Title: The Cruel Prince
Series: The Folk of the Air (Book One)
Author: Holly Black
Target Age Group: YA
*Review contains spoilers
“Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.”
As most of you know, this book was/is extremely hyped up. Everyone on Book Twitter continue to chat about The Folk of the Air series. I am a sucker for “the fae” in YA books so I had high hopes for it (as I do for most books I pick up).
The opening definitely had me intrigued and ready to see WTF Jude’s world was going to be like in the Fae world after the events of the prologue.
I buddy read this with Ellie from The Ellie Effect on Booktube. I loved talking about this book with Ellie and sharing our thoughts and predictions. She and I ended up having similar thoughts. I read this while I was battling a case of strep throat. I will forever associate this book with ER visits and being dehydrated.
Plot and Setting
The world building and plot ratio was satisfactory. I am not a reader that enjoys an extensive world with info dumping and over explanation. I need a good balance of plot and world description. I think Black did a good job on this because I wasn’t finding myself bored of reading about the world. I also like the world itself and its pretty neat how there is a sort of veil between Fae and reality.
The “plot twist” was pretty obvious for me. [[incoming spoiler]] The fact that the Oriana isn’t Oak’s mom is pretty damn obvious once Liriope (Locke’s mom) background was given. What gave it away: “7 years ago she and her baby died (paraphrasing)” PLOT TWIST. BABY ISNT DEAD AND ITS OAK! color me surprised /saracasm/.
This read more like a contemporary story because of the relationship dynamic happening at “school” between Jude and her peers. I was expecting more of a A Court of Thornes and Roses vibe but after reading it, I would not mark the two as similar stories.
I ended up not really liking any characters besides Viviane. I know the strife between Cardan and Jude is the major plot point in the story but I wasn’t expecting him to be such a blatant asshole to Jude. Yes I know the title says The Cruel Prince but I just don’t understand why so many fans are shipping them together. Like, why would Jude like him anyway? He would be an abusive prick if they ever managed a relationship together because the guy clearly has some serious baggage. And then, theres NO REASON that he hates her. He even admits that there is no real reason besides his own fucked up insecurities. RED FLAGS RED FLAGS RED FLAGS.
Jude is annoying and I try to reconcile this with the fact that she’s so young and that I need to understand this may be a ME PROBLEM and not a character problem. She’s a teenager so her choices and attitude are bound to be a little frustrating due to her age. This seems to be a common problem I have with YA and I’m trying to work through it because I do mostly enjoy the genre.
The whole Locke, Taryn, and Jude sub plot didn’t seem like it fit in with anything. Why did Taryn not just straight up tell her sister what was going on? That whole dynamic is fucked and I can see why Black didn’t spend much time creating a bond between Jude and Taryn because we are obviously not supposed to like her (I don’t) so I think her goal was reached.
One more thing that just didn’t make sense was how sympathetic Madoc was to Jude and Taryn. We are supposed to believe that the man is pure evil and heartless when he spared the lives of the twin children? He not only let them live, he RAISED them like his own children. It just doesn’t fit the profile of the character who dips his cape into the blood of the kills he makes.
I liked the story enough to want to keep reading but I’ve been told that I might just end up more frustrated at The Wicked King because shit does not improve on the Cardan and Jude front. I really just want Jude to find someone who treats her nice and not fall for the guy who is shitbag to her (and I don’t care if he has his reasons for being a dick, his behavior is still no excusable).
3.5 stars overall. Just left me feeling frustrated and confused about the relationships between the characters.