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The Cruel Prince

Narrated by: Caitlin Kelly
Length: 12 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (4,286 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

By number-one New York Times best-selling 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.

©2018 Holly Black (P)2018 Hachette Audio

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed feelings . . .

Any additional comments?

This book is divided into book 1 and book 2. My feelings and review are similarly divided.

Book 1 bored me. I actually stopped reading it twice and only picked it back up because I spent money on it. Having finished the entire book, I can now see that book 1 is dull because it is almost entirely setup for book 2. It is mostly repetitive scenes of our protagonist being downtrodden and bullied ruthlessly by 4 seemingly-interchangeable characters. Once the bullies' personalities start to show, anyone who's read a book before can anticipate which one is the faux love interest and which one is the real deal, but it seems like the protagonist willfully ignores obvious signs of their true characters--which while perhaps believable, is frustrating to read. I spent book 1 impatient for things to happen. The best I can say about it is that it facilitates the thrilling events of book 2, and we did get to watch the interesting character development of our protagonist.

Book 2 hooked me immediately. It is pretty much just straight hours of payoff for everything that book 1 tediously set up. Starting from the ending of book 1, THINGS HAPPEN. Lots of things. Fun things. There are many events and revelations I did not see coming, and it is satisfying to watch all the elements that were introduced in book 1 get reincorporated in one form or another -- though some of these reincorporations were not as satisfying as others. I actually felt things, good or bad, about the characters. The author even managed to make me hate a character! Which means she made me care enough to actually hate. The ending made me want to read the sequel, despite how much I did not enjoy book 1. I would have enjoyed this book more as a whole if it did not take so long for the real story and real characters to get going.

Just like the book itself, I liked the reader more in book 2. Maybe she just hit her stride later or maybe it took me a while to get used to her. But in book 1, I often felt like I was a child sitting on the carpet and she was reading me a picture book. I think part of this is because I don't think there is even one contraction in the entire book?? Dialogue with no contractions sounds unnatural and stilted -- I can't blame the reader for that. By the time I finished the book, I was totally fine with the reader. She created some good, distinct voices.

As a side note, this book contained one of the most interesting characters I've recently read in fantasy: murderous-fairy-cat-dad! I greatly enjoyed the nature of his character and his relationship/interactions with other characters. He is the character whose fate/endgame I was most interested in.

Ending thoughts: I have an overall positive opinion of the book! I do feel like it is worth getting through the boring parts to get to the good stuff. And I can't really dislike a book that contains a character I enjoy as much as murderous-fairy-cat-dad.

87 of 90 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

So good you’ll want to cyberstalk the author

This audiobook is so good you’ll want to cyberstalk the author, Holly Black, for excerpts and release information for the sequel. The performance by the narrator is stellar. Caitlin Kelly’s has epic range. Her character voices are vivid and magical.
The novel has:
✔️ Insanely creative world building.
✔️ Stoic, strong, believable lead heroine and a cast of characters worthy of a Lewis Carroll novel.
✔️ Wicked plot twists that will have you dancing around the room while biting your nails.
✔️ When the last line is read, you’ll gasp, and then laugh like a drunkard in anticipation of the day you can read the sequel.

Do yourself a favor and get The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. 🙌🙌🙌🙌

85 of 90 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Struggle to get through

A few reviewers hit the nail right on the head with the pacing. Toooooo slow! While a lot of the plot twist were predictable, what really hurt the story was how it dragged along in book one. Book two was better, but still...get to the point. If this book was edited to trim some of the excess, it would be a really great read. Of course world building and character development take time, but the story started to lose direction when things dragged out.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Whatever Award they give to books...GIVE IT 2 Her!

Out of 91 books that Ive read or listened to THE CRUEL PRINCE is the Best freaking book I've read in the past 365 days!

The last 3 months I've been in Fantasy Book Hell. I couldn't find a GREAT book. I had okay and not too bad. But nothing knocked me off my feet.

And then, I came upon this one. Goodness I feel revived! After that ending I have chills. I hate reading new books because im such an impatient listener. In my excitement I guess I can tell you alittle about the book.


The book evolves around the lives of three sisters. The oldest, Vivi, who is the only real Fae. The other two, Taryn and Jude, are twins and also regular humans. One thing I found interesting is that the story is told by one of the mortal twins, Jude, instead of Vivi.

Vivi is actually more of a backdrop. She has a few scenes here and there, but her story line doesn't affect the story much. The real drama is with the twins. The second thing I found interesting is the use of the twin bond. Usually when an author puts twins in a story they have this unbreakable bond and super scary close-ness. It's not so with this set of twins.

