This book surprised me. For about the first 100 pages or so, I was sure I wasn’t going to like it and may not even finish it. But eventually it pulled me in and I found myself pretty caught up in the story.
The protagonist of The Cruel Prince is a teenager named Jude, a human who lives in Faerie with her human twin sister Taryn and their fairy half-sister, Vivi. They live with Vivi’s father, who is wrapped up in the various intrigues and violence of the Faerie High Court. Jude and Taryn have mostly tried to stay under the radar since they were forced to move to Faerie after their parents were murdered, but a group of fey bullies, led by Prince Cardan, one of the sons of the King of Faerie, are determined to make their lives hell.
This book is YA, and the YA writing style is little jarring with the material. This was the main reason I didn’t think I would like the book, and even by the end there were several plot points I could take or leave. But the main story, as Jude’s determination to have her revenge on Cardan, and really all of Faerie, grows, eventually got to a point where I found it extremely compelling. Jude, who’s been brutally mistreated by fey since arriving in Faerie, grows more and more hardened as the book goes on. By the end, she’s ruthless and violent and really, a pretty interesting character. I enjoyed reading about her.
There are some negatives–I don’t love the writing style (why is it such a YA convention to write things in the present tense? I find that so annoying). There’s a love triangle that didn’t make much sense to me. And there’s far too many characters to keep them all straight. But I liked Jude, I liked her arc, and I liked the way the book ended. I’m not rushing out to get book 2 right this minute, but I probably will pick it up some time.