The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
What do you do when your parents are brutally murder right in front of you? Go live with the guy who did it, obviously. Jude, her twin sister Taryn, and older sister Vivienne do just that, but they don’t have much choice. Madoc, the man who murdered Jude’s parents, happens to be Vivienne’s real father, and Vivi’s pointed ears she's had her whole life are starting to make a lot more sense. He came to reclaim his daughter and wife, but ended up with two human children instead and vows to raise them on his own. And, he’s a man of his word. A high -ranking warrior fae, who feels more comfortable with blood on his hands and a battle at hand, Madoc takes the three to live with him. Ten years have passed when we meet Jude again. She’s lived with the fae for most of her life now and still can’t get over how different, how much better, stronger, more beautiful they are than her. Her resentment toward them is strong while her twin sister, Taryn, just wants to get married to one and have babies and her older sister Vivi, a half fae, wants nothing more than to be gone from this place so she can be with her human girlfriend. Jude’s goal is to become a warrior in the high court and despite her training hard, still hasn’t won the approval of Madoc, a man she has come to love and respect despite the small detail of him killing her parents. Lest she ever forgets she is merely an inferior human, she endures a trio of fae who delight in belittling her, tricking her, and making her life an all-out hell. Her sister would rather play the meek card but Jude’s blood doesn’t run that way, and that stubborn trait gets her into more trouble than necessary.
Jude is a hard character to fall in love with and, honestly, it took me a while to get there. Her flaws make her choices seem irresponsible and naive but ultimately, unselfish. Her relationships are unhealthy, to say the least, of both the platonic and romantic kind. While there isn’t a ton of swoony moments, Black makes the most of the ones there are, and readers will be fainting from hotness when something does finally happen. But be prepared, it’s fleeting and singular. The second half of this book is much stronger than the first and Holly Black picks up steam as she settles into the guts of the story. The faerie high court is getting ready to name a new King, and Jude’s alliances to her own family come into question when things don’t go as planned. Bloodshed, court politics, plotting, scheming, and double-crossing are the norm- but what did you expect from the fae? As this first book comes to a close, Jude’s decisions based on what she thinks is the right thing may just come back to haunt her. I’m looking forward to the next year and one day, ;). Cardan, is it wrong that I hope you give her hell?