Monday, June 25, 2018

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Jude and her twin sister Taryn are mortals living in the Faerie world.  They were taken there as children when Madoc came to retrieve his biological daughter and killed both their parents.  Now, ten years later, they are under Madoc's protection but picked on constantly by the Folk around them, especially by Prince Carden and his friends.  Jude dreams of becoming a knight for the High King so she will not be at anyone's mercy anymore while Taryn plans to marry to become more a part of the Faerie world.  As her tormentors grow more bold Jude hones her skills and takes more chances.  And then when news breaks that the current High King is planning to turn over his crown to one of his children, the gamesmanship really begins among his heirs with Jude drawn into the complex politics with dire consequences.

I was skeptical going into this one because I can't think of a book about the Fae that I've loved or even liked much.  So I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself drawn in and making extra time to read this one.  In fact, I was interested enough to continue the story that I decided to join Audible in order to listen to the book while I took my walk this morning! (I don't like the narrator of the book, btw)  Then I dedicated most of the rest of my day to reading and finishing the book.  I think that the difference for me on this one is that while the faeries are every bit as cruel and cold as in the other books I've read, they are not as much the main focus of the story as the mortal character.  Furthermore, the plot is actually Game of Thrones - right down to the Red Wedding - so I enjoyed the political maneuvering.  Even though I wasn't always clear who was manipulating whom.  It was great fun reading something complex enough that I struggled to think about how to summarize it for the preceding paragraph because of all the things that happened in the book:  mortal enslavement, shifting alliances, changing goals, sibling betrayal, Daddy issues, spying, attempted murder, and complicated relationships just to name a few things going on here.  Not to mention all the magical things such as making horses out of ragweed and the lush descriptions of the Folk and their appearances which gave me a lot to savor.  I think I was completely won over, however, when Sophie said that she had been taken into Faerie while she was at Burning Man.  I laughed a good long while about that small, but delightful, detail.

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