I feel like singing “Hello Dolly” except it is “Hello Holly” because she is back to where she belongs. No one writes about Fairies the way that Holly does. From the Spiderwick Chronicles to Modern Faerie Tales to Darkest Part of the Forest, her stories are a mixture of faerie lore with modern twists and not one is the same. The Cruel Prince is a new spin on the changeling story. Instead of a fairy leaving one of their off spring with humans to replace their own babies, we have twins Jude and Taryn who are stolen from their home after Madoc kills their parents. You see, Madoc is the general to the High King in Faerie and has an odd sense of honor. He married their mother and well she escaped, taking their baby, Vivi, with her to the Human world. Ten years later he finds her married to another and in a fit of rage kills both of them and then out of duty he takes all the kids back to Faerie and raises them as his own. Jude and Taryn were seven when they come to live and Faerie and have come to think about it as home despite living with their parents murderer. There are only two ways humans can join the court. They can either marry their way in or earn their way by becoming a knight. Taryn wants to the former and Jude the latter. In Jude’s quest to become a Knight she battles against the cruel and spoiled Prince Cardan and his viscous friends. Like any kid who has ever been bullied, you come to a point where you can no longer just sit by and let things happen and start fighting back. Jude is given the opportunity to prove herself to Cardan’s brother, Dain, who is expected to be named King by becoming one of his spies but this is Faerie and things don’t go the way you expect. The coronation didn’t go as planned, people revealed themselves to be not to who she thought them to be. Despite all the betrayals and double crosses, Jude takes the opportunity to make her own power play. I love Jude. She is smart and brave. Being a human growing up in Faerie is fraught with challenges but she has found ways to turn those disadvantages to her advantage and outsmarts them all. That being said, the real conflict as the series is going to be if she able to deliver on all the the promises she’s made. Will her allies continue to support her? And will Cardan and her ever hook up? Fans of Black’s Modern Faerie Tales trilogy will love the surprise cameos from Roiben and Kaye. This is a great start to another classic Holly black faerie tale.
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