The Cruel Prince was SAVAGE

cruel princeAs hyped as this book was, when this came out, Cruel Prince garnered its fair share of criticism. Naturally I had my reservations about picking it up after that… mercifully though I needn’t have worried- it ended up being wonderful. Well, as wonderful as a twisted YA fantasy can be- if that’s your cup of tea (and it so is mine).

From the get-go, I loved the premise: three sisters kidnapped by their parents’ murderers and taken into Faerie- YES PLEASE! I was utterly absorbed by the sharp world building and even more so by the plot.

While the story falls into a little lull immediately after the opening, don’t be fooled, it gets faster and far more deadly than I expected. Half my notes were just exclamation marks, because as much as I thought I could tell where it was going, it kept taking me by surprise! And every time I thought I had a handle on it- BAM- it span round and stabbed me in the gut. Really, the plot gets better and better.

What’s especially clever about this is how the foreshadowing and hints are such that they could be applied in multiple directions. I was even left questioning wait who is the cruel prince? Cos, let me tell you, there are several possible candidates in these pages.

Speaking of the characters, there are a great range of messed up and fabulous here to choose from. Some that you’ll inevitably root for and some you might want to get a bit stabby over- all of whom are interesting. For me, the main character was a gem- I cackled with pleasure at her tricksy ways and found she won my affection with both her skill with a sword and her even more deadly intellect. I probably loved Vivi even more if I’m honest- she was always trying to do the right thing and was probably the best human being in this (hehe ironic). And while I know there are a lot of people that hate Cardan- sorry, I’m on that runaway train 😉 For me, it’s quite simple- I found myself sympathising with him- reluctantly at first and then oopsie-daisy-we’re-headed-off-a-cliff. However, I did not like Tarryn- she sucked. I’ve been told she redeems herself in the novella Lost Sisters– which I have on my kindle- but don’t hold out much hope. That said, I liked how Black dealt with the issues of betrayal- even if I thought the other party was fairly obviously a backstabber (I mean, fox imagery is a dead giveaway).

Also, the writing was very well done. The main character’s voice is engaging and full of personality. I adored the descriptions, the humour and its quotability. In fact, I did that thing in my kindle copy where more of it is highlighted than not, so I can’t find any specific examples without rereading the whole book 😉

The only real downside for me was that I wasn’t head over heels for the romance (even if I liked both parties). I mean, it made sense and was logical- I didn’t quite feel the fireworks. Other than that, I thought it was an excellent read:

4½5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana  half-a-hand-drawn-banana

Have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

70 thoughts on “The Cruel Prince was SAVAGE

  1. I’m not sure I really *feel* the romance either, but I think it’s interesting. Usually I’m somewhat wary of hyped books, but I think this series largely deserves it, and I wasn’t even going to give it a shot because I disliked the first Holly Black book I read. I guess she and Leigh Bardugo have really both stepped up their games recently, and I feel like I should maybe give more authors second chances.

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    1. Yeah I definitely agree with you there- it’s more interesting than a lot of romances (especially in YA). And I totally agree with you- although I’ve actually liked every Holly Black book I read so far- so while I was a little wary of the hype, I was fairly confident I’d like it. That’s very true!

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  2. I wasn’t head over heels for the romance either, but like you, I didn’t care too much because I loved everything else so much. Especially the MC.

    Also, “Half my notes were just exclamation marks” made me LOL because I’ve 100% done the same thing!!

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  3. I loved The Cruel Prince as well 🙂 it’s super twisted and I thought that was great. I’ll be interested to see what you think of The Wicked King!

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  4. I’m so glad you enjoyed this! I’ve just read and reviewed the second book The Wicked King (very vaguely so as not to give anything away). I love the faerie world that Holly Black has created in her books. The faeries are nasty, twisted and spiteful. Kind of how I think faeries would be if they existed. I love that Jude has to be even more cleverer and spiteful to keep up with them all. I’ve never been too keen on the love/hate trope in books so the “romance” falls a bit flat for me. But I hope you can read The Wicked King soon and share your views. I also recommend her other faerie series that starts with Tithe.

