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The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) Kindle Edition
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- ASIN : B071XQ6H38
- Publisher : Hot Key Books (2 January 2018)
- Language : English
- File size : 3623 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 385 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 149 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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That said, this book was just ok for me. I had two main issues;
1) The world. I just didn't find it all that believable. I've never really been super keen on books that seem to throw in extra 'species' just because. Why do there need to be faeries, pixies, goblins, hobbits, elves, mermaids, toads etc etc etc? Yes, I know it didn't have all of those specifically, but you get my drift yes? I feel like it just added unnecessary complication.
I didn't mind the idea of the mortal world against the immortal realm of faerie (why is it called faerie?? C'mon, surely it could have been called SOMETHING other than that), but just popping over the water to get some 'mortal jeans' just didn't quite work for me. Also there are giant toads in the stable with the horses (the horses are also weird colours)...... mmmkay.
2) I didn't really like any of the characters (with the exception of the Court of Shadows), they're all kinda horrible. I'm the kind of girl who wants to root for someone, but I found it really difficult to get behind any of these characters, especially the protagonist Jude. It seemed like they went nuts when someone said something mean, but 'you killed my parents in cold blood?', oh I can live with that.
With those gripes aside, I can certainly see why people would like it. The pace is pretty good and there's enough action to keep you hooked - I still got through it quite quickly. The end gives a nice little cliffhanger and was probably my favourite part (if slightly predictable), so I'll likely read book two to see where it goes. It won't be at the top of my TBR though.
I feel a little bad putting unlikeable characters as the first thing on the list of good things about this novel, but seriously it's a plus. Each of the characters are flawed, and while they may have their moments of kindness there's still the darkness of they fey underneath (or their own ambitions, or both). I loved almost all of them❤︎
Jude, her twin sister Taryn, and their older half-sister Vivi are taken to Faerie after their parents are murdered to live with Vivi's biological father Madoc. The book is told by Jude's point of view, and with that we get her opinions on the characters as well. Unlike her eldest sister she's determined to gain power in the world in spite of her tormenters and in order to make a place to belong. Taryn wants to fit in, and she'll do what she must in order to do so, while Vivi is adamant she's going back to the human world and she's going to live there with her girlfriend no matter what anyone says.
Also, because I don't believe this is a spoiler and because it made me smile, Vivi is referred to as bi and the word is actually used. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ I'm so happy~ a bi character being called bi instead of 'indecisive' or the like. Although, it is kind of implied that a lot of the fey are bisexual or have less scruples about gender than humans do in some cases, but I don't remember there being many more LGBT characters than Vivi and Heather and (possibly) a different couple later on in the book, though a joke is made about two male characters having a previous relationship, but it's brushed off in more of a 'no, it didn't happen' than an 'ew no we're both guys' kind of way.
Anyway, Prince Cardan and his friends are Jude's chief tormentors. The group reminded me a lot of F4 from the Japanese drama Hana Yori Dango/Boys Over Flowers if only because of the character types of Cardan (who reminded me of Domyouji) and Locke (who reminded me a lot of Rui) and their positions compared to Jude's, as well as the background of classes where a lot of their interactions took place in the beginning. Cardan is arrogant, childishly vindictive at times, and has a lot more to him than Jude expects. Locke, on the other hand, is easily bored with bullying and he seems less and less interested in the act of antagonising Jude and Taryn and more interested in Jude herself. Valerian is violent and of the group he's one of the more likely ones to start something with Jude. Nicasia is the daughter of a queen and her treatment of Jude only worsens once Locke starts taking an interest.
A major theme of the novel is that fey can not lie, but there's always a way around that. Wording is important in many novels to do with fey, and it's no different in this one. The morals of fey and their prejudice against mortals are shown time and time again throughout the novel, and it's fantastic. Their inhuman features are shown in more than just pointed ears and otherworldly beauty including different features of animals, different coloured blood, eyes of cats or goats or other creatures, lesser fey… they're all different and so clearly not human in comparison to Jude and Taryn. Fey actually looking like fey, I was so glad to see it❤︎
THE CRUEL PRINCE is slow to start, in fact it's less the romance and the incidents in Jude's classes that make it interesting, but the latter half with spies, political intrigue, and murder. Jude finds herself changing her perspective on a lot of characters, and finds herself plotting further than she originally thought she would. She comes to understand things a lot better because while she can lie, she has many moments where she's out of her depth and needs to learn and understand herself and the people around her more.
