The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Publisher: Little, Brown Books / Hot Key Books
Publication Date: January 2nd 2018
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
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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.

This book gave me two very different feelings; indifference and complete investment.

I was thankfully gifted The Cruel Prince as an ebook from Hot Key Books, and wasn’t surprised at how much attention it got when I ran a poll with what books I should read while making the long journey to visit extended family over Christmas. It won by a landslide, and while Holly Black books are usually a hit or miss for me, I got excited at the thought of being whisked away to a faerie land where fairy is spelled like ‘faerie’ and the creatures of the land are not cute with magic wands and wings.

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Unfortunately, that’s not what I got in the first 67% of the book.

The Cruel Prince, to me, could not decide what kind of book it wanted to be. At first, it seemed like a self-aware novel; a faerie land living alongside the human realm, where the protagonist felt apart of both. She would shop with her sister at Target, say stuff like ‘lighten up, jerk!’ when in conflict with magical creatures, but then she would also ride a giant toad with a saddle around it and wear dresses made of leaves and feathers. Her step-father has green skin and her baby step-brother can glamour her into slapping herself until she’s red in the face. I kind of liked it; Holly Black’s novels always have the mundane and the strange walking side by side. It was the same with The Darkest Part of the Forest (which I adored) and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (which was a bit meh) – like I said, Holly Black’s books are a hit or miss.

This concept of Jude feeling out of place in both worlds went on for quite a long time, and didn’t in fact stop. This, thrown in with being severely bullied by Carden (the cruel prince in question) and his awful friends also goes on for so long that I started to feel really uncomfortable. It got to the point where I felt like a bystander just letting it happen. I’ve never been bullied this severely, but I think I have a responsibility to say that if you’re affected by seriously and severe bullying in entertainment you consume, and you’re going to read this book, now you know.

This goes on for most of the book, and I found myself wanting to DNF it a few times. When I’m reading a book and I can feel myself wanting to put it down, I know it’s not going well. I don’t like to waste my time, and it felt like I was doing exactly that. But THEN, as it read 67% on my Kindle, when my mother was calling me in because the Sunday roast was ready, I couldn’t stop reading!

The story completely turned around and the drama started, the political intrigue, the distrusting of characters all reared their beautiful heads. And it was like, where the hell were you all when the grip of my kindle was getting weaker and weaker? It’s not a plot twist or anything, I’m not spoiling it when I say it got interesting, but it’s a bit weird that I have to say that. The whole book should be interesting!

After tweeting about it a few times, I saw that I wasn’t alone. Many felt like it was worth sticking to until the end where it leaves you wanting the next book as much as how you just wanted any other book when you began reading The Cruel Prince. So, if you’re just starting out or even a third into it, keep going, there is something about this book that’s meant for it to blow up in popularity come the second one.

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Marvelous Male Characters

Gosh, I love a good companion post.

A while back I wrote a post inspired by readbyzoe’s video on her favourite fictional females. And because I’m a sucker for follow ups, I decided to compile a list of my favourite male characters. Getting in this list is tough; you gotta be original, different, and written down well. Male characters often succumb to those stereotypes, the seemingly good and bad ones. There’s the too perfect guy, the one in all the rom-com who ruins real men for the rest of the men loving population. And of course, the ‘bad boy’ which is the literal reason I do not trust some authors’ opinion of what love is supposed to be.

This list is one of complex, interesting, and diverse male characters who I would read about over and over again.

I want to point out I’m going to say “I fell in love” a lot throughout this post, and I don’t mean it in the sense you may fall in love with a real person. I mean…do I? I use the term “fell in love” to mean a multiple of things, but in this case, it’s the writing. I fell in love with the writing.

Alucard Emery
(A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab)

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The minute Alucard Emery was introduced, I instantly fell in love. I can’t believe we go through the whole first book (A Darker Shade of Magic) without having Alucard’s snark and not even missing it because we didn’t even know it existed at this point. His character adds a whole new dimension to the world of Red London, a whole new aspect that expands on what we know from The Golden Trio (Kell, Lila, and Rhy. I don’t know why I’m calling them this). He’s suave, mysterious, and adventurous. He’s also a frickin’ pirate. A PIRATE. I love how you’re second guessing him all the time, you don’t know the true nature of his feelings, not until the very end anyway.

