The Cruel Prince audiobook
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The Cruel Prince audiobook free
The hype surrounding The Cruel Prince is pretty extraordinary. Everywhere I looked someone was mentioning The Cruel Prince in some capacity. Whether it was through a review, about the characters, about the author or their overall love for the series. The reviews had the same sentiment with glowing five stars. With this much love, I thought it must be good! To my surprise, I didnt fall in love with this book like everyone else and found myself in the minority.
Unpopular opinion incoming. Boy, was this novel problematic. Im going to start with the title. With a title such as The Cruel Prince, one would assume that The Cruel Prince (Cardan) would mean the story was centered around the prince or the prince would at least play a significant role in the book. However, there was neither. The novel is actually narrated by Jude, a human girl who was taken to Faerie at the age of seven and was raised among the gentry as if she was a fair folk princess. At this point, I had a feeling it wasn’t going to bode well when I realized how misleading the title was.
Then we had the heroine Jude. Oh how I hated Jude. Jude despised the fair folk and yet she desperately wanted to be one of them. Hypocrite much? She often mentioned how cruel and selfish the gentry were but she literally did everything in her power to be just like them or cruelerbelieving it made her better than them. Its not an admirable trait nor something to aspire to. Jude had a shitty personality to begin with but it got worst when she joined a secret organization and became a spy for a powerful fair folk. All the secrets went straight to her head. She went around threatening people and went as far as murdering a fair folk because she thought she was untouchable (she claimed self-defense but lets get real she wanted to kill him). She never felt remorse for her actions and had little to no care for the consequences (and of course it helped that she hid all the proof). Many readers saw Jude as a strong, kick-ass heroine and her actions as self empowering. But she was not. Jude was nothing more than a disgusting and despicable human being. How anyone can like her is a mystery to me.
Before I read The Cruel Prince, I saw people shipping Jude and Cardan. Readers normally shipped couples they loved, so again, I assumed Cardan and Jude were a couple. And big shocker, they were never a couple! From the moment the two characters met, all I felt was the loathing, animosity and frustration between the two. Every exchange and interaction thereafter between Jude and Cardan resulted in either the characters insulting one another or physically attacking one another. I was baffled. Why would readers approve of this? In an early scene, Cardan shoved Jude against a wall/or tree and proceeded to choke her and tell her how beneath him she was. The male character was literally emotionally and physically abusive to the female character and yet readers found this behavior acceptableand I dare say, romantic? Its not cute or romantic. Its sick, revolting and unacceptable. It may be a fantasy novel and everything was fake but when real people start romanticizing it, theres definitively a problem. And the book is marketed to teens no less. I love a good fantasy novel, I even love faeries but this book is not appropriate for children. I am surprised the book was approved and published because it was absolute rubbish.
The writing was not any better. Reviewers praised Black for her lyrical prose and even dubbed her as the Queen of Faeries but I didnt see it. The writing wasnt beautiful or lyrical. It was simple and basic as they come. The world building and characters were poorly developed and in my opinion unremarkable and unlikable. Ive read far better faerie novels with complex world building and multifaceted characters; and best of all they didnt romanticize abusive/unhealthy relationships.
The Cruel Prince was one of the worst book Ive read in the last couple of years. It seriously boggles my mind how many people love this book. As I mentioned, the writing was average, the world building unimaginative, the characters unlikable but it was still nothing compared to an aggressor disguised as a love interest and violence and cruelty disguised as bravery and strength. That’s messed up and twisted if you asked me. And If you havent read this book yet, do yourself a favor and skip it. Its not worth your time or your money.
The Cruel Prince audiobook in series The Folk of the Air
There’s a couple things you should realize about this book before deciding to read it. 1) The reviews are a little over-hyped. I was looking for something to help me with my book withdrawal after finishing SJ Maas’s trilogy. This book kept showing up as a recommendation and I finally bit the bullet and downloaded a sample. It didn’t grasp my attention at the time and I didn’t bother buying it, instead I read some other books in lieu of this one.
Now, it’s been a while since I downloaded the sample but my thoughts did go back to this book from time to time. Something about it DID intrigue me.