Both of the twins want to be accepted but they attempt to achieve it in completely different ways. Taryn wants to charm them with her politeness, while Jude wants to earn their respect with a blade.

The Cruel Prince that the title refers to is Carden. He is indeed cruel and seemingly lacking of all decency. But with all intelligent creatures, there is always more than what you see on the outside.

I'm quite taken in by Jude. I felt her short burst of happiness, my stomach ached when she was in pain, my chest tightened when she was betrayed, and now at the end of this journey together, I feel like I'm helping her hold this burden she carries. And tells me that the author has achieved the ultimate goal. I'm now a part of this world and 100% caught up in the lives of its characters. That's sone good f $!#/ writing!!!

39 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story, HORRIBLE Narration

I have been a huge Holly Black fan since reading Tithe years and years ago and so excited to hear her newest as an audiobook. Oh dear God. The most overwrought and irritating narration I have ever suffered through. As much as I loved the story, the narrator made me keep shrieking "oh, do shut up!" at regular intervals. The teen characters were offensively Valley Girl-esque and the male character voices made my teeth clench. Next book of the series, I will be reading it the old fashioned way. Highly recommended as a book, but NOT as an audiobook.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Definitely over-hyped.

The skinny:
At seven years old, Jude's parents are murdered, and she and her sisters are whisked away to Faerie (a separate world from ours, where immortal faeries live in a feudal-ish system). Fast forward ten years, and Jude is a bullied human who's trying to fit in this magical word she's grown up in. The end. Jk...sorta.

Thoughts:
The problem with this book is its plot and its pacing. It started off great, but then it took a nosedive into Snooze Land. You see Jude as a tough girl who wants to be somebody, a girl who's trying to make a name for herself, and you follow along as she puts up with/stands up to the faeries, who love to pick on humans for their mortality and susceptibility to magic manipulation. And that's about the gist of it. While minor plot twists kept things from stagnating, I scratched my head as I listened, wondering where the story was supposed to be going, but I didn't get any solid answers until around the third act, when things finally got interesting.

Jude is an intriguing MC. She doesn't fit in to any of the tropes as she's sort of a gray character, neither good nor evil. I liked that about her, even though I didn't necessarily relate to her. To be honest, I did not relate to any of the characters, but strangely, this did not take away from my quasi-enjoyment of the story. I also liked how her relationship with Cardan evolved toward the end, and yet still left lots of room for more in the next installment, which I have a feeling will be much, much better than its predecessor.

Bottom line:
It was an ok listen. But with the promise of a much stronger sequel, I think it's worth giving the series a try.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I wanted to love it...

I remember reading Holly Black’s books in high school and really loving them, this was middle of the line. The story was good - the characters were a bit unbelievable (and not because they were fairies).

The main character is arrogant but also self conscious of everything around her and even though the story is told through her perspective you can easily see the other characters motivations from the very beginning. (Again this is targeted for a younger audience so complexity wasn’t exactly what I was expecting).

Overall the book itself was fine - I think it suffered from the narration. Black writes in a very flowery language so there’s not much need for embellishment. The narrator however delivered every line line it was the climax of a Shakespearean soliloquy.

Overall I’d say 6/10.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Restart

I had to restart this book, but I'm glad I finished it. Originally, I made it halfway through, yet the story was still rambling along and I lost motivation. I only restarted and finished because my friend raved about the ending.

Yes, the story starts off slow and might get bogged down, but towards the end the pacing picks up, the main characters see incredibly interesting development, and the next book is set up nicely.

I give it 3 stars because of the lagging first half, but definitely will recommend it to others (with a warning to push through the first half of course).

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Main Character Needs Some Work

Semi-Spoiler Alert.

So the main character, Jude is very slow. Frustratingly slow. She is supposed to be this spy for this prince but does some really stupid things. She also isn’t good at figuring things out that are right in front of her. It also took forever to come up with the plan that I am sure you as the reader have already determined as the best course of action. There were times that I just wanted to stop listening because of how slow she is at putting things together. I also dislike her twin sister, because loyalty is not a thing for her, at all. If you can get pass that then it isn’t that bad of a story.

Narrator did an awesome job at all the different character voices.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Interesting plot, poor execution

The world, clearly taken from Alice in Wonderland, is the only thing that is good about this book. The story which has potential in the beginning turns into a teenage drama where every secondary character lives to serve main character Jude, who is whiny and egocentric. Really wish I could get my credit back.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful