I have tried to be better than them, and I have failed. What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong?
Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.
~Holly Black, The Cruel Prince, p. 197
It is no easy life for a stolen child in the world of Faerie–at least, not for Jude and Taryn Duarte, who are raised by their parents’ murderer, a redcap named Madoc, as his his very own daughters–as faerie gentry. Humans aren’t supposed to be raised this way in faerie–they aren’t supposed to be privy to revels and court intrigue or have an education on par with the royal family. That is to say, there is no end in trials for our heroine–Jude. Although Jude hates faerie, hates feeling the voiceless victim of cruel and capricious faeries, it is her world and she is determined to find a way to fit in–no matter what it might cost her.
I FRICKIN’ LOVED IT. Not the most eloquent sentence I have ever pieced together, but I think it will serve to show how I feel about this book. I feel like Holly Black’s Tithe was such an intrinsic part of my adolescence (I re-read it obsessively) that it is now a part of me and I will read pretty much everything that Holly Black publishes (my only regret is that I haven’t been able to read some of her books/series for younger audiences–but one day I will). However, fans of Tithe should be warned–The Cruel Prince takes us into the very world of faerie. It is not so much the gritty, urban fantasy that you might be used to reading from Holly Black. That is not to say that this book doesn’t carry her mark–there is darkness, there is violence. There is also Jude–whose journey from frustrated, powerless human girl, to a major player in her world was fascinating–one of my favorite things to read. I wholeheartedly recommend The Cruel Prince to fans of Holly Black or YA fantasy in general. It will definitely make you rethink W.B. Yeats’ famous poem, “The Stolen Child.”
Also, if this were ever turned in to a movie or mini-series for TV, I think I know who my vote for Madoc would be: