I must start by saying it has been a very long time since I read an epic fantasy book that grabbed my attention and held it like The Cruel Prince by Holly Black!
As an author of epic fantasy myself, I tend to over analyze and over think the plot of a book I’m reading, so much so that I can’t just enjoy the read. Well, I didn’t have that problem at all as I read The Cruel Prince. Black sets us up from the get go, showing us Jude, our main protagonist’s world, in which her parents have been killed by her mother’s Ex, when she was seven, and she and her twin sister have been taken from Earth to Fairie so the Ex can be the chivalrous guardian of she and her sister who he just made orphans. Now if that isn’t a warped start to a brilliant fantasy, I don’t know what is. LOL!
But things just get “better” from there. Black addresses the issue of bullying. In this case, fairies consider humans not just beneath them, but scum to be trodden upon. She gives the reader insight into the world of those who are bullied right along with that of those who bully. In this case, she allows us a front row view into the life of the bully as played principally by the crown prince, Cardan—handsome despite his cruelty.
Black is a master Tease, a quality I thoroughly enjoy in all authors *clears throat* (What? Who me?). Her depiction of Jude and Cardan’s interactions definitely left me sensing their relationship, while quasi adversarial at the moment, just might blossom into something more. Granted there will be a long road to have these two characters grow and develop, but based upon how the book ended, I do believe we are in process. *rubs hands* LOL!
So, all of this before I even touch on what I most loved about this book… fairie politics! Be still my heart, the number of plots and subplots and sub sub plots all going on simultaneously is seriously brilliant. Black leads us down one path and gives we mere mortal readers the opportunity to piece the mystery together before revealing enough to have us gasp at the revelation. Over and over again she does this. And not to spoil anything, but the reveal with her half brother was awesome. The pieces all came together, but you didn’t see it until that point.
As I said, I thoroughly enjoyed this read and give it 5-stars. If you’re looking for a great epic fantasy, along with mine of course (Lullaby. LOL!), I highly recommend The Cruel Prince. I cannot wait for the next book in the series!!!
Get The Cruel Prince on Amazon.