The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Folk of the Air series, book 1. Hot Key Books. 2018. ISBN 9781471407031
(Age: Teens)I am an avid reader of books regarding magic, faeries and the like. I have read quite a few dark fairy tales and I opened this one with a bit of scepticism, but I needn't have worried. I am a huge fan of Holly Black's books such as Doll Bones however the Cruel Prince is next level. Talk about contributing to my stress levels - it almost devoured me. From the first page to the last I was very reluctant to put it down. Talk about perfectly capturing what I imagine the world of magical beings like faeries would be. Jude the main character is one of my favourite aspects of this story and I have great admiration for her. But I loved the fact that this story takes you on dark twists and turns that turned my admiration for some characters to hate and vice versa as the story develops. What a cruel start to the book that had me heart broken and fearful to the sumptuous imagery The Cruel Prince gave me as I devoured this book. I had many a late night thinking just one more page . . . It is the perfect balance between light and dark. At times I could have happily lobbed the book across the room and then wanting to hug it close to my chest and not letting it go. I happily admit to reading this book twice to take in all its glory.
What I liked about this book is that it is not so much a teenager romance/fantasy novel set in the faerie realm but more a testament to the mortal Jude who is trapped but wanting to do the best for her family. She is a mortal out of place and in some aspects time, yet she fiercely stands up for her sisters and is a survivor no matter what is thrown at her. I love that Holly Black has given us such a strong protagonist and I even tolerated the trite romantic interlude which was a little distraction from the violent pace of the book.
My only disappointment is that I must wait until January 2019 for book two The Wicked King to be released. I cannot wait.
Elaine Grottick