Monday, November 4, 2019

The Cruel Prince By Holly Black

Rating: ★★ + .5 | 8 hours 39 minutes| Hachette Audio | Fantasy | 1/02/18 

Here we go.

I'm a big fan of Holly Black's Curse Workers' series and I've always found it interesting that The Curse Workers series is SO unlike her other writings which feature witches, wizards and fae. Black has been writing YA about faerie for years and Curel Prince has been a big hit. I was intrigued because of the high review Kat gave it and was ready to dive in.

The book follows three sisters who are whisked away against their will to Faerie where they live among the gentry. But to truly earn a place among the Folk, they must make a way for themselves no matter the cost.

17-year-old Jude Durate is fierce and determined so when she has the opportunity to join the Court of Shadows, a group of royal spies, to ensure the next King of Faerie is crowned she takes her chance. I sort of wish the book was about this--but it wasn't. Jude's role as a spy in more of a side plot to make room for all the ...cruelness.

Honestly, I found the first 30% of the book kind of unpleasant, I didn't really enjoy watching the main character basically get tortured only to have her main tormentor, Prince Cardan, on the way to partially redemption at the end. It truly felt like we were supposed to look at the events that happened and understand he didn't mean for it to be that way. Because he can't stop thinking about her. Ugh.

There was a scene where we see Cardan being abused by his older brother and we learn he has a well-read copy of Jude's favorite book and I was like..nope. I see what you are trying to do here and no. I don't care how much eyeliner he wears and all the prose about his cheekbones.

Kat and I kind of disagree about what Black is trying to do with Cardan. I feel like she's setting him up to become our hero because the book s called CRUEL PRINCE. Maybe I'm getting old but I'm just not a fan of toxic males characters getting redeemed because they had a bad childhood or like the same book as the female main character.

Speaking of tormentors I also couldn't unsee Jude and Taryn as having Stockholm Syndrome. They are taken in by Madoc, their mother's ex-husband (WHO SHE RAN AWAY FROM) after he slaughters her. SPOILERS: Of all the characters that die in this book it would have made the most sense for her to have killed him.

Speaking of which....

As far as the world-building I also sort of questioned the plot device that got them to Faerie. Madoc says that in Faerie that they are obligated to take in the children of their spouse but like nowhere else in the book does this happen. Also, we learn Jude's parents were humans who were treated with respect in Faerie but we meet no other humans like this in the book. Where were these humans in Jude's life? All the humans she meets are either bewitched and like I know the book is supposed to leave Jude without allies to motivate her but then The Court of Shadows shows up and I felt no connection to these characters.

Also one of the Carden's minions begins to fall for Jude but it's revealed that he actually told Jude's sister that he would marry her if she let him court Jude. Like I find it hard to believe that Jude, who has experienced all these hardships at the hands of Fae would SERIOUSLY believe Locke was on her side.

With all that said I'm interested to read the second book because I'm really curious if Black plans to redeem all of the characters. I hate saying this about females characters but Jude's rise to power felt like a little inevitable and therefore not 100% earned.

Caitlin Kelly, the audiobook narrator has a very youthful voice and handles a ton of characters. I think she sounded a tad too young for Jude but I'd recommend the audio overall.

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