The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Release Date: January 2nd 2018
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Format Read: eBook
*Review originally posted at Ideally Inspired Reviews.
As far as prologues go, this one had one of the strongest I’ve ever read. It introduced the plot, the characters, the world, and the feel of brutality and danger we’d constantly feel throughout the book in the most perfect way.
However, despite such a strong hooking beginning, the story started to feel a bit flat to me. There were some scenes that felt like the most cliché high-school drama except set in a fantasy world and I did not appreciate that at all.
I was also very conflicted in regards to the main characters. I thought Jude’s relationship with Madoc was SUPER interesting, complex and something I’ve not really seen before. But that added to me not being able to empathize or relate to her in the slightest.
I had a really hard time connecting with Jude. I couldn’t relate to her feelings about the fairy world as much as I tried, even if I did understand them. And Cardan seemed to be that cliché bad boy with a sad background that was a total bully to her and I didn’t like that side of their relationship at all. Some of the things he did were too unforgivable for me. I was literally so upset and wondering how on earth I would be rooting for them romantically because I hated the very idea of it.
But that’s where things got interesting. After the first half of the book, it was like I’d entered into an upgraded version of the story because it only went up and up and I think I’m still speechless by how freaking good that whole part was.
The plot took shape and picked up a great pace. There was so much happening and the story got me more and more invested… so much that I couldn’t have stopped reading if I tried. It had so much action and mystery, a GREAT political intrigue and some of the BEST plot-twists I’ve read in YA.
The characters suddenly started clicking with me as well. I could finally connect with Jude and see past her reckless dumb self… she was actually SO FREAKING SMART, and badass, resilient and daring, and she kept surprising the hell out of me until the very last page.
As for Cardan, his character development and the more scenes we finally got from him really helped and changed my feelings for him. Turns out he was also smart and brave and I ended up connecting with him SO WELL. I am officially obsessed and in love with this guy.
Against all odds, I am also shipping them super hard now. The sexual tension was amazing! Super explosive and hot. But at the same time, it’s such a slow burn that allows for a great development and dynamic. I was really shocked by how great of a team they were. Because for real, they work SO WELL together and when they join forces, BIG THINGS HAPPEN. I loved that and I can’t wait for more.
My big shout out in regards to secondary characters goes to Vivi. I absolutely loved everything about her, she was my favorite from beginning to end. Super relatable and funny, and I adored her attitude in regards to her father and the fae.
I really really loved Holly Black’s world-building in this book, it absolutely pulled me in and gripped me so hard, and I haven’t felt this way for a fictional world in a while now. I really hope we delve more into it in the next books.
As for the fae, they were super interesting and an amazing species to lead our story. This felt like reading Sarah J. Maas’, but the book and characters being better (sorry not sorry). Holly Black’s writing was beautiful and now I really want to check out more of her work.
The ending went places I never expected or imagined and I am absolutely hooked and obsessed. I seriously can not wait for the next one.