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.
While you might have read some of my earlier mini-raves about this book, I will still apologize in advance because I'm pretty sure I'm incapable of giving a review of this book without just flailing on the floor because I love it so much.
Look, Holly Black has written a lot of books, and The Cruel Prince is just the third one I've read (see also: The Darkest Part of the Forest, The Coldest Girl In Coldtown). I enjoyed those others, but I was not as intensely captivated as I was with The Cruel Prince. The characters are all so dark and murky, every shift and turn is truly surprising. The writing is lush and gorgeous. And that ending--JFC.
Reading this book put me in a book slump for a long while. I didn't want to immediately reread it, but I just wanted to read it for the first time over and over again.
I loved Jude so much. She reminds me a bit of Lada from Now I Rise in her fierceness--and just the sheer size of her will. The inner-workings of her mind are dark and twisted and completely understandable. She doesn't always do the right thing (but are there "right things" in faerie politics?) but the reader is more than happy to go along with whatever plot Jude cooks up.
My main complaint? It isn't nearly long enough. The entire series isn't out yet. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to make it.
Should you read it? I don't know, should you read the best book of 2018? Probably. Just beware that you might never know what to read ever again.
Published January 2, 2018 by Little, Brown Books