Holly Black Crafts a Violent Splendor in The Cruel Prince (Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black)

5:55 PM

It's been a long time since a book captivated and consumed me like The Cruel Prince did. I'm blown away and still recovering weeks after finishing it.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black | Rating: ★★★★★

“Before, I never knew how far I would go. Now I believe I have the answer. I will go as far as there is to go. I will go way too far.”

This review can also be found here on Booked J.

When I first heard about The Cruel Prince, I was a little hesitant. It had a lot of hype to it and for me, hype is a bit intimidating. All I can say is that hype is well-earned... The Cruel Prince is one of the best YA fantasy novels I've ever read. It's impossible to ignore the hype, but it's even more impossible to ignore Holly Black's darkly exquisite tale.

These are the type of faeries that I enjoy reading about. While our narrator is human, as is her twin sister, the world they live in is not the realm we do. After their parents are murdered, Jude and Taryn, and their half-sister Vivienne, are taken in by her mother's ex/killer and leave their mortal life behind for Faerie.

This is a choice that is taken away from them, just as their parents were taken away so violently.

I think that my favourite part about The Cruel Prince is not just the violent splendor that Holly Black crafts so perfectly, it's all the conflict within it. There are many layers and elements to the novel itself, but its center is truly conflict. Nearly every page features something of a conflict. And each of those pages feels not unlike the thorns you'd expect.

Jude is struggling with her mortality, and the control that she lacks in Faerie. Taryn is struggling, silently, with similar things and takes a very different path than her sister. Vivienne is struggling with a life she never asked for, and a life she so desperately wants. Cardan is struggling with his cruelty, and feelings (!!!!!!!!), as well as his families brutality.

I could go on and on, but the point is: Black creates not only chilling betrayals and bloodbaths, she creates characters that are richly painted and flawed, conflicts that will feel like something nudges your heart with every word and so much more. The Cruel Prince is story telling at its finest. Shocking, beautiful, terrifying and utterly thrilling. I cannot sing its praises high enough!

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