The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
I read The Cruel Prince way back in 2018 when it was first released. Spoiler alert (not really), it ends on a cliffhanger. I then had to wait ONE YEAR for book two, The Wicked King. Spoiler alert (not really), it also ends on a cliffhanger. I then had to wait ANOTHER year for book three, The Queen of Nothing. And the wait was worth it!!! I am so envious of those of you picking up The Cruel Prince for the first time because you can read all three books, one after the other. Lucky you! The Cruel Prince was recently named a nominee for the 2020-2021 Missouri Gateway Readers Award so it's the perfect time to dive in.
When Jude was seven years old, a tall man in a dark coat walked into her home and killed her parents. He then explained to Jude’s older sister, Vivi, that he was her true father and he was there to take her back to the world of Faerie. Because he just killed their parents and he is a man that does not shirk from his responsibilities, he would also be taking Jude and her twin sister, Taryn, with them. See, the girls’ mother married this man, lived with him in Faerie, and had Vivi. Just a few years later, after realizing she wasn’t meant to live in Faerie, she faked her death and returned to the world of mortals, married her true love, and had Jude and Taryn. And tried to forget her faerie past. Vivi’s fuzzy, pointed ears raised some eyebrows, but other than that, it was easy to do. Until Madoc showed up at her door and ended her life.
Flash forward ten years. The girls have been raised in Faerie, in Madoc’s beautiful home which is overflowing with servants. The girls each have different coping strategies for being raised in the home of the General of the High Court of Faerie. Vivi is openly hostile to Madoc and rebels by secretly and frequently visiting the mortal world. Taryn forgets her mortal beginnings and focuses on following the rules of Faerie and tries to fit in as much as possible. For Jude, our narrator, protagonist, and the most kickass female character I’ve read since Katsa (Graceling) and Katniss (duh), the only way to deal is through bloodshed and fighting and working hard to become a knight for the Faerie King. Prince Dain, future King of the Fey, has other plans for her.
What follows is a deliciously complicated tale of danger, intrigue, twists and turns, unpredictability, truths and lies, and so much more. The big scene at the end literally had me gasping aloud. The Cruel Prince is the beginning an EPIC fantasy trilogy where each book is as good as the first (a rarity). I highly recommend you listen this series; the audiobooks are fantastic. FZ West High students and teachers, the book and audio are available now through Sora!
You know you can trust an author to tell you an impressive faerie story when that author has made her status as a faerie fan permanent by way of undergoing ear pointing surgery. Yes; author, Holly Black, recently had her ears pointed so she could officially look like the fey. Holly Black, you are my HERO. I wish I was half as cool as you. You make my Harry Potter tattoo look like a joke. She even throws this fact into The Cruel Prince when there’s a discussion about how some humans are so obsessed with the world of faerie that they go so far as to have surgery to point their ears.
Pictured above: O'Daniels and I are THRILLED to meet Holly Black in November of 2017 but then we get yelled at for being too loud . . . WORTH IT!