THE CRUEL PRINCE (The Folk of the Air, #1)

AUTHOR:  Holly Black

GENRE:  Fantasy

Available @ AMAZON

REVIEWER:  Pistol Annie


Of course I want to be like them.

They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old 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.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war 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.


There was so much hype for this new fantasy series that it was overwhelming.  I had no idea what to expect, but some friends assured me that it was going to be “awesome,” so I took a deep breath and dove into a buddy read.  And what I found was far better than I could have imagined.  The plot is well-thought-out with twists and turns that come with whiplashes.  I found myself lost in a land about which I knew very little.  The excitement of something new automatically took over and the ride was wild – to say the least.

As expected, I found myself way out of my league on this one. I have only read maybe four or five fantasy books — well, besides bedtime stories — in my entire life (and trust me, that’s a lot of years).  But I went for it all, never hesitating, and joined the faeries in their magical, capricious and political world.  And along the way, I met some of the most spellbinding, unusual, profound, and desperate characters – some of whom I loved to hate and others I hated to love.  It was hard to give my heart fully to any of them at first glance or maybe ever.

Some are good with pipes or paint. Some have skill in love, he says finally. My talent is in making war. The only thing that has ever kept me awake was denying it.

General Madoc is a Fae general, an evil and vile villain, and he makes no excuses for himself.  He’s steadfast in his convictions and nothing — not even family ties — will impede his desires for winning.  The author has written a very convincing and robust bad guy.  Madoc was married to Jude’s mother before she ran away to the human world.  After he found and killed Jude’s parents, he stole her away into the Faerie world out of some weird sense of responsibility.  I’ll admit that at times the general was almost likable — while remaining on the outskirts of being genuinely a good man.

I want to win. I do not yearn to be their equal.  In my heart, I yearn to best them.

Jude, a human who now lives under the care and guidance of the man who murdered her parents, is exquisitely complex, edgy and mindboggling. She appeared to live in constant fear, but never let it overrule her.  The girl is on steroids! The female version of the Energizer Bunny.  Determination is her middle name.  And I am wondering if she doth protest a little too much in her professed hate for Cardan.  She’s the most surprising character of all with the way she excelled in secrets and underhanded plans. Oh yeah, this story goes in all directions and it’s quite a reading experience.  The girl rocks, and I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes in the next installment!

The Cruel Prince a/k/a Prince Cardan lives up to his title, but that title promises to be the least of his troubles.  Oh, how I want to learn all that boils beneath the beautiful surface.  The Prince is a blue-blood snob – but life hasn’t been easy for him.  Living with an abusive brother has taught him how to dodge and diffuse emotional and physical abuse to gain self-preservation.  He also spends an excessive amount of time being nasty and mean to Jude.  In my opinion, Cardan is one of those characters that you hate to love but can’t seem to help yourself either.

The relationship between Jude and Cardan is best described as complicated and a work-in-progress — maybe, but nothing should be taken for granted.  I’m hoping for more than we’ve gotten so far.  And then again, they may kill each other before there’s a chance for more.

I detested Locke! Without any regrets, he made it very easy for me.  He’s a law unto himself.  A more despicable and self-centered Fae you’ll most likely never encounter.  A bad witch from some realm of evil needs to mix up one of her killer potions for him to drink, feed him a big old poisonous red apple, or at least push him down a rabbit hole from whence he shall never return!  In other words, make him disappear forever.  I assure you no one would miss the swine.

There is a host of other mesmerizing characters that move in and out of the mix and play their parts well.  Did I mention that Jude has a twin sister?  Also a half-sister named Vivienne, who has a rather interesting lifestyle, along with Oak, her little brother who is a lovable little brat and perhaps a person of real interest as this faetale moves forward.

Insanity – yes, indeed.  Cleverly plotted, smart, witty and cruel in the most fascinating ways.  With an acorn and a thumbprint, Jude may eventually rule the Fae world when all is said and done.  I am more than excited and anxiously awaiting the next installment where there is sure to be a definite transformation for the placement and struggle for position and power.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *