I’ve read a few of Holly Black’s other novels dealing with faeries which were alright but not bad, and hearing good things about The Cruel Prince, I figured it was worth a read! And it was quite an entertaining YA novel, though I can’t say that I loved it.
The Cruel Prince begins with three young sisters living in the human world: two twins named Taryn and Jude, and an older sister who is actually half-human-half-fae named Vivienne (or Vivi). The three live with their mother and father, until the father of Vivi returns to bring his daughter back to the faerie world, and also takes the other two siblings with him. From there, we follow Jude at the age of 17, years after coming to the faerie world, and trying to find her place. It is a time of some unrest as a new King is rumored to soon be crowned, and while Jude wants nothing more than to be a knight, she soon finds herself embroiled in a world of intrigue and underground conspiracy.
This story involves some fun twists and turns, and the ending is definitely a catalyst for what is to come in the series as more instalments come out. It is a fun read with an engaging protagonist and side characters with lots of quirks. But I couldn’t help but feel a bit of a predictability of it all, especially in terms of some of the relationships that developed. And if there were some twists in these relationships, they seemed a bit forced (ie, conflicts over boys). Though I will say that characters faults are not immediately brushed over for a speedy redemption arc, but there is a certain trope that is lightly being hinged on in the he’s-mean-because-he-likes-you and he’s-bad-because-his-home-life-is-bad. And you know what, these are real things that happen and shape people’s personalities, but they are also not excuses. And I’m not saying Black is trying to excuse behavior, but it’s a tight balancing act that I’m not really falling on the side of liking.
Aside from these aspects though, The Cruel Prince is still an intriguing story of court politics and deceit. There is also a vibrant and exciting depiction of the faerie world on display here, and while I didn’t know the meaning of all the words and all the different types of creatures found there, I never felt like this was dragging me down. I will be interested to maybe see where the story goes from here with the next books in the series, but it won’t be at the top of my list.
CBR10 Bingo Square: And So It Begins