I adored the ending. I can't wait to see how things change in the next book especially after the chaos that everyone went through in this one. I want to see the deals and plots play out, and how much more will stray from what's been planned by the characters. I can't wait to see how things develop with Jude's relationships with the other characters as well, because while I had some misgivings for some of them I think they're definitely going to get even more interesting in the next one.
But this book was amazing! I did not pause in reading this books once. A straight 5 hours of reading and I hated it when it ended.
Jude was a likable, complex, flawed and ambitious heroine. I enjoyed her POV thoroughly! Shes a kick ass fighter and I really do admire her grit and will to be better than the faeries.
Cardan was...well he was horrible, but beneath it all I caught glimpses of a genuine broken hero. He shares a lot of tension and chemistry with Jude and I'm looking forward to the development of that in the next books.
What I love most is every character is complex. They go deeper than a villain or a hero, they have layers of good mixed in with the horrible that you cant really hate anyone. Their actions suck but ... they're not all bad. It complicated my head a bit with the back and forth but it gave the plot and characters more depth. Also more intrigue on who is to be trusted and not.
I have to mention this, Taryn is a rotten sister and hope a troll eats her.
Excited for the next book!!
Twin sisters, one who's soft and wants to marry well and the other who likes to play with knives and toxic court politics. Both sisters are damaged by traumatic childhood events but the way they react to them is interesting.
If the story had been told from the soft sisters side, it would have been a pretty hum-drum story but told from the darker twins view, there are far more twists in this fairy's tail.
And blood, there's plenty of blood.
Top reviews from other countries
I was therefore pleasantly surprised to discover that this is basically full-blown fantasy, with the focus very much on politics, plotting and life and death scenarios. It's also very strong on showing the emotional conflicts and inner turmoil faced by the characters, particularly the lead, Jude.
Speaking of Jude, I was expecting either a kick-ass fantasy heroine or a softer romantic lead. Again, my assumptions were dashed. She turned out to be a very dark heroine, bordering on antiheroine. She kills, she plots, she does ruthless things. And her backstory and her ongoing fears and ambitions are so well set out that you completely understand the things she does and keep rooting for her.
The supporting characters were also mostly compelling and nuanced. I particularly liked Madoc, Jude's adoptive father, a bloodthirsty fairy general who killed her biological parents but genuinely loves and cares for her. The unusual backstory and set-up really add a lot compared to the standard set up of a human girl either wandering into faerie by mistake or discovering she is half fairy herself. Jude has grown up as an aristocrat of the fairy world, but facing huge prejudice for being biologically human. And her feelings towards her adoptive father and adopted land are wonderfully conflicted.
The world is set out beautifully and strikes a nice balance between solidly well-developed and appropriately dreamlike. I didn't realise until close to the end, when a cameo made it clear, but this is set in the same world as the author's old Tithe novels. I didn't enjoy them as much as this, but I think the existence of all that existing world-building really helped here.
As I've mentioned, romance was much less front and centre than I was expecting, though it bubbles under the surface, There was a side romance that felt rather throw away and did nothing for me. It's quite clear from both the title and the entire set up that Cardan, the titular Cruel Prince, is meant to be the main love interest, though, without getting too spoilery, there's surprisingly little development on that front in this volume. If I had one quibble with the book, it's that I was a little disappointed in Cardan. I was expecting him to be a bit like the Darkling or similar - cruel in a scheming, sinister way, with lots of ambition but also lots of charm. In this instalment at least, he was more like a petty, spoiled school bully, albeit one who happened to be a fairy prince, and wasn't particularly competent. And the way he treated the heroine was unpleasant and not linked to any wider plan.
Overall though, this was a really well-written and well-plotted fantasy with a great heroine and I'm really looking forward to the next instalment.
