The Cruel Prince Non-Spoiler ARC Review ft. Lilly @ Lair Of Books

26032825Title: The Cruel Prince (#1)
Series: The Folk of the Air
Author: Holly Black
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Format: ARC Paperback
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Pub. Date: January 2, 2018

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.

***thank you to little brown books for providing an arc***

Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Graphic Scenes


At the age of 7, Jude, her twin sister Taryn, and older sister Vivienne witnessed their parents murdered and were stolen away by Vivienne’s biological father Madoc. All three girls went from living in the human world to Elfhame. 10 years later, Jude and Taryn are trying their hardest to belong in Elfhame, more so Jude where she’s trying to become a Knight. Vivienne could not care less about the place and will forever hold a grudge against her biological father, Madoc. While Jude tries to fit in a world where she is not wanted and obtaining a place in the Court, she has to deal with the cruelest son of the High King, Prince Cardan and his gang of friends. However, as soon as she starts dabbling with the palace and her inner turmoil, secrets start spilling and so does blood. Jude will have to choose her humanity or Faerie.


This will come as a surprise to many of you but this is my first Holly Black book. I have passed her books many many times as a teenager when I spent my time at the library. I am so happy that I finally picked up her book because her writing is phenomenal. She dances with a lot of themes but handles them with grace and eloquence. She knows how to write a rich detailed dark world without feeling like it’s too much. Someone should name her the Queen of Faerie because she definitely knows how to write a world. Holly Black also knows how to write the most complex characters ever. I didn’t know who I was rooting for at one point lol.


Holly Black presents a lot of characters to us in the most complex way. We meet the main character Jude which her story is told from her point of view. Jude the fighter and the one who tries hard to fit in, she doesn’t take crap from anyone especially the son of the High King. She knows exactly what she wants and she will not give up until she has it. She will push and shove and go to deep lengths to obtain her wants. We also meet her twin sister, Taryn, who is the opposite of Jude. Where Jude is rough, Taryn is soft. Where Jude is loud, Taryn is quiet. Where Jude is being a rebel, Taryn is being compliant. Although twins, they differ in many many ways. This is a non-spoiler review, you will have to read the book to know where I’m going with this hehe.

Holly Black gives us an older sister, Vivienne. Vivienne is technically the twins half-sister, they have the same mother and different fathers which is why Vivi is fae. However, to all three they are sisters  no matter what. I love Vivienne’s “don’t mess with me” rebel attitude. She definitely has an older sister syndrome, the protector of them all, the fighter and the rebel. I hope I see more of her in the next book to come.

Cardan, one of the High Kings son, a true douchebag. I always cringed with what he was going to do next but I loved him. There was something about him that kept me intrigued. Cardan has many aspects of him that we learn throughout the book. There was also Locke, lover of stories. He loved stories so much that he would create them, it didn’t matter to him who he was hurting or intertwining with. There are many other important characters that we meet, however I would be here all day. (please read the book)


Overall, I loved this book and I cannot wait for the continuing books in this series. Holly Black knows how to write!!!! She gave me plot twist, surprises, darkness, and an amazing expanded world. Although we meet many characters, she definitely flushes them all out while still keeping the complexity. This isn’t the happy dandy book which I actually tend to love more when it comes to Fantasy. Holly Black really has me wondering what she will come up with in the next books.


cba6d7d1c59b92e5641f2b146efc70f1My twin Lilly @ Lair Of Books also read The Cruel Prince and you can check out her Spoiler-Free Review here! We asked each other the same 5 questions. And while chit chatting about the book through our FaceTime dates, I found that we felt the same and loved The Cruel Prince. Just like me, this was her first time reading a Holly Black book. In asking what was her experience like reading Holly Black for the first time, Lilly responded that she had a great experience. She enjoyed the dark writing, the lush world building and complex characters. Trust me bookish peeps, you should’ve heard her talking about this book, she was really ecstatic! I then asked her who was her favorite character and she responded with Jude! I mean it’s not that hard to love Jude, she’s pretty awesome. We then started talking about fae books and comparing it to other fae books we’ve read, we asked one another what made the world of Elfhame stand out. Lilly responded that the characters in The Cruel Prince were flushed out and there were also many descriptions in the story such as lush food, the laws, the do’s and don’ts of humans in Elfhame, and there was also political intrigue. In Cruel Prince, we meet Vivi who is the main character’s fae sister and opposes the idea of living in Elfhame. We asked one another if given the choice, would you live in the human world as a fae or would you live as a human in the fae world? Here is where Lilly and I started a fit of giggles! Twin said that she would live as a human in the fae world so she can figure out how to become a fae. She would network her way in similar to Jude and get to know the undergrounds of Elfhame. Lilly, you smart. Lastly we asked one another a vey important question. Do we plan on reading any of Holly’s other books? And the answer to that is OF COURSE!! Lilly definitely wants to read The Darkest Part of the Forest as her next Holly Black book.


that is all for today book nerds! have you read the cruel prince or plan on to? what are your thoughts? i would love to chat in the comments!

