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Reviewsday: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

I’ve only read a couple of Holly Black’s books before picking up The Cruel Prince and while I enjoy the books before, I adored The Cruel Prince. From the very first page, I was entranced with the Fae world that Holly created. Second, guessing everything and not knowing what was going to happen next.

The Cruel Prince follows protagonist Jude ten years after she and her sisters witness their parents murder, are kidnapped and taken to the Fae world. Now they live in the High Court of Faerie and in a world that doesn’t accept them. Jude doesn’t fit into the Fae world and the fey don’t let her forget it. With the current King ready to step down, things are about to get more dangerous in the world that Jude lives.

One of my favourite things about The Cruel Prince was Jude. While she isn’t the most likeable protagonist out there, her voice and perseverance – just made the book. Jude is such an interesting protagonist and like most characters in the book, you don’t know what to believe. She has gone through a lot. Her parents were murdered in front of her, she lives with the murdered and is taken to a foreign world.

Her strength was a really big theme of the whole book. I loved seeing Jude stand up and be strong, no matter what was throw at her. And gosh she was pushed hard. At times it was really hard to read some of the things that Jude went through. What got me through it was Jude herself. I loved seeing another strong female character not only be challenged physically but mentally.

Jude’s family. There isn’t much I can say here without spoiling anything. But what I hoped wouldn’t happen did and that broke my heart. You can see that Jude does care for her sisters and what went down was so damn hard. It’s also a really interesting concept of family. She has her sisters, yes. However, she also lives with the man that killed her parents. It was intriguing to see the dynamic of this.

The Cruel Prince is filled with unreliable characters and it was fantastic! Seriously, I didn’t know what was going to happen next, because I didn’t know who to trust. Holly Black made her characters do things that I thought she would never do. You think one character is your friend and then bam! It’s not something that you get in YA and it was different to see.

Another thing that I loved about The Cruel Prince was the world. It’s fantastic and pulls your right in. Holly Black created a lot of layers in this world, with the basics of fae laws. I really enjoy that as it’s a great way to compare and contrast to other fae worlds. While at the start of The Cruel Prince it took me a little to get into the world, it wasn’t long before I was in love.

As I’ve said before, I had no idea what was going to happen throughout The Cruel Prince. You think something is going to happen and then it doesn’t. Then you think ‘oh she won’t do this’ and it does. It takes you on a world wind of emotions.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Cruel Prince. It’s addicting, dark and messes with your emotions. It’s a world of court intrigue and the conflict between Fae and humans. It explores the notion of being human and the emotions that come with it. It’s fast-paced with many twists and turns that throw you off. The Cruel Prince has set up a fantastic new series for Holly Black.

~Angelique, QBD Chadstone

The Iron Trial

iron trial

From two international powerhouses in the young adult genre, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, comes The Iron Trial- a gripping, magical adventure with just a hint of mystery (for added flavour). As a huge fan of both authors, I have been dying to get my hot little hands on a copy of this ever since I knew it existed! Waiting for it to be published was a killer, but it was definitely worth it.

The Iron Trial - the first book in the new Magisterium series - follows Callum Hunt, an almost ordinary 12 year old boy, as he faces a crossroads in his life- to be a magician or not?

For reasons I will let you discover for yourself (spoilers!) Callum's father, a magician himself,  despises magic and rarely uses it, warning his son away from it at every opportunity. As a "legacy" however, Callum must still face The Iron Trial to see if he is eligible to enter the Magisterium- a sinister, subterranean place where magicians learn their craft.

Deeply  suspicious of magic and anyone who wields it, Callum tries desperately to fail the tests and is shocked to find that he has been chosen to go to the Magisterium as an apprentice to none other than the greatest magician there!

Callum is a surly, reluctant hero, full of snarky teenage bravado, that will -in places- have you giggling like a mad person. Add in a hell-hound creature, almost dying a few times, some new friends, THE Enemy and you have an action-packed adventure that leaves you craving more as soon as you've finished.  (I filled my craving with Nutella...then read the book again!)

Now you're probably thinking that this sounds all very Harry Potter-ish, and in some respects you may be right- there is a magic-wielding teenager and a sort-of magic school- but that's where the similarities end. This book has a much darker, almost creepy, vibe. Think of it as the punk-rocking biker of the magical world and you've nailed it.

Read it. You know you want to.