Popular books are hard for me to get into. That’s not me being elitist, that’s me not wanting to set a book up for failure. If all I hear is how incredible a book is, it gets me really excited and then there’s a higher chance of being let down when it might not even be the book’s fault. I feel that it can be better to give a book some breathing room before I pick it up so I’m more likely to go in with few expectations.
That being said, I think that a year was far too long for me to get to The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.
Jude is a human girl in Faerie, raised by the very fae who killed her parents, she and her sisters have a life unlike any other mortal in the realm. With the High King ready to step down, Jude gets caught up in a number of plots dealing with the King’s messy family. Including her sworn enemy, Prince Cardan.
What I liked the most about this book was actually Jude. She is cold-bloodedly vicious, trained to fight her heart out, and yet still manages to get giddy over gowns and fabric and parties. Nine times out of ten, the fighting female lead suffers from “not like the other girls” syndrome, but Jude is still classically feminine as well as cut-throat.
Another aspect I liked was actually one of my failed expectations. Based on what little fanart I’ve seen along with out-of-context snippets on Twitter, I went into this book expecting a bordering-on-obnoxious romance between foul characters. What I got was a sexy kind of hatred that was so far from the central plot of the book, I almost forgot that I was expecting a love story at all.
The atmosphere of this story is anything but your typical fae novel and really exceeded what I was expecting. It was violent and magical and the way the plots of the royal family tangle up in each other is so well planned and wonderfully executed (no pun intended for those of you who have read it already). Considering the negative critique I heard about this book was that it was just like any other fae story, I could not disagree more.
Holly Black was an author of my childhood and I couldn’t be more impressed with her now. I look forward picking up the sequel, The Wicked King, available now.