidating and strong.

7. Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi. I haven’t read or watched Sailor Moon in a bagillion years, but this classic magical girl story is one that should definitely be appreciated by anyone who wants silly, fun magic in their lives based off of the planets.

8. The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. If you love faeries and fey magic then definitely pick up this series. I need to reread it soon because I remember loving it and the magic in it.

9. Fushigi Yuugi by Yuu Watase. As my all time favorite manga series, I had to include this. The magic in this book is subtle and not too often, but it involves the main character being sucked into a book and having to live through a lot of things. Some magic does happen, but it’s a mysterious kind.

stardust

10. Stardust by Neil Gaiman. The writing itself may as well be magical, but this is another faerie story with a lot of faerie magic, tricks, and turns. I love this book and the beauty within it.

There you have it! Ten books that I think people who love magic should take a peek at. Some have more magic than others, and some vary in the kind of magic used, but I definitely think all of them are definitely worth checking out.

What books did you recommend today? What kind of magic books would you recommend to me? Let me know!

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Buzzwords

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday as hosted by Lainey of gingerreadslainey over on YouTube. Today’s topic is about the top five buzzwords that turn us on to books. These are the words that will draw us to a book no matter what the book is actually about.

I had to seriously think long and hard about my buzzwords because I’ve never really thought about it before, but here are my top five words that get me buzzing:

5. Magic/Super Powers

Who doesn’t love a little bit of magic in their lives? I love magical elements in books, whether they be elemental, mind powers, super strength, Allomancy, or whatever the case may be: I love magic. I think it’s mainly because magic doesn’t really exist in the real world, at least not the way it does in books, and I wish it did. If I could choose any magical ability it would be two things: the ability to fly and the ability to control the elements, kind of like the Avatar. Some of my favorite books with magical elements are: the Mistborn trilogy, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, the Shatter Me trilogy, and the Kate Daniels series.

4. Female Protagonist

I love females in the spotlight! Seriously, almost every book I read now features a leading lady at the forefront and I love it. Women are very strong, capable beings (and don’t get me wrong; male protagonists are cool, too!) and I highly enjoy seeing them in a position of power, so to speak. Some of my favorite heroines include: Celaena/Aelin from the Throne of Glass series, Lia from The Remnant Chronicles, Karou from the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Cath from Fangirl, and Vin from the Mistborn trilogy. All of these leading ladies have a huge role in the stories that they’re in, but they’re also flawed which I think makes them even more amazing.

3. Faeries

Okay, here’s a weird one, I guess? I love faeries. I love reading about them, seeing how they act in different worlds and stories, and though many of them are the same: cold, inhumanly beautiful, cunning – they are all just incredible. Each has their own personality and each has their own way of life. I love the diversity of the species and types and that not all of them are beautiful, but some are actually grotesque or cute or huge or tiny. There’s so much variety in them. Plus, I love the lore behind them and I find myself drawn to them in ways that’s hard to explain. Some of my favorites include: the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa, Trolls by Brian and Wendy Froud, and Stardust by Neil Gaiman.

2. Fantasy

This is a fairly broad and huge category, don’t you think? But if you honestly didn’t see this coming then where have you been since I started blogging? I love fantasy, whether it be high fantasy, urban fantasy, a touch of fantasy, whatever; if it’s fantasy, I’m all over it. Now that’s not to say that I love every fantasy book that I read, but I do enjoy a great deal of them and how authors are able to come up with such beautiful, vivid, detailed worlds. Some of my favorites are: the Throne of Glass series, the Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices, the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the Remnant Chronicles, the Song of Ice and Fire series, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, the Harry Potter series, and the Mistborn trilogy.

1 . Romance

Again, another broad topic, but this is my number one buzzword for books because, well, I love love. Love, and particularly romantic love, is one of the best things, in my opinion, in the world. Not just books, but the world. And to read about different types of romance is an extreme pleasure of mine. Honestly, if a book doesn’t have romance in it at some point then there better be a damn good reason as to why I’m reading it. I just love being able to see two characters come together and realize their feelings and how I see it happening from an early part of the story and it just makes it that much sweeter. Some of my favorite romances are: the Starbound trilogy (all of the romances are amazing), Jace and Clary from the Mortal Instruments series, Kate and Curran from the Kate Daniels series, Cath and Levi from Fangirl, Tamahome and Miaka from Fushigi Yuugi, Karou and Akiva from Daughter of Smoke & Bone, and so, so many more that I don’t want to list them all for fear of dragging this post out for too long.

