I am so excited to finally have some coherent thoughts on this book. Seriously, this book is exciting for so many reasons, and I’ve highlighted some of my favorites reasons on this post with as little spoilers as I could spare…or tried to. I make no promises. Without further ado, let’s talk about this awesome, dark story.
It’s like 50 Shades of Slytherin up in this book.
Seriously, it’s like every single person in this book is a different version of Slytherin and it makes me so happy. Seriously, it’s like the hunger games of Slytherin, like which Slytherin will take down the rest of the Slytherins, which will get what they want and at what cost? Vivi sneaks around, Jude sneaks around, Taryn sneaks around, Madoc has spies, Dain has spies, Cardan’s got secrets and is a total jerk, Baelkin has secrets and is a total jerk. Valerian is pure horror for the sake of being horrific. Everyone in this story is jam-packed with everyone trying to get to what they want at whatever cost they have to pay because who cares as long as they get what they want.
I feel like I’m throwing papers into the air as I speak here.
The Food. All of the food.
There’s food and meals all over this place, and it feels so earthy and I want a fairy-feast. I want to have a fairy-type feast with their berries and foods that make me happy. That’s what I want and you can’t stop me.
Jude. Jude and all of her determination
Jude wants things. Jude wants to be a knight. She wants to be known. She wants to make a name for herself and is willing to do anything to get to it. The amount of determination in this girl is amazing. I mean seriously, her finger was bitten of by one of Madoc’s men and she still stuck around and made sure no one found out. For fear, yes, but still she persisted. Honestly, I’d have been eaten within a day of being with the fairies, because much like Jude, I’d want to be like them and be scared out of my wits but still I’d probably have cracked. However, luckily for this story, Jude Duarte is not like me, she is not me and she kicked some major butt despite being constantly afraid of like…everything! She’s willing to go through hell and back in order to get whatever will get her to the things she wants. Which do involve her helping her sisters. Gaining status, being feared because she’s lived in fear ever since watching her parents get butchered in front of her.
Sisters, siblings, all of the sibling things.
Yes, even the squabbles. I have a thing for sibling relationships in books. I love that Jude and Vivi and Taryn get along as a trio and as duos. Taryn and Jude are best friends, seemingly. They adapted to being in the world of fairies well enough. Vivi hates it, but loves her sisters. Vivi despite her rebellious tendencies tries to be there for her sisters, and takes them out on adventures away from the fae. I like that she still involves her little sisters in her plans. It’s awesome. I am very happy with the sibling depictions in this story. Because they fight like real sisters, and they tease, and they laugh and they’re all for one another which I truly appreciate.
I don’t want to give away spoilers so feel free to talk to me further about this.
I love the fae, I love that there’s a dark fairy theme going on. I love learning about how the fairies sleep, and eat, and study, I like learning about their customs and their ideals. Also, the different physical descriptions of the fairies, yes they have pointy ears but also, awesome furry tails, or wings. The possibilities are endless! I am so happy with this book. I haven’t read a Holly Black book in ages and I remember only being excruciatingly pleased with the world’s she created and this story was no exception. She totally delivered and I am very grateful for it.
Deception and what is going on in this book?? Who’s the ACTUAL Cruel Prince?
Seriously, at first I thought it was Cardan, that the title had to be about Cardan, because the little sh** is well…EVIL. But the more you get into it, the more you see pretty much everyone else is also pretty evil. Baelkin is awful and everyone is awful. Everyone is showing their worse Slytherin sides, but I was so interested in figuring out who was the real villain in this story that before the actual end I seriously started to think the king had no good sons.
I was confused and crazy because I had no idea what was what! Seriously, there came to be a point where I thought I solved everything and felt like SUCH a genius and was like “eyyo, Jude, get on my level cus I figured it out halfway through” and then I was so, so, SO wrong! I apologize, Jude. I truly apologize because I was so awfully wrong and it was like a new, fairy detective novel. Jude has to help figure out how to make sure that Dain gets throned, and she joins the Court of Shadows, and she has to figure out who’s out to kill who, and there’s just so many questions and I wanted to scream because I am nosy and I like having all of the answers. So naturally, I finished the book and was soooo happy.
Book two, I am ready for you.
I am beyond ready for book two because unlike most books with a sequel…this one gave me answers, so now I feel relieved and ready to start the next part of this story without massive anxiety and a journal of questions about what I want to know. So Holly Black, thank you for that.
THINGS I ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW BUT DIDN’T GET BEFORE.
Finally there’s a book that tackles a real life issue: periods:
Before we leave, we stop by CVS, and I pick up tampons. Every time I buy them, it’s a reminder that while the Folk can look like us, they are a species apart. Even Vivi is a species apart. I divide the package in half and give the other portion to Taryn.
I know what you’re wondering. No, they don’t bleed once a month; yes, they do bleed. Annually. Sometimes less frequently than that. Yes, they do have solutions-padding, mostly- and yes, those solutions suck. Yes, everything about it is embarrassing.
Not going to lie especially when the female protagonist is badass and always on the move I always wonder, do heroines not get their periods? Is it all of the action that they’re constantly facing that makes them menstruate less? I’m just saying this was a great fact to know about the Folk and also in general I like seeing this very normal thing be portrayed. Yes, even if it’s just to reinforce Jude and Taryn’s mortality and not belonging in the world of the Folk despite being brought up by them, and as one of them.
Also, are Jude and Taryn hispanic?
That’s the only real question left for me really. Their last name is Duarte, so I have been wondering since that was brought up…are they hispanic? Because that’s actually pretty cool. They’re still cool regardless but come on!
10/10 recommend this book.
So what do you all think of this story? Did you read the Cruel Prince? What were your thoughts?