Ronan Lynch
(The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater)

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I knew Ronan Lynch would be a fave from the very first time we meet him in The Raven Boys. But it wasn’t until the second book, The Dream Thieves, do you really dig your nails in deep and say “Yep, this character is for me”. All the characters in this series are incredibly complex and amazing, but Ronan is a whole other ball park. An angry, confusing character, Ronan says and does things you wouldn’t expect. He has a harsh shell with a soft centre, which creeps slowly to the surface the further you read. I cannot tell you how excited I get when a chapter starts and it’s in Ronan’s POV. He’s a fan favourite, and you can tell in the way Maggie Stiefvater writes and even just talks about him that she is in love with him too.

The Darkling
(The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo)

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Oh, now, who doesn’t love a good villain? A villain who you can’t get enough of, who you love to hear speak of ruling the world, twisting his manipulation powers to the max, making life for the protagonist actual Hell. The Darkling is one of the most well-written villains I’ve come across, and it’s because you believe him too. This man/being is not a good person. He is evil and wicked and all those horrible things, but a good villain can take you over to his side, and that’s exactly what Leigh Bardugo has done with The Darkling. Fans love him, fall in love with him, and sometimes it’s for the wrong reasons. You just know that’s what he wants, he’s got you believing in him and he isn’t even real. That’s a good villain.

Noah Sweetwine
(I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson)

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Noah Sweetwine is quite possibly the cutest cinnamon roll you will ever come across. One of the protagonists of one of the best books out there, Noah is that character that goes through so much crap and still comes out (haha) semi alright in the end. While I feel his story peetered off at the end in favour of his sister, Jude’s, storyline, I found Noah’s plot to be a whole lot more interesting and even more believeable. By the way, if you haven’t picked up a Jandy Nelson book yet then what are you doing.

Cassel Sharpe
(Curse Workers by Holly Black)

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I have no idea why this series isn’t talked about more in the book community. It’s literally an intricate and slick magic system mixed in with the mob. But anyway, the protagonist, Cassel Sharpe, goes through shit. He’s powerful, and a lot of bad people know it. He’s the youngest son of a family of dodgy con men and swindlers, and he just wants to live a normal life, date normal girls, and go to his normal school. He’s funny, daring, and self-aware. This series is very underrated, I suggest you pick it up!

Tell me some of your fave male characters; what are qualities in a male character that you love to read about? Maybe male characters you hate? I know there are some I hate…maybe that’s for another post.

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A February Haul.

February has always been the month for book buying for me. Not only is it my birthday, but the month’s wages are significantly bigger, and I still have Christmas money leftover.

Yes, February is a good month.

And of course, what else am I going to do than buy books that I have no room for?

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The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: I read I’ll Give You The Sun and almost burst into tears at how beautiful it was. I had no idea that it wasn’t even Jandy Nelson’s first novel. I swiped up The Sky is Everywhere AS SOON AS I COULD.

Winter by Marissa Meyer: I have a bit of a weird relationship with The Lunar Chronicles. Sometimes, I’m enjoying it, sometimes it feels a little too young for me. Lots of blushing and squealing…I dunno. But, after meeting Winter in Cress, I knew I had to get the final installment.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab: I read Vicious and thought it was good fun. I read A Darker Shade of Magic and V.E. Schwab became one of my favourite authors. I saw AGOS in Waterstones before the release date and almost knocked over a display trying to grab for it.

More Than This by Patrick Ness: I’ve only read one Patrick Ness book and that was The Rest of Us Just Live Here, because I love reading about people who are a part of the ‘chosen one’ story, but aren’t actually the ‘chosen one’. People have told me this book is weird. I like weird.

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black: I read Black’s Curse Workers series first and loved it. Mafia and superpowers? Yes please! I then got my hands on The Darkest Part of the Forest and everything was beautiful. Surely, this book is the next step in a Holly Black addiction?

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: This one was a complete stab in the dark. A lot of internet buzz, and witches. I like witches. Let’s see how this goes.

Soundless by Richelle Mead: I’ve only read Vampire Academy. I stopped because I could, not because I didn’t like it. I haven’t picked up the second and I’m not sure I will. But this one I saw on the shelf at work and it’s so small – let’s give Richelle Mead another go.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

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