The Cruel Prince; a review, in which I try not to rant my head off and fail

This book has everything I like in a story. Fairies? Court intrigue? A spicy enemies-to-lovers romance?! ANTIHEROINES?! It’s like someone had a book idea marketed personally to me!

That being said…

*sighs* *lets book fall to floor* *starts stabbing book viciously with spear*

Yeah, as you may have guessed, we didn’t work out. I feel cheated. The book probably felt pretty mad at me, too, after I chucked it in the trash along with a spider that had died on the cover. Maybe the spider read the book and decided to give up the ghost then and there. But anyway, that’s why I’m reviewing with a library copy now. Just in case you were wondering.

To clarify a few things: Firstly, I read this book about a year ago, and I am absolutely not REreading this book, so, although my memory on this book is pretty clear, it’s obviously not going to be as sharp as when I first finished it. Secondly, even though the book and I really didn’t get along and it was a pretty tough breakup, I’m going to try my hardest not to let this devolve into a rant. Not because I have anything against rant reviews–they’re pretty fun to read, and I totally get wanting to let your feelings out when a book made you mad–but because I have dreams of getting published someday, and I know a rant review would hurt to read as an author. Not that the author would ever find this review, but do unto others, as they say.

*Reads my entire first three paragraphs* Whoops. Apparently it’s too late. Anyway, I will try to talk about this in an evenhanded tone, but I make no promises, because this book made me really mad.

It made me mad for several reasons, including the badly written court intrigue (NOTHING HAPPENED UNTIL OVER HALFWAY THROUGH THE BOOK), but at a point, the plot was the least of my problems. No, my problems start with Jude and end with Cardan. They. Were. Awful.

When they told me I was getting a cruel prince, I expected someone like this:

Yes that is an opium pipe she’s handing him

Oh, or how about this:

Is it cow blood? Is it a fetus? Who knows.

Okay, technically I didn’t expect full-on Yi Heon, because I hadn’t watched that drama yet when I read this book, but I expected a character like this. Absolutely insane, completely paranoid, murdering everyone he’s paranoid of, maybe even a drug addiction that negatively impacts his life, a tense and emotionally fraught relationship with the heroine, he loves the heroine in an utterly twisted way but it’s still really sad (up to a certain point in the drama ahem), but please cut the rapey parts if you’re going to make him a first lead, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. (Yi Heon was not a first lead. We are good.) Instead, taking it piece by piece, a) we didn’t get much insanity from Cardan–probably a good thing, to be honest, because I don’t have faith in YA’s ability to handle a mentally ill villain, b) there may have been some sort of fairyland equivalent of LSD, but neither that nor the alcohol addiction seemed to affect Cardan’s life in anyway–oh please no, YA, alcoholism destroys lives, and c) it wasn’t as much a tense and emotionally fraught relationship so much as Cardan being a jackass 24/7. Oh, and finally, d) YOU FORGOT TO CUT THE RAPEY PARTS, HOLLY BLACK.

Just posting Crowned Clown gifs to get me through this review
Also, this gif is everything I wanted from Cardan and Jude that I did not get

Here’s the big problem I have with this book: all of Cardan and Jude’s interactions are sexualized, but all of Cardan and Jude’s interactions are focused on Cardan humiliating Jude. And on first read, I thought the sexualization was much subtler and (most of) it was just a thing that I personally saw, but skimming through it now, I’m not so sure:

“Oh, so you’ll do what I say for her sake?” Cardan’s gaze is hungry, devouring. “Does that feel noble?” He pauses, and in that silence all I hear is Taryn’s hitched breath. “Does it?”

^ You see my point? ‘Hungry, devouring’ are two adjectives that are used a) for two characters who are lovers, or b) for someone getting off on another person’s discomfort. Considering he’s the hero, I don’t like this very much. It left a bad taste in my mouth, and you may call me a wimp if you like. But no, it doesn’t stop there.

Cardan walks behind me. “You are docile today. Did your sister admonish you? She desires our approval very much.” One of his booted feet toes the clover-covered ground, kicking up a clod. “I imagine that if I asked, she’d roll with me right here until we turned her white gown green and then thank me for the honor of my favor.” He smiles, going in for the kill, leaning toward me as if confiding a secret. “Not that I’d be the first to green-gown her.”