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    1. Oh that’s great- I look forward to reading it. I definitely agree with you there. The faeries she’s created really work for me- it’s definitely in line with the kind of fae I envisage too! Yeah definitely- that was a super well thought out aspect. Ah I can understand that. Thanks very much! Oh I’m definitely keen for that- I’ve actually got the first one on my kindle and am looking forward to it 🙂

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    1. hehe I can totally understand that- but if you already like Holly black’s books then I’m sure you’ll be fine 😉 I also really liked her other books going in so was pretty safe in the knowledge that I’d enjoy it at the very least 😉

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  5. I just can’t make myself interested in this Fae craze. Honestly, I liked vampires better, and I didn’t even really like vampires. I think I’m going to wait on this series til it’s done, because I definitely don’t want to commit to another 8-book-fae-series. But you made me want to read it! Great review!

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    1. hahha that’s totally fine! The thing with the vampire craze is I was never into that before it became a thing, and couldn’t get into it while it was a thing- but I’ve liked twisted fae stories for years. Coincidentally have read and really enjoyed one of Black’s other fae books about 4 years ago, so I was already primed for this 😉 Since Black’s been writing fae books for years I kinda view it differently to some of the authors jumping on the bandwaggon (though I know what you mean about the crazes thing). Anyway, I’m glad! Thank you!

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      1. Fae weren’t even on my radar until I read Throne of Glass, and I found them kind of … a mash-up of vampires and elves, and I don’t really like vampires so… I don’t know, I just don’t get what the big deal is. I’d rather just have elves.


  6. Oooooh, this sounds amazing! I’ve seen so much hype for this one that I picked up a copy a couple of months ago but still haven’t read it yet. I gotta get through these review requests so I can get on board with this series!

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  7. Lovely review!
    I enjoy reading about characters that have a questionable or bad side. Kinda relate to them more. Not cuz i consider myself an evil villain, but you know, if they can still have good qualities, it gives me hope 😀

    Haven’t read this one yet, but read the Curseworkers series by Holly Black and i remember how much i enjoyed her writing style.

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    1. Thank you!
      Yeah me too- hehe definitely get what you mean 😉 I find flawed characters more relatable in general 😉 And I definitely agree about it being very inspiring for bad characters to have good qualities too 🙂

      Oh that’s great- I haven’t read that one but read a couple of others and love her writing style too 😀

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  8. Great review! I enjoy Black’s work, but I haven’t read this one yet. I might pick it up when I make my foray back into YA, you’ve certainly eased some of my concerns about it.

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  9. I’m really glad you enjoyed this book, I just recently reread The Cruel Prince and finished reading The Wicked King and if you enjoyed this one I think you’ll love the second one for sure! 🙂 I really loved Jude, and loved the setting and how Holly Black wrote the faerie world (when it comes to books with fae characters Holly Black is the best). 🙂 I do get what you mean about being a little conflicted about the romance, it makes sense but I think I kept waiting for the twist that seemed to happen with every other aspect of the story (a feeling that has only increased now I’ve read the second book!)
    Great review. 🙂 ❤️

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    1. That’s great to hear- I’m very much looking forward to the second one! 😀 Jude was such a fantastic character! And I really agree with you about Black’s world building 🙂 And yeah I do get what you mean there- I was kinda waiting for an explanation as well. Thanks very much! 🙂 ❤

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  10. I, to this day, think I read a different copy of this book to most everyone else 😀 just so many things felt off, especially that romance, gah 😀 and when I went to purposefully spoiler myself on The Wicked King and found out things were going exactly as I thought I wouldn’t like them, I decided to be fair to the book and fans and not read it 😀 so glad you enjoyed this book!!! Can’t wait to read your review of TWK and live vicariously through you 😉

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  11. After seeing everyone on Twitter hype so much about The Wicked King recently I’ve been itching to try The Cruel Prince. And after reading how much you enjoyed this one, especially with the pacing, it is definitely making it’s way up the TBR list! In fact I mayyy just have to add this one to my basket, hehe.

    Great review!


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