The Cruel Prince (The Folk of The Air #1) by Holly Black
Rating: 5 stars
I first heard about this book in the autumn of 2017 when a trusted BookTuber talked about how much she'd loved it when she read an Advanced Readers Copy of the novel prior to its release. Since then I've had a hold on it at my local library waiting for its launch day and to the credit of my local library service, I was lucky enough to be first on the list and get it within a week of it being released.
This is the first story I've read from author Holly Black, I have plans to read her Magisterium series which she writes with another of my favourite authors Cassandra Clare but The Cruel Prince is the first I have launched into with her name on the cover. I was intrigued by this book immediately because it is a story set in Faire. It is, therefore, a book that it was going to be full of magic, fantasy and intrigue. As a huge fan of Sarah J Maas' series, A Court of Thorns And Roses, it seemed the perfect book to tide me over until the new release in that series later this year.
This is the story of Jude Duarte, a mortal girl whose parents are killed by a bloodthirsty Fae and she and her sisters are taken to live in the land of Faire. There she is persecuted for being a mortal and her biggest enemy is one of the sons of the High King of Fae, Prince Cardan. He is cruel and taunts Jude for her mortality and weakness and this drives Jude to try and find ways to fight back and prove herself worthy of a life in the magical land.
Alongside Jude's struggles, we learn that in Faire it is time for the High King to abdicate his throne and move aside for one of his children, Prince Daine. This transition is not going to be an easy one however as the children of the High King scheme and plot their way to ensure that they usurp the favourite and place themselves on the throne instead. Jude, a lowly mortal, finds herself drawn into the scheming and into the very centre of court life where she will find that she holds more power than she ever thought possible.
This book was wonderful, Holly Black paints a world that is both alluring and decadent yet behind the glamour lurks darkness, deceit and scheming that means no one ever truly knows who to trust. The setting of the novel is really rich and full of a wonderful cast of characters who we never truly know their true intentions until things happen on the page. Holly Black uses this to twist and turn her story in directions we aren't expecting, just when I thought I had an idea where the story was going she'd twist it again and I'd be blown away and then having to recalculate my thoughts.
This book is going to form the first in a series built around these characters and the ending leaves us very open to moving forward into more adventures with the characters. Clearly, there is still high political stakes to be settled in the world and Holly Black leaves us desperate to know what's going to happen next. There is some romantic tension that still seems to be simmering, there's family dynamics that have now been thrown to the wind and residual political figures who are going to be very displeased with the outcome at the end of this book and it's going to be difficult waiting to find out how everything will move forward.
This book has been hugely popular this month and I can fully understand why, it is the first really big Young Adult release of this year and on all counts it is magnificent. If the rest of the releases in 2018 are as good as this one it could turn out to be a magical reading year.