The Cruel Prince is my first experience reading a Holly Black novel, and boy, was this an entertaining read from start to finish!
So many things worked well in this book. The story is even more exciting than the book summary, and the summary sounds pretty darn good. It’s action-packed leaving no room for boredom. The pacing seemed just right; in fact, I can’t think of any moment when I was thinking, get on with it or please slow down. The world building easily invites you in, even when they were switching between worlds. In fact, there was a nice transition between the two places. I felt as if I knew exactly what it would be like to live there, especially when learning of the traditions and the history.
As far as the overall tone, there’s an ongoing sense that something bad is about to happen, which I enjoyed. You have heart-pounding moments and those wonderful moments when you’re yelling at the book or in some cases a specific character.
The characters are distinct and well developed, although you feel like none of them are completely trustworthy. It was still easy to care about them one way or the other. The novel is narrated by Jude, who is a strong, courageous character. She consistently pushes past her fears and showing that she has flaws. I felt Jude’s intense hatred of Prince Cardan! Her anger gets out of control, understandably so. There are wonderful interactions between some of the characters, especially when it involves Jude. Lots of drama!
There were some nice twists involving betrayal that I honestly didn’t see coming. It’s not a predictable story, at least to me it wasn’t. I wasn’t the least bit disappointed in the ending. It has a strong ending that leaves the door slightly ajar for the follow-up. Speaking of which, when does it release? Not soon enough.
I can’t really think of anything that I disliked about it. I hated some of the characters, but I love the fact that I hated them, if that makes sense. I honestly don’t know why this wasn’t a five-star read. Nothing specific went wrong with it. It’s just a feeling, really. Still, I highly recommend it.