Review: The Cruel Prince
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Cruel Prince drew me in right away with a scene that was both exciting and emotionally powerful, and that set the pace for the entire book. The plot was good, but it was the character development and interaction that really carried the story through to its satisfying conclusion.

Character & Voice:
I loved the cast in this book. Each character is painted with unique, deep detail, and the character interactions are what make the story really pop.
The main character, Jude, is stolen from the mortal world along with her two sisters, and raised by the man who murdered her parents right in front of her. Talk about a complicated family dynamic. She was a child when her parents died, and while she never forgot what her foster father had done, she couldn't help but grow attached to the man who raised her. Her sisters have similarly skewed views of their place in the world, and each handles the problem very differently.
Jude is hardly typical, but as a narrator she's about what you'd expect from a teenage girl. I guess hormones are hormones no matter where you are. So, of course, there were times when I wanted to slap her or was left scratching my head at her decisions. But, in general, I found her actions and reactions believable and could empathize with her choices even when I didn't agree with them.
Jude's family isn't the only messed up bunch in the story. As the book progresses, many relationships are brought to light that deepen the mystery of developing events and help shape Jude's path.

Language & Mechanics:
The book is written in present tense, which I tend to have trouble with. I'm not sure why, but it just never reads as smooth as past tense for me. Other than that little hiccup, the prose was clean and smooth, with lots of lovely, descriptive phrases.

This story takes place mainly in a world that is connected to--yet separate from--ours, and the author pulls in lots of rich mythology to create a beautiful, terrible place for Jude to grow up. The characters cross over a time or two, back to the mortal world from which they were stolen. But Jude and her sisters are children of both worlds, and part of her internal conflict is that she doesn't really fit comfortably in either.

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