I’m a few years late on The Cruel Prince train, but it’s better late than never when it comes to The Folk of the Air series by Holly black.
- Genre: YA Fantasy
- Heat Level: ❤️
- Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
Jude and her sisters lived a normal human life until a man broke into their home one day, killing their parents and taking them away to a land across the water that they’ve only dreamed of. The man, Madoc, is a fairy, and her oldest sister Vivienne’s real father. He raises Jude and her twin sister as his own, but there’s no place for humans in the beautiful, dangerous world of Elfhame.
As Jude fights to earn her place as one of the royal knights, she also fights the young Prince Cardan and his friends, who delight in torturing mortals. But as much as her mortality is a curse, it’s also a benefit when the elder prince Dain, next in line to the throne, welcomes her into his underground network of spies. After all, humans can lie, making her mortality a very useful thing to have.
Jude longs to fit in and finally find where she belongs, but even her own family seems to work against her. As she unravels court secrets and tries to keep herself alive, it seems she might belong in the fairly world after all.
I wasn’t sure how I would like this book. I’ve heard mixed reviews and didn’t know how the book being YA would affect my score. But I was pleasant surprised by how much I enjoyed it, even without the dramatic romance I was promised. That is literally the only thing I felt was missing, but it is a YA book, so I didn’t expect Jude and Prince Cardan to get freaky in fairy land right off the bat.
The world building was amazing. I grew up on books like The Hobbit, Abhorsen series, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, so I appreciate the level of care and creativity Black put into this book. But it’s clear she also did her research into real fairly lore to build her characters and the rules by which they live by. She showed the fae as beautiful but dangerous, tricky and deadly. Perfection.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and have already begun book two. I recommend it to all fantasy fans who love strong female characters, lovely world building, and court intrigue.