I received a proof copy of The Cruel Prince at YALC, and never got around to reading it. Once it published, this January, and was in several book subscription boxes, I decided I would give it a go. Dark fae, royalty, a human in a High Court of treacherous faeries? There was certainly a lot to recommend this one.
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.
Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
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.
Objectively, I think this is a great book. It’s got faeries, and stabbings, intrigue, political games, and a set of siblings who love and hate each other all at once. Jude is a great and complex main character, stuck between her two sisters as they all try to find their place in the High Court as human or half-human members of their ‘father’s’ household. Torn between wanting to fit in and hating the man who murdered her parents, Jude doesn’t know what to do, and when palace deceptions and intrigues arise, she becomes hopelessly embroiled in them, unable to see the way out.
Subjectively, I found it hard to get into this. I picked it up and put it down several times, not really enjoying the beginning chapters. It felt like a little bit too much exposition and explanation, and not enough stabby stabby action.
BUT when I eventually sat myself down and got into it, the stabbing increased manifestly, and I was hooked. From when I properly got into the story, I had it finished within a day.
There are two more books in this trilogy slated to be published in 2019 and 2020, and I’m very much looking forward to their publication. The Cruel Prince has echoes of the Fae from Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters series (unsurprisingly, as CC and HB write together), and as far as I know, this book isn’t inconsistent with being set in the same world as Holly Black’s Modern Faerie Tales (the first of which, Tithe, is only 99p on kindle this week).
So, while slow to get into, I thoroughly enjoyed this stabby faerie tale, and am eagerly awaiting the followups.