Review: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) – Holly Black

A few years ago I had a subscription to OwlCrate only to cancel in favour of buying the boxes that I felt represented my reading tastes.

However, as they have grown as a company, OwlCrate has started to add perks of being a subscriber that include exclusive covers, signed novels, and in my opinion better themes, which began to make it hard to purchase past boxes.

When I missed out on the November 2017 box, I still dream of owning the Expecto Patronum toque, I made the decision to not regret missing out on a box and renewed my subscription.

Did OwlCrate’s book pick make me happy in my decision to subscribe for January 2018? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.

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TheCruelPrince_9780316416948_OwlCrate_F1.inddThe Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (January 2, 2018)

Print Length: 370 pages

Audiobook Length: 12 hrs and 36 mins

Narrator: Caitlin Kelly

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.

The Review

Holly Black is the queen of pacing. From the start, with the murder of Jude’s parents, to end, with that twist, Black had me caught, hook, line, and sinker. While I struggled a tad with her writing, as it was on the young of the ‘Young Adult’ spectrum, the way in which she takes well known aspects of the world of faeries and rejuvenates them more than makes up for my personal preference.

Character development is where Black truly shines. Jude is a blunt, dark, take no prisoners type of protagonists who knows what she wants and will let nobody stop her. I couldn’t have been more happy than to see what she made of herself in The Cruel Prince’s epilogue and cannot wait to see her growth in future novels. I also enjoyed that while there was a hint of romance between Jude and a certain someone (no spoiler’s here) Black was more interested in making her motives family driven, giving YA a much needed rest from the faerie romance. On the opposite side of the spectrum I hope Black drops an anvil in the style of Wile E. Coyote on Taryn. Hands down one of the most annoyingly terrible characters I’ve ever had the displeasure to read about. Jude does everything in her power to do what is best for her family and Taryn is over in left field thinking only of herself. Hopefully she gets her comeuppance in either The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) or The Queen of Nothing (the Folk of the Air #3).

I guess where The Cruel Prince didn’t end up as a five star rating is with just how unreliable all of the characters were. I understand that faeries are suppose to be unreliable and that Black wanted all of her characters to sit in a morally ambiguous gray area, but by the end of the book I felt as if I had just ran a mental marathon. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but to constantly question every piece of dialogue, information, and setting was just a little too draining for me.

All I can say to wrap this up is, after the way The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) ended, the 2019 publication of The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) is going to be a hard to stomach. Way to go OwlCrate.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo

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And those are my thoughts on The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black. Do you have any faerie recommendations that you think I should check out? Leave it as a comment below and help my TBR grow.

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