The Folk of the Air #1
“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.”
Weirdly, and kind of horribly, part of me is disappointed with this book. I usually try to keep myself away from hype but I was very unsuccessful in that regard with this and I think I got a little carried away. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed it immensely and I’ll be eagerly awaiting the sequel.
“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”
1. The characters. The big draw for me to this book was the promise of incredibly morally grey characters and it did not disappoint. One of the best examples I can give is the Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu because that’s how grey these characters are. In so many other fey stories, the humans are the ones who want to escape that world but in this story, Jude (and to some extend her twin sister Taryn) want to be a part of that world because of the promise it offers. This forces them into some tricky decisions and compromising positions. Because of this, it’s so interesting to see their interactions with each other. You get such a clear view of each character (Madoc is one of my favorites for sure!) but their interactions always bring surprises. More on a technical note, I found each character to be well drawn and not even side characters were neglected when it came to development. To use the words of Meredith Grey, everyone is very dark and twisty.
One thing I found myself wishing for, though, was a cast of characters and their positions/affiliations. There are quite a few introduced at the beginning and while it’s by no means an overwhelming number, I found myself struggling to keep track of everyone’s place within the court which would, undoubtedly, made the story much more satisfying and interesting.
“What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.”
2. The plot. This is also where a bit of disappointment set in. For some reason, I just couldn’t get myself truly invested in the story until about the halfway mark. What kept me going until then was interest in Madoc’s actions and the curious hints the author left behind. There isn’t too much of an overall plot arc to speak of. However, once the plot really got going, it was going. The ending especially is so incredibly intricate and beautiful. The author also build up a lot of plot lines towards the end and surprisingly, it wasn’t at all overwhelming. As I said, it all just wove together for a beautifully planned ending.
“If you hurt me, I wouldn’t cry. I would hurt you back.”
3. The romance. I’m not going to say too much about this because it’s part of the major ending twist but I will say that I thought I was expecting it but it turns out that I wasn’t at all but the twist perfectly exemplified the involved character’s attitudes and I can’t believe I didn’t see it coming. That doesn’t happen to me too often (YA and fantasy can get remarkably predictable if you know where to look) and I immensely enjoyed it.
“I have lied and I have betrayed and I have triumphed. If only there was someone to congratulate me.”
4. The setting/atmosphere. At first, I found it hard to find my way in this new, reimagined land of the fey. I’ve read a few books that take place in the land of the fey and they’ve always been based on the same basic mythological roots and haven’t really strayed from that. However, this book cleverly reimagines the entire scope while bringing in touches of familiarities as cornerstones (i.e. keeping the basic groups as the Unseelie, the Seelie, and the wild fey). I came to love this new world and while it isn’t the most atmospheric book I’ve ever read, it worked very well with the complex plot and characters.
“Let’s have a toast. To the incompetence of our enemies.”
The Final Verdict:
While I do have some minor grievances, I did enjoy it overall. The Cruel Prince is full of startling twists, complex characters, and brilliant plotlines. Also, quick side note, this book is incredibly quotable.