Now this brings me to point #2. The first half of the book isn’t the greatest. You will probably dislike all of the characters which is a major frustration. You can definitely get into the feel of the world and stay there, a testament to the author’s ability to good writing but the 3 sisters, Jude, Taryn, and Vivi feel like they have no personalities at all. The author tries to convince us in a particular chapter that Jude has been through a lot and gives you a glimpse into the twisted way of faeries. This is supposed to reinforce our thoughts that Jude is only a lowly pawn with a predestined life filled with misery and misfortune. This is why she is dull and non-responsive to her own feelings and thoughts.That wasn’t completely supportive enough to justify how bland Jude was. Her inner monologues were thoroughly lacking in regards to bringing the story to life.
Once you hit the second part of the novel, that’s when things begin to pick up the pace and the book becomes a true page turner. It’s as if someone else penned the second half of the novel. Someone who breathes in life and vigor to the plot. Jude becomes sharper, smarter, wittier. I have some issues with that as she was not exactly like that during the first half of the novel. And how she concocts a masterful plan and predicts the outcomes is a little above what I thought she was capable of within such a limited time of playing the Fae game.
Certain elements and plots come to light. It makes you abhor certain characters even more and makes you want to find out what some characters are ultimately up to. And some even manage to redeem themselves, although not entirely just yet. There is a lot of potential here for the next novel and I am really looking forward to seeing what Cardan will do to Jude after what goes down at the end of the novel. I also want to know what Locke’s endgame is. True to what he says earlier, he is indeed a trickster; a very dirty one at that. Will Jude also be punished for her crime of murder? How will that (literally) be uncovered?
I primarily read adult novels and I do appreciate a good dollop of romance. If this was an adult novel, I would be expecting quite a few feisty and interesting scenes between Cardan and his new ‘master’, Jude. *Sigh*. One can only wish.
If you are on the fence about this novel but do enjoy YA novels with plot twists, conspiracy, and revenge then I would recommend this book to you. Just do yourself a favor and give yourself time to get to the turning point in the novel. I promise, it gets much more intriguing.
Audiobook The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
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-written and well-plotted fantasy with a great heroine and I’m really looking forward to the next instalment.
Audio The Cruel Prince narrated by Caitlin Kelly
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 dont get it. Thats partly why I do not like reading books mid hype.
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 havent 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 isnt your typical YA story, youll step into Elfhame, youll be surrounded by cruel, beautiful, wicked creatures and youll probably question your own morals when you fall in love with them. Theres still plenty of characters I hate, dont get me wrong but theres a lot I cant help loving.
Its 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 youre like me, if you love everything fae and youre 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. Im so glad I gave it another go. I am now really and truly obsessed.
Heres 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.
Free audio The Cruel Prince – in the audio player below
This book starts with a murder. Two, actually. The grisly murder of a woman and her husband by her ex-husband, who just so happens to be Madoc, a vicious faerie warmonger. But rather than return to Elfhame empty handed, he takes with him his daughter Vivi, but also her seven-year-old half-sisters Taryn and Jude, who he chooses to raise in his estate, in the world of the fae.
Raised as mortals in the world of the faeries is a precarious, often dangerous and always brutal existence. The Cruel Prince follows Jude, now a teenager, as she aims to prove herself as more than just human, as a powerful warrior set to be chosen as a knight in a faerie court. However, Jude’s hopes and aims do not go to plan, and soon she finds herself hired as a spy for one of the princes in line for the throne of Elfhame.
This is a novel of political machinations, of lies and brutality, of cruelty and beauty and brilliance.
Someone on GoodReads described it as the literary equivalent of being hit by a truck, and I think that sums it up pretty well.
There is so much to discuss in this novel that it is hard to know where to begin — Jude’s ambition, her sisters’ secrets, Madoc’s secret allegiances, cruel Cardan, beautiful Locke and the fruit! But I genuinely think it’s best if you go into this book knowing as little as I did.
Jude is a brilliant, furious creature — the product of murder, danger and brutality, strength built upon her fragility and weaknesses as a mere mortal, easily swayed and damaged by the world around her.
I know it is February (though I read this at the start of January) and so this is quite a ridiculous thing to say, but The Cruel Prince is one of my favourite books so far this year. The thing is I think its going to stay as one of my favourite books. I think I’ve found a new favourite author, and I honestly can’t believe I’ve not read any Holly Black until this. I’ve already gifted a copy of this to a friend who loves her writing, knowing that they would absolutely need to read this — and it also meant I have someone to talk to about my emotions.
I’m going to be counting the days until I can get back to Jude and her story; roll on the rest of The Folk of the Air series.
What to read next:
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The Call by Peadar O’Guillin
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