Book Review: 'The Cruel Prince"

Book Review: 'The Cruel Prince'
Posted on 03/03/2020
The Cruel PrinceBook Review on The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Riley Powell
Staff Writer

Came for the sharp, cunning, ruthless, and conniving protagonist and most definitely stayed for the sharp, cunning, ruthless, and conniving protagonist. I know that’s a lot of words to describe someone, but she really is all that and more; she’s truly amazing.

“If I cannot be better than them, I will be so much worse.”

Before I go on a tangent about how much I love the protagonist, let’s begin with what The Cruel Prince is
all about. First of all, yes, it’s about faeries. And yes, it’s an extremely overused idea. However, this book
is so worth it— trust me.

The story follows Jude, who, along with her two sisters, is stolen away after witnessing their parents’ murders at the hands of the faerie who soon becomes a father figure to them. Growing up in the treacherous world of Elfhame, Jude and her sisters are forced to find their place in this cruel world.

However, for Jude and her twin sister Taryn, fitting in proves to be difficult because unlike their half-sister
Vivienne, they are human. And no matter how much Jude and Taryn attempt to fit in, they maintain their cruelty with their twisted words and brutal actions. Yet Jude and Taryn never give up. In Jude’s case, she yearns to prove to the fae that she is more than a weak mortal; that she is someone who deserves to be respected and feared.

However, in her attempt to garner that favor, Jude not only sees how ruthless she can become, but she also finds herself caught up in court politics and a fate that will
completely change the world around her.

“What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.”

Now it’s time for the part I’ve been waiting for: Jude! She is the hero of her own story and I love that. I’ve
seen numerous female protagonists saved by their love interests, but in this story, Jude handles things
herself and excels at it, in my opinion. Not only do I love Jude for her independence, but her
stubbornness and brutality.

Despite lacking the immortality and powers that the fae have, Jude makes up for it by never giving up and always returning the favor. When wronged, Jude exacts her revenge and doesn't hold back.

Jude not only shows how ruthless she can be but also how power-hungry and cunning she is. Her thirst for power was what stood out to me the most because usually, the female protagonist has power but does not want it.

So to see a woman hunger and obtain power was something I absolutely loved reading and want to see more of. As for her talent in deceit, it had me captivated. Jude’s master plans continuously had me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happens next (because Jude’s plans are never fully revealed until they’re over).

Although, while my previous descriptions of Jude make her seem perfect, she isn’t; she makes several mistakes, but to see her address it and also grow from it makes me admire her even more. All I have to say is that Holly Black
knows what she’s doing.

“I have lied and I have betrayed and I have triumphed. If only there was someone to
congratulate me.”

As for other characters, Black succeeds in fleshing them out just as well as she did with Jude. The good
and bad faeries were equally interesting to read about, making you want to know more about them and
what they’ll do next. I especially loved the Court of Shadows and Cardan.

While I initially didn’t like
Cardan because he bullied and hurt others, it was hard to not warm up to him a little with his humorous
responses that made me laugh and the tragic reason behind his bullying that elicits your sympathy.

Black’s description of Elfhame was also written extremely well, depicting how beautiful the world is yet also revealing how wicked and rotten it is.

The writing itself is beautiful and breathtaking, captivating you and hooking you in. Basically, everything that Holly Black did in this novel made it an epic read.
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