“What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.”
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
Honestly, I've known I'd love this SINCE BEFORE IT HAD A TITLE OR BLURB. Why? Because it was written by Holly Black, and y'all, she is talented as heck, and has created some of the most imaginative stories I've ever read. And she basically only deals in morally gray character, so that's even cooler. That said, I don't think I was prepared for how good this was??
Here are all the über-awesome things you need to know about The Cruel Prince:
👑 I HAVE SO MANY CONFLICTED FEELINGS! Which, yes, is kind of weird, but in a good way, I swear!! Okay, so first, the characters are epic and not a little morally gray, so deciding how I felt about them was hard at times. I mean, Madoc, for example? He is bad, but also nice, but then he was bad again, but, I guess, not that bad?? See, I AM SO CONFLICTED. And then the ship - which I'm not sure counts as a ship, tbh - or my feelings about Taryn, and so many parts of the novel are just hard to decide what to think of. WHICH IS SO NICE AND REFRESHING, and it's a great thing to still be thinking about this book days after finishing it.
“I stand in front of my window and imagine myself a fearless knight, imagine myself a witch who hid her heart in her finger and then chopped her finger off.”👑 Sisters!!! Okay, so, Taryn was 99% spineless, and if she suffers in the sequels - and I have an inkling she will - I will *not* weep for her sorry ass. (I mean, I probably won't... although, Holly Black can do anything, so who the heck knows?) BUT VIVIAN AND JUDE WERE SO EPIC. It was amazing to see how massively different they were, yet how much they loved, trusted and respected each other. Yay for sister-power!! Ah, and their love for their little bother was adorable and so genuine and precious. I LOVE THESE GIRLS, BASICALLY.
“But I will not stand in front of your happiness. I will not even stand in front of misery that you choose for yourself.”👑 Jude was so deliciously morally gray and complex. She is, on the one hand, a total softie when it comes to her family, and she'll fight till death for those she loves. BUT she will do literally anything to get what she wants, no matter how many people she has to lie to or betray. AND I LOVE HER FOR ALL OF THIS. And she also isn't one of those characters who always has an excuse for doing 'bad things', she just like, "yep, that's what I have to do, fine". AND WHEN SHE GETS HERSELF INTO A DANGEROUS SITUATION?? She does NOT stop to feel sorry for herself, but continues to work her ass off, and make the best of the situation.
👑 Around 95% of the book takes place in the fey world, and the scenery is freaking gorgeous and lush, and at times it is scarily easy to forget that this place can be wicked and awful and so, so, SO dangerous for humans. So, haha, it's all fun and games for Jude, who IS 100% human. Holly Black does such an epic job of presenting the ups and downs of living in this world, and manages to paint a fully-fleshed out, ridiculously easy to imagine picture. Ah, also - note: this is the book worth reading from the first word to the last, trust me on that.
"Nicasia's wrong about me. I do not desire to do as well in the tournament as one of the fey. I want to win. I do not yearn to be their equal. In my heart, I yearn to best them."👑 Finally, if you like dark books, you'll looove The Cruel Prince, I tell you. Like I said, morally gray characters all around, but also, lots of backstabbing and betrayal, cruel games, and so much murderrrr. I was worried at the beginning, because there were certain plot-twists I saw coming, but Holly Black so made up for these when the killings started. AND, MY GOD, the ending left me gasping for breath, and angry that I have to wait for the next books. *cries*
👑 Also, this is kind of a side note, but this is one of the most quotable books I've read in a very long time, and I'll definitely be rereading it just for the purpose of collecting my favorites from it. (I first read this for the 24in48 reading challenge, so I didn't have the time for this.)
“If you hurt me, I wouldn't cry. I would hurt you back.”