My first time in Elfhame left a bad impression. I felt so out of step because everyone was gushing about The Cruel Prince and I was on the outside thinking ‘I just don’t get it.’ That’s partly why I do not like reading books mid hype.
A friend talked me into reading The Wicked King, a little longer in the world of Elfhame and I finally felt like I was starting to get it.
With Queen of Nothing on the horizon I decided to participate in a readalong with two people who haven’t yet stepped into the world Holly created.
Despite having read it… Despite knowing every twist and turn… I loved it.
I think people should be warned that this isn’t your typical YA story, you’ll step into Elfhame, you’ll be surrounded by cruel, beautiful, wicked creatures and you’ll probably question your own morals when you fall in love with them. There’s still plenty of characters I hate, don’t get me wrong but there’s a lot I can’t help loving.
It’s full of danger, betrayal, bloodshed, manipulation and cunning. Cunning above all else because the Folk cannot lie so they have to be especially clever with everything they say and do.
During my first read it was hard to grasp that along with the new world setting and everything else but this time I paid attention to every word.
If you’re like me, if you love everything fae and you’re unsure about this, my advice is to read it twice. Give yourself a wee break between reads and see where it takes you the second time around. I’m so glad I gave it another go. I am now really and truly obsessed.
Here’s one of my favourite moments;
“Take care,” he says, and then smiles. “It would be very dull to have to sit here for an entire day just because you went and got yourself killed.”
“My last thoughts would be of your boredom,” I tell him.
Unpopular opinion incoming. Boy, was this novel problematic. I’m going to start with the title. With a title such as ‘The Cruel Prince’, one would assume that The Cruel Prince (Cardan) would mean the story was centered around the prince or the prince would at least play a significant role in the book. However, there was neither. The novel is actually narrated by Jude, a human girl who was taken to Faerie at the age of seven and was raised among the gentry as if she was a fair folk princess. At this point, I had a feeling it wasn't going to bode well when I realized how misleading the title was.
Then we had the heroine Jude. Oh how I hated Jude. Jude despised the fair folk and yet she desperately wanted to be one of them. Hypocrite much? She often mentioned how cruel and selfish the gentry were but she literally did everything in her power to be just like them or crueler…believing it made her better than them. It’s not an admirable trait nor something to aspire to. Jude had a shitty personality to begin with but it got worst when she joined a secret organization and became a spy for a powerful fair folk. All the secrets went straight to her head. She went around threatening people and went as far as murdering a fair folk because she thought she was untouchable (she claimed self-defense but let’s get real she wanted to kill him). She never felt remorse for her actions and had little to no care for the consequences (and of course it helped that she hid all the proof). Many readers saw Jude as a strong, kick-ass heroine and her actions as self empowering. But she was not. Jude was nothing more than a disgusting and despicable human being. How anyone can like her is a mystery to me.
Before I read The Cruel Prince, I saw people ‘shipping’ Jude and Cardan. Readers normally ‘shipped’ couples they loved, so again, I assumed Cardan and Jude were a couple. And big shocker, they were never a couple! From the moment the two characters met, all I felt was the loathing, animosity and frustration between the two. Every exchange and interaction thereafter between Jude and Cardan resulted in either the characters insulting one another or physically attacking one another. I was baffled. Why would readers approve of this? In an early scene, Cardan shoved Jude against a wall/or tree and proceeded to choke her and tell her how beneath him she was. The male character was literally emotionally and physically abusive to the female character and yet readers found this behavior acceptable…and I dare say, romantic? It’s not cute or romantic. It’s sick, revolting and unacceptable. It may be a fantasy novel and everything was fake but when real people start romanticizing it, there’s definitively a problem. And the book is marketed to teens no less. I love a good fantasy novel, I even love faeries but this book is not appropriate for children. I am surprised the book was approved and published because it was absolute rubbish.
The writing was not any better. Reviewers praised Black for her lyrical prose and even dubbed her as the Queen of Faeries but I didn’t see it. The writing wasn’t beautiful or lyrical. It was simple and basic as they come. The world building and characters were poorly developed and in my opinion unremarkable and unlikable. I’ve read far better faerie novels with complex world building and multifaceted characters; and best of all they didn’t romanticize abusive/unhealthy relationships.
