The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, 1) - book cover
Literature & Fiction
  • Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition
  • Published : 04 Dec 2018
  • Pages : 416
  • ISBN-10 : 031631031X
  • ISBN-13 : 9780316310314
  • Language : English

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, 1)

By #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, the first book in a stunning new series about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue.

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.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Cruel Prince:

Readers Top Reviews

"But I am done with being weak. I am done with being good. I think I am going to be something else." This book! My gosh! I went in to this not sure what to expect. I had heard the hype and I'd also heard conflicting reviews. Well - I use caps sparingly but the situation calls for them - I LOVED IT! Firstly, I inhaled this book in 24 hours. I couldn't put it down. The History and Politics teacher in me was jumping up and down at the fantastic political intrigue and scheming. I loved the correlations between medieval courts and power. I sat on the edge of my seat throughout this book, shouting 'Noooo' in absolute shock at some of the twists. This book is all about the tension, drama and action. And with the ultimate enemies-to-lovers story at the heart of it - what's not to like? I was afraid at the beginning that I wouldn't like it since it follows a lot of the original mythologies of faeries, e.g. Seelie and unseelie, etc. Being Irish and raised on superstition, I'm not a fan of these faery tales but it worked for this book. "This is the least of what I can do." And with that I've already started reading The Wicked King with untold anticipation of where the schemes are going to next...
Ich bin durch Zufall auf das Buch gestoßen und durch die positiven Rezensionen dazu animiert worden, es zu kaufen. Ich habe mir etwas in Richtung "Red Queen" oder "Shadow & Bone" vorgestellt, also zwar Jugendliteratur, aber halt richtig gute. Der Anfang hat mir auch richtig gut gefallen, er hat mich geradezu angefixt. Die Welt fand ich interessant, man muss nicht lange warten, bis Action aufkommt, supi. Danach allerdings hat sich meine Begeisterung gelegt, wovon ich vieles darauf zurückführe, dass ich altersmäßig (26) langsam aus dem Genre Jugendliteratur wachse. [Im Folgenden kommen kleine Spoiler] Das größte Problem hatte ich mit den Charakteren. Jude ist als Hauptfigur gewiss keine Sympathieträgerin. Ich hatte schon in einer anderen Rezension gelesen, dass man mit ihr vielleicht nicht warm werde, und das ist auch wahr. Sie ist eigentlich ziemlich kacke und egoistisch, ohne dabei interessant zu sein. Darüber ist sie ein Übercharakter, der irgendwie alles kann, kämpfen, Intrigen spinnen, stehlen, etc etc. Der Autorin gelingt es in meinen Augen nicht, ihr einen richtigen Charakter zu geben, da ihre Entscheidungen häufig keinen Sinn ergeben und eher zum Weiterführen der Handlung getätigt werden. Dasselbe gilt auch für jeden anderen der vielen blassen Charaktere. Das hat mich richtig aufgeregt. Kaum einer der Personen hat mehr als zwei Charaktereigenschaften: Madoc/Bain/Cardan/jeder Fey ist grausam und hinterhältig, Vivi ist rebellisch, Jude ist nervtötend und undurchsichtig, Taryn ist nur nervig. Die Charaktere sind austauschbar, blass und langweilig. Das macht auch die kurze Liebesgeschichte überaus langweilig, kein Funke springt über, nichts. Irgendwann verfliegt auch die Dramatik, wenn jeder ständig, STÄNDIG, als grausam bezeichnet wird, weil z.B. Madoc kaum grausame Sachen macht und ebenso ständig gesagt wird, dass er Jude und ihre Schwestern liebt, und man das auch ebenso wenig sieht. Der Court of Shadows, dem Jude irgendwann angehört, ist so blass und so ohne Charakter, dass es wehtut. Ich war und bin sehr sehr enttäuscht. Dadurch, dass die Charaktere so blass sind, ist man dann auch mit wenig Sympathie dabei und wenn halt welche von ihnen sterben, dann juckt mich das kaum. Ohne groß auf den Inhalt einzugehen, hatte ich auch mit der Handlung ein paar Probleme. Das Grundgerüst ist überschaubar, die "Überraschung" beim Ende sehr vorhersehbar. Sehr lange Zeit passiert kaum etwas, es geht nur um das Mobbing und Judes nervtötende Schwester und eine kleine Liebesgeschichte. Viele Dinge ergeben keinen Sinn und sind überdramatisiert dargestellt. Bis zum eigentlichen Finale passiert eigentlich nüscht. Obwohl man weiß, dass irgendeine Falle kommt, wird nichts getan. Das hat mich aufgeregt. Einen roten Faden habe ich auch nicht wirklich entdecken können, mir war sehr lange Zeit nicht klar, in welche Richtung das Buch denn n...
Tasha Ní Mhiacháin
