Cover The Cruel Prince: A gold crown caught on leafless branches on a white background

About the Book

Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
Published: 2017

Cover Story: Crown of Thorns
BFF Charm: Yay / Caution
Talky Talk: Dark And Mysterious And A Danger To You All
Bonus Factor: Machiavellian Machinations
Relationship Status: Put A Ring On It

Cover Story: Crown of Thorns

As you might know, this cover has two versions: a black special edition, and a white one. Although I prefer the white one (it just looks like it belongs in my apartment), I think they’re both stark and austere and gorgeous. I love the crown, I love the thorny branches, and I love the focus on the title font instead of going for a more “faerie”-ish version. The spare nature of the cover suits the book perfectly. I can’t wait to see what’s done with the next one.

The Deal:

Jude is one of three sisters, along with Vivienne and Taryn. When they are young, a faerie warrior comes to their home and brutally murders their parents right in front of them, then whisks them away to the faerielands. It seems that Vivi is the daughter of Madoc, a high-ranking warrior in the Court. When he kills their parents, he takes all three girls and raises them as if they were all part of Faerie, instead of one half-human and two human girls.

Jude has never liked her inferior status as a human girl. The Faerie are stronger, more powerful, and infinitely more beautiful than humans, and they never let her forget it: especially a group of particularly horrible friends. Over the years, as her twin Taryn wants to marry into Faerie and bear children, and older sister Vivi wants to escape to be with her human girlfriend, Jude becomes more and more resentful. It is her one desire to become a knight and best the faerie folk at their own game…but it seems that her path has other forks.

But no matter what, she will manage to best the faerie folk who have tormented her the most…

BFF Charm: Yay / Caution

Jude isn’t an anti-heroine, but she exists in such a grey area that there are times where she seems like one. Her motivations are completely understandable, and yet, you find yourself wincing at her single-minded focus on power and revenge. On the other hand, this makes her incredibly interesting. I absolutely loved her, but I don’t think I’d want to be her best friend.

Or would I? She’s loyal to the people she cares about, has compassion, and I would absolutely trust her to try to do the right thing; whether she can pull it off remains to be seen. She’s mostly out for number one, but she does fiercely love her sisters and faerie brother.

Mostly, though, I want to be her: I want her skills with a sword and also for the reasons listed in the Swoonworthy Scale (holy crap).

Swoonworthy Scale: 10

HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP. When you read my 10 rating, please be advised that this isn’t a 10 in that there’s going to be explicit descriptions of anything too naughty. BUT STILL. In an already dark, lush, sexy book, the main romantic relationships (such as they are) between the characters are even more dangerous and thrilling. When I finished the book, I immediately flipped back to my favorite parts; there is sensual detail and enemistry in spades. They are not healthy relationships, but they sure are hot. I am pretty sure the temperature of my apartment went up at least ten degrees whenever there was kissing, and yes, the kissing is so worth the long, slow build-up.

Talky Talk: Dark And Mysterious And A Danger To You All

This is Holly Black at her finest: the book is ripe with gorgeous and evocative descriptions of the cruel faerie world, without going into flowery territory. Somehow, she manages to make Faerie seem like a tempting, albeit dangerous, place to live for a human.

Bonus Factor: Machiavellian Machinations

A painting of 1700-1800s women sitting and gossiping as a group of man stand apart also gossiping

I love court intrigue, and Black delivers. Jude’s journey from knight to, well, the place she ends up (no spoilers here!) is full of twists and turns that would make Niccolo himself proud.

Relationship Status: Put A Ring On It

Book, I had a good feeling going into our date, but this is love (and at least lust) at first sight. You have me hooked. I don’t know how I’m going to handle the wait for our next date (the temptation to pull a Mission Impossible-style manuscript heist is curbed only by my clumsiness and lack of financing). Look, I know it’s a little soon, and there’s always the possibility that our next dates won’t be quite as thrilling—but I don’t think so. What do you say we make this official?

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. This review was originally posted on Kirkus Reviews in exchange for monetary compensation, which did not affect or influence my opinions. The Cruel Prince is available now.