The Cruel Prince was one of the worst book I’ve read in the last couple of years. It seriously boggles my mind how many people love this book. As I mentioned, the writing was average, the world building unimaginative, the characters unlikable but it was still nothing compared to an aggressor disguised as a love interest and violence and cruelty disguised as bravery and strength. That's messed up and twisted if you asked me. And If you haven’t read this book yet, do yourself a favor and skip it. It’s not worth your time or your money.
Raised as mortals in the world of the faeries is a precarious, often dangerous and always brutal existence. The Cruel Prince follows Jude, now a teenager, as she aims to prove herself as more than just human, as a powerful warrior set to be chosen as a knight in a faerie court. However, Jude's hopes and aims do not go to plan, and soon she finds herself hired as a spy for one of the princes in line for the throne of Elfhame.
This is a novel of political machinations, of lies and brutality, of cruelty and beauty and brilliance.
Someone on GoodReads described it as the literary equivalent of being hit by a truck, and I think that sums it up pretty well.
There is so much to discuss in this novel that it is hard to know where to begin -- Jude's ambition, her sisters' secrets, Madoc's secret allegiances, cruel Cardan, beautiful Locke and the fruit! But I genuinely think it's best if you go into this book knowing as little as I did.
Jude is a brilliant, furious creature -- the product of murder, danger and brutality, strength built upon her fragility and weaknesses as a mere mortal, easily swayed and damaged by the world around her.
I know it is February (though I read this at the start of January) and so this is quite a ridiculous thing to say, but The Cruel Prince is one of my favourite books so far this year. The thing is I think its going to stay as one of my favourite books. I think I've found a new favourite author, and I honestly can't believe I've not read any Holly Black until this. I've already gifted a copy of this to a friend who loves her writing, knowing that they would absolutely need to read this -- and it also meant I have someone to talk to about my emotions.
I'm going to be counting the days until I can get back to Jude and her story; roll on the rest of The Folk of the Air series.
What to read next:
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The Call by Peadar O'Guillin
Der Anfang hat mir auch richtig gut gefallen, er hat mich geradezu angefixt. Die Welt fand ich interessant, man muss nicht lange warten, bis Action aufkommt, supi. Danach allerdings hat sich meine Begeisterung gelegt, wovon ich vieles darauf zurückführe, dass ich altersmäßig (26) langsam aus dem Genre Jugendliteratur wachse.
[Im Folgenden kommen kleine Spoiler]
Das größte Problem hatte ich mit den Charakteren. Jude ist als Hauptfigur gewiss keine Sympathieträgerin. Ich hatte schon in einer anderen Rezension gelesen, dass man mit ihr vielleicht nicht warm werde, und das ist auch wahr. Sie ist eigentlich ziemlich kacke und egoistisch, ohne dabei interessant zu sein. Darüber ist sie ein Übercharakter, der irgendwie alles kann, kämpfen, Intrigen spinnen, stehlen, etc etc. Der Autorin gelingt es in meinen Augen nicht, ihr einen richtigen Charakter zu geben, da ihre Entscheidungen häufig keinen Sinn ergeben und eher zum Weiterführen der Handlung getätigt werden. Dasselbe gilt auch für jeden anderen der vielen blassen Charaktere. Das hat mich richtig aufgeregt. Kaum einer der Personen hat mehr als zwei Charaktereigenschaften: Madoc/Bain/Cardan/jeder Fey ist grausam und hinterhältig, Vivi ist rebellisch, Jude ist nervtötend und undurchsichtig, Taryn ist nur nervig. Die Charaktere sind austauschbar, blass und langweilig. Das macht auch die kurze Liebesgeschichte überaus langweilig, kein Funke springt über, nichts. Irgendwann verfliegt auch die Dramatik, wenn jeder ständig, STÄNDIG, als grausam bezeichnet wird, weil z.B. Madoc kaum grausame Sachen macht und ebenso ständig gesagt wird, dass er Jude und ihre Schwestern liebt, und man das auch ebenso wenig sieht. Der Court of Shadows, dem Jude irgendwann angehört, ist so blass und so ohne Charakter, dass es wehtut. Ich war und bin sehr sehr enttäuscht. Dadurch, dass die Charaktere so blass sind, ist man dann auch mit wenig Sympathie dabei und wenn halt welche von ihnen sterben, dann juckt mich das kaum.