4.5 ⭐ My first time in Elfhame left a bad impression. I felt so out of step because everyone was gushing about The Cruel Prince and I was on the outside thinking ‘I just don’t get it.’ That’s partly why I do not like reading books mid hype. But anyway.. A friend talked me into reading The Wicked King, a little longer in the world of Elfhame and I finally felt like I was starting to get it. With Queen of Nothing on the horizon I decided to participate in a readalong with two people who haven’t yet stepped into the world Holly created. Despite having read it… Despite knowing every twist and turn… I loved it. I think people should be warned that this isn’t your typical YA story, you’ll step into Elfhame, you’ll be surrounded by cruel, beautiful, wicked creatures and you’ll probably question your own morals when you fall in love with them. There’s still plenty of characters I hate, don’t get me wrong but there’s a lot I can’t help loving. It’s full of danger, betrayal, bloodshed, manipulation and cunning. Cunning above all else because the Folk cannot lie so they have to be especially clever with everything they say and do. During my first read it was hard to grasp that along with the new world setting and everything else but this time I paid attention to every word. If you’re like me, if you love everything fae and you’re unsure about this, my advice is to read it twice. Give yourself a wee break between reads and see where it takes you the second time around. I’m so glad I gave it another go. I am now really and truly obsessed. Here’s one of my favourite moments; “Take care,” he says, and then smiles. “It would be very dull to have to sit here for an entire day just because you went and got yourself killed.” “My last thoughts would be of your boredom,” I tell him.
Based on the description and title, I was expecting this to predominantly be a fantasy romance, with a "bad boy" or perhaps even villainous fairy love interest. I really enjoy that sort of thing, but was worried it might feel a bit generic and overdone. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to discover that this is basically full-blown fantasy, with the focus very much on politics, plotting and life and death scenarios. It's also very strong on showing the emotional conflicts and inner turmoil faced by the characters, particularly the lead, Jude. Speaking of Jude, I was expecting either a kick-ass fantasy heroine or a softer romantic lead. Again, my assumptions were dashed. She turned out to be a very dark heroine, bordering on antiheroine. She kills, she plots, she does ruthless things. And her backstory and her ongoing fears and ambitions are so well set out that you completely understand the things she does and keep rooting for her. The supporting characters were also mostly compelling and nuanced. I particularly liked Madoc, Jude's adoptive father, a bloodthirsty fairy general who killed her biological parents but genuinely loves and cares for her. The unusual backstory and set-up really add a lot compared to the standard set up of a human girl either wandering into faerie by mistake or discovering she is half fairy herself. Jude has grown up as an aristocrat of the fairy world, but facing huge prejudice for being biologically human. And her feelings towards her adoptive father and adopted land are wonderfully conflicted. The world is set out beautifully and strikes a nice balance between solidly well-developed and appropriately dreamlike. I didn't realise until close to the end, when a cameo made it clear, but this is set in the same world as the author's old Tithe novels. I didn't enjoy them as much as this, but I think the existence of all that existing world-building really helped here. As I've mentioned, romance was much less front and centre than I was expecting, though it bubbles under the surface, There was a side romance that felt rather throw away and did nothing for me. It's quite clear from both the title and the entire set up that Cardan, the titular Cruel Prince, is meant to be the main love interest, though, without getting too spoilery, there's surprisingly little development on that front in this volume. If I had one quibble with the book, it's that I was a little disappointed in Cardan. I was expecting him to be a bit like the Darkling or similar - cruel in a scheming, sinister way, with lots of ambition but also lots of charm. In this instalment at least, he was more like a petty, spoiled school bully, albeit one who happened to be a fairy prince, and wasn't particularly competent. And the way he treated the heroine was unpleasant and not linked to any wider plan. Overall though, this was a really well-wr...

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