So yes! Those are my top five buzzwords when it comes to books. Each one is very precious to me in its own way and I am pretty happy with that.

What are your top five buzzwords when it comes to books and why? Let me know!

Accompanying video: Top 5 Wednesday | Favorite Buzzwords

Genre: Fantasy

I love fantasy. I always have, really. Being able to read about another world with people who go through similar or more difficult trials than we do in real life is always fun, and reading about the creatures that are often placed into fantasy books always draws me in, as well.

Fantasy isn’t just constricted to high fantasy though, a term that means that it’s set in a whole other universe that there are few similarities to our world, and can include magic, mythical beings, sorcery, etc.

There is also low fantasy, which includes a tale written in our own world, but includes some form of magic or some other telling aspect that makes it fantasy.

There are more sub-genres of fantasy, but let me focus on those two for now.

High fantasy is my preferred story to read. Not only do I get to read about the characters in that setting, I get to imagine that world that the author created and built from the ground up in their minds. It’s incredible to think about. Imagine having to come up with your own system of magic, landscape, society, culture, etc. It’s mind blowing and it makes me feel kind of giddy inside.

Some books that I would recommend that involve high fantasy are:

  • The “Throne of Glass” series by Sarah J Maas. This is a six book YA fantasy series in which the first three books are out. It involves a kickass female assassin named Celaena Sardothian, an evil king, the king’s son, a royal guard, and lot of forbidden elements that fit into this world of no magic. “What? No magic?” It was banished by the king and as you read you find out why it was banished and how. It’s my favorite series to date, so why would I mention it?
  • The Ice Dragon” & “A Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R.R. Martin. As very popular books, it only fits to mention this series and a companion novel. Set in a world of royals, peasants, kings, and lots of blood and sex, this series is definitely high fantasy. Not only does it include swords, political intrigue, lots of fighting, etc, it includes creatures that are only seen in nightmares, and dragons. Can’t forget the dragons. It’s a very long series, but it’s engaging. I haven’t finished it yet as I’m still working on the first book. I have read and done a review on “The Ice Dragon.”
  • The Lord of the Rings” series by J.R.R. Tolkien. As a modern classic this trilogy is an epic fantasy adventure with hobbits, wizards, elves, dwarves, ogres, men, etc. Though I haven’t read the books in their entirety yet, I do plan to this year. I have seen the movies, though, so yay for references!

There are plenty more series I could list, but those give just an example of what high fantasy can be considered as.

Now for low fantasy, I personally think more of these exist than high fantasy, especially in YA. There are plenty of adult high fantasy novels, but there are also low fantasy ones. A few examples are:

  • The Iron Fey” series by Julie Kagawa. Though the setting mostly takes place in faerie, parts of the story take place in the real world, especially when it gets to the second and third book. It’s a story about faeries, a girl who discovers the truth about herself, love, danger, and more.
  • The “Firelight” trilogy by Sophie Jordan. This is a trilogy about dragons and love and the dangers of being a dragon in our world. With the magical aspect of dragons that can change into humans, but are being hunted by humans, it makes for a great low fantasy trilogy to read.
  • The “Vampire Academy” series by Richelle Mead. This series is about vampires (duh) that live in our world, but their society is set apart from ours. There are different classifications of vampires and humans and it includes romance, action, and danger. I haven’t finished this whole series, but I figured I’d still list it.

So those are a few examples of low fantasy books, but there are obviously many more books that include many different situations and everything other than what I’ve listed above.

Now I didn’t include sci-fi in this list because I believe that it deserves its own post, which will be coming soon!

I also didn’t include graphic novels or manga in these lists because there are so many different kinds that I wouldn’t know where to begin… Well, except with some of my favorites, but that’s for another post.

Fantasy is one of those genres that I believe will always flourish because there seems to be a need to escape the real world and reach out to ones that don’t (or might) exist.

What are some of your favorite fantasy books? Do you prefer high fantasy or low fantasy? Series, standalones, trilogies? Let me know in the comments!