Review: The Cruel Prince

This is not the best book I have ever read.

There are better written books, books that stand out more or that are a little more different than this book.

There are, however, not many books - this year certainly - that have left me this hungry for more because here is the thing: I really really liked The Cruel Prince. 

It's the first book I've read by Holly Black although I've obviously now added her whole entire backlist to my wishlist and it's the story of Jude who was 7 when her parents were murdered and she was taken, with her sisters, to live with the fae. The story is set ten years later: Jude is desperate to fit in, but doesn't quite because she's a mortal living amongst faeries - problematic, in part because more faeries hate humans. It's not the best. So Jude has this desperate all-consuming need to prove herself which means going up against the faerie prince, Cardan, who has made it his mission in life to torment her but then she discovers all this other stuff going on and she has to make a load of dubious choices and do her own share of conniving and lying and backstabbing and it's all so cruel and tense and good. Nobody here is an out and out good person and isn't that the most refreshing?

This book is wicked and the characters are marvellously flawed- Jude is scheming and ambitious and kind of dramatic - all of those things almost to a fault actually because wow she made some questionable choices; let's not paint her as perfect because she's not, but I love her anyway; her twin sister is a bit of a dick; Madon - the faerie who stole the sisters away is so morally grey it's delicious; Cardan, The Cruel Prince of the title is, well, cruel and selfish and also a bit of a dick (and yet somehow I also kind of wanted to smush his face a little bt what's that all about) - in fact there's a lot not to like in most of the characters in this book and I loved it. It's so refreshing, for example, to not have everybody fall at the feet of the male lead - yes, ACoTaR series, I am looking at you -, I loved that Jude is human and that she manages to hold her own and takes no bullshit even though actually it's pretty hard to be the human girl in the fae world. She's badass and I love it, I loved how she felt so much and how somehow that stopped her from being the bigger person - she wasn't here to be the moral of the story this girl, when something pissed her off she lashed out and I adored how relatable that made her. I love actually, that there are not many people in this book to love and yet somehow you're drawn to them anyway.

The worldbuilding here is so good also and that is such a deal breaker for me and it's so dark and twisted and delicious - these are not your Disney fairies, kids,  there is so much secrecy and deceit and manipulation the whole way through, from everybody. I LOVED IT.

I have such grabby hands for The Wicked King.