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Heartless Spoiler Free Book Review

Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retellings
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Format: Paperback ARC
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars



Synopsis from Goodreads:

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

IMG_6389.JPGThanks to N.Y. Comic Con/BookCon for giving away copies on the low! What I mean by that is the Macmillan team was not promoting these ARCs, they were only promoting via Twitter a Heartless t-shirt with the password “Jabberwockie”. I had sent Lilly @ Lair Of Books a screenshot of the tweet since they were giving out the shirts on the day I couldn’t go. Thanks to her husband for filling in for me because he got me all the copies for the day I didn’t attend lol. When Lilly sent me a photo of herself  holding the t-shirt with the book I was so ecstatic!!! We were not expecting that at all. So of course my bookish bestie and I decided to buddy read Heartless and we loooooooved it. Our schedules for that buddy read week was pretty over the top but we indulged and would talk about it any chance we could. I’m so happy I got to experience this book with her because it’s actually one of my favorites of 2016.

On to the Review:

If you don’t know, this is a Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland retelling. It’s more like prequel where we learn as to why the Queen of Hearts turns into this heartless mean person. I want to thank Marissa Meyer for taking a leap into writing this story, it was rich in all aspects which I will get too and I devoured all of it. I feel like Lewis Carroll (creator of Alice in Wonderland) would be proud to read this book.

Plot: Honestly there’s not much plot to go off by, this is a very character driven book. Lady Catherine Pinkerton, daughter of Marquess and Marchioness Pinkerton of Rock Turtle Cove, lives a very well comfortable life. Catherine is in love with baking. She wants to open a bakery shop with her friend/maid Mary-Ann but her parents, more so her mother, has other plans. The King of Hearts is an eligible bachelor and her mother definitely wants Catherine to be the Queen. The Marchioness thinks her dreams of opening up a bakery isn’t up to par for a Lady who should be the Queen.

Catherine obeys her parents every command even when she doesn’t want to and she ends up going to a ball. A ball in which her mother very well wants the King to propose to her daughter and Catherine does not want any of it. She doesn’t like the King at all. At this ball she meets the court joker, Jest, and she feels an attraction and things unravel from there. But with Jest, monsters crawling about, Cath’s parents, and other weirdness going on, how will the two survive?

I have to say that I personally didn’t feel like this was a instalove situation, it was more like a slow burn in my opinion.

“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”

The writing was phenomenal! I have only read Cinder and Scarlet but I have to say that Marissa Meyer is Queen of Retellings! She definitely knows how to give you a good retelling and a shocker of a plot twist. I definitely did not know what to expect while reading Heartless. She took the world created by Lewis Carroll and gave us the same mad Wonderland we know. It was rich with color, riddles, and personalities.

Characters: I was very happy that Marissa Meyer included some characters from the original Alice in Wonderland story. We get to see Cheshire the Cat, White Rabbit, and Mad Hatta (before he was mad). Cheshire was the same sarcastic personality filled cat. Hatta played an important role in this book which kind of surprised me. I totally was not expecting for Hatta to play the role he did. I do not want to get into because of spoilers.

We also meet Mary-Ann as I previously mentioned that she is Cath’s maid/friend and they both want to open up a bakery shop. However, Mary-Ann although she supports Cath, she also feels like opening up a bakery is a farfetched dream. Which causes a little conflict between their friendship.

The King of Hearts who isn’t swoon worthy at all. I mean you can ask Lilly how many times I texted her rolling my eyes at the King. NOT because he is mean, he is the sweetest person ever but he was way too naive. While a monster was roaming the land of Hearts, the King wasn’t taking care of the problem. He just wanted to forget everything was happening, throw a Ball so the people of Hearts would also forget and keep everyone happy. I had a lot of problems with his character.

Jester the Court Joker who was actual swoon worthy and deserved all the love. He was hilarious, witty, smart, and very very charming. I loved his character so much and I enjoyed all the goodness he gave to Catherine. He definitely brought out the light in her. He was caring and meant well. Jest was also with a friend, Raven. Raven was an actual Raven who spoke in rhymes. Marissa Meyer was inspired by The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe for his character. And Raven made this story more unique.

I have a lot of thoughts towards this book. Although this a YA Fantasy Retelling about a girl who turns into this heartless mean queen, I couldn’t help relating it to real life and real people. Catherine is just this normal girl with ambitions and dreams, she just wants to become this person she’s imagined for herself but people, the ones she love, shatter all those dreams.

When I got into this book, I remember texting Lilly “I have a feeling that this book is going to break my heart” because when you start it, you get to know this girl who’s happy. She doesn’t want to be under her parents demands, she wants to experience real LOVE with someone and not marry the King for the benefit of it. Plus she wants to bake, building a bakery would make her the happiest girl in the world.

But I’ve seen this situation play out in real life where people crush you and make you into someone unrecognizable. And circumstances shape you. That’s what happened to Catherine, the Queen of Hearts.

I highly recommend this book.

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