The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Rating – 4.67 out of 5
In The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, Jude and her sisters do not belong in Faerie. Abducted as small children, they have grown up as fish out of water, trying to fit in where they don’t. As a budding adult, Jude is looking for an official place in the court, her options are as either a warrior for or a spouse of the faerie lords and ladies. While navigating this puzzle danger and upset loom as the High King of Faerie decides upon his heir out of his children.
“What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.”
– The Cruel Prince, Holly Black
Why I liked The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
I attended a signing of Holly Black for this novel and honestly fell in love. She read part of the prologue and answered many questions from many attendees much more familiar with her work than I am. Black reminded me of my best friend in many ways. Not only reminding me of an actual person but also just being understanding and empathetic to everyone in explaining her story. Listening to her about not only speak on The Cruel Prince but also her canonized universe around Faerie, was inspiring. I left knowing that I would not only devour this book, but I should seek out her other novels as well.
Reading the novel, I was impressed with how Black navigated the complexity around someone who grows up somewhere where they do not belong. I loved how Jude and her sisters often had different opinions of what they should do to fit in the culture, because of their unique perspectives. I enjoyed reading Jude’s journey from pawn to major player as she plays the game of the faerie court. With some of the other books I have covered (such as the books from Sarah J. Maas like A Court of Mist and Fury) the faerie aesthetic is softer, since they are YA novels. The Cruel Prince, while also about a person in the YA age range, had an aesthetic that is a little bit harder. The stakes felt higher and the cruelty is more intense. I thoroughly enjoyed it but could see how it could be upsetting to a younger audience. Overall, this was a particularly enjoyable faerie novel with complex, impressive themes.
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