The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk of the Air #1)

Jude was seven 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.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal 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.

Many people I follow on Twitter and Goodreads love this book and I’ve seen some quotes from the series before, so I finally decided to read it – I really wanted to find out what the deal is with Jude and Cardan. I ended up loving it. And it was nice to finally have context for the snippets of the book that I have seen before, mainly the one page with the name ‘Jude’ written on it over and over again.

I’m not sure if I have read any faerie books before, so that was very new to me. The rules of the magic that faeries have is not entirely clear, but maybe I’ll get it more in the next book. It’s interesting to read a book where so many characters can’t lie. It gives Jude, our heroine, an advantage over the immortal beings that she lives with. It turns out to be especially useful when she becomes a spy for prince Dain, one of Cardan’s brothers.

I really like Jude. I like that she has ambition and wants power and immortality. I’ve read some books where the main character is a mortal among immortals but they have no interest in living forever and I find that really hard to believe, so in a way this was refreshing.

I expected the book to focus more on Jude/Cardan romance but thankfully it didn’t. I’m usually bothered when the first book in a series goes overboard with the romance because often that comes at the expense of the main plot. But hey, it’s a love/hate relationship between two characters with very different lives whose power dynamics keep changing, so I’m looking forward to their story being developed further in the next book.

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