Okay, first of all, ewww that sounds like something a badly written Harlequin romance novel hero would say ewwwww, and secondly, when I first saw this, I thought he was threatening to rape Taryn (the sister), and I am not entirely sure Cardan didn’t mean Jude to take it that way, too. As I read on, he wasn’t…technically saying this (fairies can’t lie in this world), because Taryn does in fact sleep around with a lot of guys and is kind of a social climber, so…Um…I guess Taryn would probably have consented, as in, she’d have actually wanted to do it, but if she didn’t, I mean, how much of a choice would she still have had in that situation, and…IT WAS A BAD BOOK, OKAY? And for some context as to why I would call it rape, Taryn is human and Cardan is a fairy prince, which means she is much, much lower on the social scale than Cardan and no one else in this world would likely take her side if she told Cardan no. She is also incredibly passive, and would probably not say no even if she really did not want to. And at the beginning of the book, we are given no context to point to Taryn wanting to, and Cardan KNOWS Jude thinks her sister wouldn’t want to. That’s…getting into that territory, Cardan.

Also, any book that makes me say, “WHEW! The hero wasn’t threatening to rape the heroine’s sister! He was just slut-shaming the heroine’s sister! YAY!” Um…it’s probably leaving something to be desired.

One Crowned Clown gif for each time this book makes me want to jump off a cliff

Okay, and now I want all of you to hold hands with me and chant: “A MAGICAL ROOFIE IS STILL A ROOFIE. JUST BECAUSE IT IS PLACED IN A FANTASY CONTEXT DOES NOT MAKE IT NOT A ROOFIE.” So, uh…No one raped Jude, which is the most I can say for this book, but Cardan’s friends force-fed her a magical fruit that, basically, acts like a roofie, and then they proceeded to sexually harass her, making her take her clothes off, etc. Uh…this situation makes Cardan slightly uncomfortable, but he doesn’t do much to stop them, and, lo and behold, he even joins in a little. And yes, I went through the pain of rereading that scene just for you guys. I hope you appreciate it, because that took a lot out of me.

But it’s totally okay, guys! He’s being abused! Cardan isn’t responsible for the things he’s done or anything! (like, you know…the sexual harassment.) LOVE THE PUPPY.

How I felt while reading this book

And this book has a whole host of other problems, number one being that the plot didn’t start till over halfway through the book, and number two being that Jude threw herself into dangerous situations with no plan, like all my favorite YA heroines, but you know what, I don’t want to finish this review. Forget it. Not even Crowned Clown gifs can pull me through this. Although, I will say one thing regarding Madoc: he was actually the one aspect of this book I found interesting. I totally get how Jude loved him as a father figure, in a twisted way; even though he killed her parents, he’s also the only one who’s been able to protect her in a harsh, unforgiving world. Stockholm syndrome, basically. I actually really loved Madoc–he gave me Marak from The Hollow Kingdom vibes, and The Hollow Kingdom is one of my favorite books ever–and I would have 1000% preferred the story narrated by him rather than Jude. We might have actually gotten some political intrigue, for one. But no. The book focuses on the boring dumbass teenagers, as usual.

One last thing: I absolutely do not blame anyone for liking this book, heaven knows I’ve liked things that other people hated. This just didn’t work for me personally, but if it worked for you, that is WONDERFUL. Also, wow getting out my feelings in this review felt really good. I see why people like writing rant reviews now.

Mothling out. Go watch Crowned Clown, the court intrigue is interesting and the characters are about 1000 times more likable.

8 thoughts on “The Cruel Prince; a review, in which I try not to rant my head off and fail

  1. Oh goodness I love this. It’s hilarious AND satisfying cause this is sort of how I THOUGHT this book would be so I didn’t have any desire to read it but like now I get the pleasure of outrage without the pain of actually reading the thing. I mean, not that I’m judging. Maybe some people like it and that’s okay I guess, but I also just like that…this is how I thought this book would be. And I was right. And your metaphors are hilarious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, so you were smarter than I was XD I seriously thought I would like this book so much, and it got so many good reviews, and I read it and just…Did someone switch out the dust jacket on mine and hand me a different book or something?? ‘The pleasure of outrage without the pain of actually reading the thing’–okay, that is hilarious. And I know, it’s so satisfying to be proven right about something XD
      Aww, thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Popular Books I (probably) Will Not Read | Moth of the Day

  3. Pingback: Goodbye, 2019 (I didn't think I would miss you, but I guess I kind of do) | Moth of the Day

  4. Pingback: Liebster Award! | Moth of the Day

  5. Pingback: In Which I Admit That the Books I Hate Aren’t COMPLETELY Terrible (yes, it was hard) | Moth of the Day

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s