Chapter 1: In Faerie, there are no fish sticks, no ketchup, no television.
Can I just say that is some way to start a book! The Cruel Prince did not disappoint.
I love it when I read something and it feels so fresh and exciting. There are few books that can seriously get me hooked, you know the kind, where you have to force yourself to put it down because you suddenly notice it is 3 am and you have work in a few hours. The Cruel Prince is definitely one of them.
I picked up a copy of this book for a few reasons. Being an avid lover of fantasy and all things associated with Fae and Faerie the blurb had my interest piqued. There was also an immense amount of buzz online, with my instagram feed blowing up about how wonderful the book was. And being unable to control myself in a bookstore I just had to buy it to see what the fuss was about.
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed in the royal court but mocked and tormented by the Faerie royalty for being mortal. As Jude grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong.
But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan …
Dramatic and thrilling fantasy blends seamlessly with enthralling storytelling to create a fully realised and seductive world, brimful of magic and romance.
First off the artwork gracing the cover and throughout the book is gorgeous. The little illustrations spread throughout feel childlike whilst the cover is striking with a sophisticated adult-like air, which perfectly captures much of the sentiment portrayed through the book.
The novel follows a human girl named Jude, who is whisked away from our world into the world of Faerie. Mercilessly Jude, and her sisters, are cruelly mocked and tormented by the Court they now reside it. In order to survive, she realises she will have to be just as cunning and deceitful as the Fae themselves. With the odds stacked against her, and Prince Cardan at every turn undermining her, Jude learns to wield her greatest weapon against them all. Her ability to lie. The one thing the Fae cannot do. Lying is easy until she gets swept up in the politics and power of being amongst the Fae, and she risks loosing it all if she makes one wrong move. Trained for knighthood to becoming a spy to changing the fate of Faerie forever, Jude is not the powerless and weak mortal they all believed her to be.
I really enjoyed reading The Cruel Prince. It was a breath of fresh air compared to other Fae based novels I’ve read. It’s a dark and intriguing read that doesn’t shy away from the darker parts of what it means to be human. It kept often kept me guessing and included some twists I did not quiet see coming. There were moments that were predictable, but even the predictable was always paired with an exciting twist I did not foresee.
I liked the fact that the chapters when we are transported to our world that Jude and her sisters really were doing mundane, human activities; going shopping, having coffee, talking like sisters would about trivial things. The realness of those scenes and how they interact with a world they once belonged to are genuinely some of my favourite. It’s in these quieter moments that the magnitude of what makes Jude unable to return to that world so clear. Yes, she was born human to this world, but whisked away at a young age and raised in Faerie she is far from being able to act human.
There are moments of excessive violence and cruelty towards Jude that made some sections uncomfortable to read, but it is what also shows her incredible strength and resilience. She never backs down even when afraid, a quality that drives her throughout the book to do some incredible and horrible things in the name of survival and family.
Overall I enjoyed The Cruel Prince and would definitely read it again. It easily sits amongst my top reads over the last few years and I’d recommend anyone who enjoys A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas, or the Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, to add this to their reading list.
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