Ohne groß auf den Inhalt einzugehen, hatte ich auch mit der Handlung ein paar Probleme. Das Grundgerüst ist überschaubar, die "Überraschung" beim Ende sehr vorhersehbar. Sehr lange Zeit passiert kaum etwas, es geht nur um das Mobbing und Judes nervtötende Schwester und eine kleine Liebesgeschichte. Viele Dinge ergeben keinen Sinn und sind überdramatisiert dargestellt. Bis zum eigentlichen Finale passiert eigentlich nüscht. Obwohl man weiß, dass irgendeine Falle kommt, wird nichts getan. Das hat mich aufgeregt. Einen roten Faden habe ich auch nicht wirklich entdecken können, mir war sehr lange Zeit nicht klar, in welche Richtung das Buch denn nun eigentlich gehen würde, und auch die Auflösung war dann nicht wirklich überzeugend. Mit der schwachen Handlung kamen dann auch Logikfehler oder einfach Dinge, die nicht so gut passten. Es hat sich mir nicht erschlossen, warum Jude nicht einfach in die menschliche Welt abhaut. Es wird nie richtig erklärt, wie die Welten miteinander verbunden sind, dabei wäre das wirklich interessant gewesen. Die vielen Courts wurden einfach nur hingeklatscht, die Personen blieben vage im Gedächtnis. Die ganze Geschichte mit Taryn war so unnötig und nervtötend, dass ich das Ebook gerne in die Ecke gepfeffert hätte. Und dass man einfach zu verfeindeten Lagern hingeht und sagt: Hey, machste bei unserem Coup mit, und alle es abnicken, macht einfach keinen Sinn. Wie so vieles einfach zu blass.
Mein größtes Problem war, dass viele Dinge so oft erwähnt wurden, dass sie irgendwann ihr Drama verloren. Feys sind grausam - das wird durchgekaut, aber richtige Gefahr kam irgendwie nie so richtig auf, auch, wenn es für Jude mal eng wurde (dafür ist aber auch der Schreibstil mitverantwortlich). Jude hat Angst, ständig, immer, aber ihre Handlungen zeigen das wirklich NIE. Jemand, der Angst hat, handelt eher so wie Taryn. Die Autorin wird nicht müde zu erwähnen, wie viel Angst Jude je hatte und wie sie damit zurechtkommt, aber immer mehr Angst hat - es geht so viel um Angst, dass man bei dem Wort irgendwann nur noch die Augen verdreht.
Der Schreibstil war in Ordnung. Den ganzen Aufwand, den man auf das Beschreiben der Kleider verwendet hat, hätte man besser in gute Charakterbeschreibungen investieren können. Oft kam mir der Stil gelangweilt vor, so als wüsste die Autorin genau, wo sie denn hin will, und schreibt es deswegen so langweilig wie möglich herunter. Ganz oft haben mir Detailbeschreibungen gefehlt, von Reaktionen, Gesichtern, ich hätte gerne mehr richtige Dialoge gehabt, die mehr als nur Drohungen gewesen wären.
Ich komme langsam besser zum Fazit: Der Anfang war gut und die ganze Welt hat mir gut gefallen, da ist definitiv viel Potential drin. Ich hatte öfter das Gefühl, dass mit den ganzen royalen Intrigen auf Game of Thrones angespielt wird, ohne dabei auch nur annähernd das Niveau zu erreichen. Mit besser ausgearbeiteten Charakteren hätte man schon viel erreichen können. Vielleicht ist für die Zielgruppe 16+ ansprechend, mich hat es nicht überzeugt, und ich werde auch die Fortsetzung nicht kaufen.