What Holly Black wrote one more time with the Cruel Prince is a book about faeries. The cruel faeries.
6 cruel stars
Holly Black IS THE Queen of Faerie
I won’t delve into the plot as you can read it above but I would rather focus on what made this book so special.
What I adore above all else with Holly Black’s books is that they come in all shades of grey. They are never white or black. No character is spotless.
The main characters develop in such a way that their soul is slowly eaten away. The become more intense, more focused and have to adapt to their dangerous environment. It’s like a cloud of dark ink is slowly tainting their soul and heart.
Jude was good but she had to adapt to survive.
Holly Black does not write fairy tales.
Holly black does not leave you with a rosy and unicorn feeling.
What Holly Black wrote one more time with the Cruel Prince is a book about faeries. The cruel faeries. The ones that trick you and have you dance till you die of exhaustion. The ones that will harass you because they see humans as worms and want to squish them.
Jude went into faerie coerced. She had no choice. She soon realizes that:” In Faerie, there are no fish sticks, no ketchup , no television.”
Humans are at the very bottom of the pond in Faerie. They are weak and vulnerable. Jude had to be taught 101 Faerie to be somewhat “safe”.
“It was Tatterfell who smeared stinging faerie ointment over my eyes to give me True Sight so that I could see through most glamours, who brushed the mud from my boots, and who wrung dried rowan berries for me to wear around my neck so I might resist enchantments. She wiped my wet nose and reminded me to wear my stocking inside out, so I’d never be led astray in the forest.”
Faeries make up for their inability to lie with a panoply of deceptions and cruelties. Jude and her twin sister will be bullied and tormented. So many time that she craves power.
She dreams of becoming a knight and have a master’s protection. But she will be a spy. In exchange for power. Because being human in Faerie is frightening. You are powerless.
She does not want to be like them. She wants to be better than them.
“Nocasia’s wrong about me. I don’t desire to die 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. “
If she has to become a monster to achieve her goal and protect her family then she will.
For years now she’s been silent, enduring Cardan’s mistreatment. But no more of it!
“You may win in the end, you may ensorcell me and hurt me and humiliate me, but I will make sure you lose everything I can take from you on the way down. I promise you this: this is the least I can do.”
Relentlessly she will counter the prince. She will resist. He will be unbalanced.
“It’s funny how you get under his skin.” “Like a splinter?” “Of iron”
Slowly Jude evolved from the abused good human to a rebellious girl ready to be corrupted by the faeries if it guarantees her safety and that of her family.
She became flawed, tainted, complex with conflicted feelings. I loved it! No bland character here but richly tri-dimensional heroes full of flaws, making mistakes, trying to adapt and survive.
Now about Cardan…
He was not easy to read. He also won’t be your all-powerful hero in this first installment. He’ll be rather powerless and honestly pathetic. For all his bullying he lacked substance to be a formidable hero.
But I’m convinced that’s because we’ll see a huge change in the sequel. He needed what Jude did to grow. That’s my deep conviction. Just watch and see him becoming a formidable hero.
It was simply enthralling. You have murder, secrets, betrayals and even more plot twists. Your friends will backstab you. Your own family will be deceitful. Your enemies will become allies around a common cause. You will do things you never thought you would have done. You will become someone you won’t recognize. Because Faerie is a cruel place you have to survive.
Recommend it? Hell yes!
Have you read it? Do you plan to? Or read any other Holly Black book?
Thanks for reading!