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This audiobook is so good you’ll want to cyberstalk the author, Holly Black, for excerpts and release information for the sequel. The performance by the narrator is stellar. Caitlin Kelly’s has epic range. Her character voices are vivid and magical.
The novel has:
✔️ Insanely creative world building.
✔️ Stoic, strong, believable lead heroine and a cast of characters worthy of a Lewis Carroll novel.
✔️ Wicked plot twists that will have you dancing around the room while biting your nails.
✔️ When the last line is read, you’ll gasp, and then laugh like a drunkard in anticipation of the day you can read the sequel.
Do yourself a favor and get The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. 🙌🙌🙌🙌
29 of 31 people found this review helpful
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This book is divided into book 1 and book 2. My feelings and review are similarly divided.
Book 1 bored me. I actually stopped reading it twice and only picked it back up because I spent money on it. Having finished the entire book, I can now see that book 1 is dull because it is almost entirely setup for book 2. It is mostly repetitive scenes of our protagonist being downtrodden and bullied ruthlessly by 4 seemingly-interchangeable characters. Once the bullies' personalities start to show, anyone who's read a book before can anticipate which one is the faux love interest and which one is the real deal, but it seems like the protagonist willfully ignores obvious signs of their true characters--which while perhaps believable, is frustrating to read. I spent book 1 impatient for things to happen. The best I can say about it is that it facilitates the thrilling events of book 2, and we did get to watch the interesting character development of our protagonist.
Book 2 hooked me immediately. It is pretty much just straight hours of payoff for everything that book 1 tediously set up. Starting from the ending of book 1, THINGS HAPPEN. Lots of things. Fun things. There are many events and revelations I did not see coming, and it is satisfying to watch all the elements that were introduced in book 1 get reincorporated in one form or another -- though some of these reincorporations were not as satisfying as others. I actually felt things, good or bad, about the characters. The author even managed to make me hate a character! Which means she made me care enough to actually hate. The ending made me want to read the sequel, despite how much I did not enjoy book 1. I would have enjoyed this book more as a whole if it did not take so long for the real story and real characters to get going.
Just like the book itself, I liked the reader more in book 2. Maybe she just hit her stride later or maybe it took me a while to get used to her. But in book 1, I often felt like I was a child sitting on the carpet and she was reading me a picture book. I think part of this is because I don't think there is even one contraction in the entire book?? Dialogue with no contractions sounds unnatural and stilted -- I can't blame the reader for that. By the time I finished the book, I was totally fine with the reader. She created some good, distinct voices.
As a side note, this book contained one of the most interesting characters I've recently read in fantasy: murderous-fairy-cat-dad! I greatly enjoyed the nature of his character and his relationship/interactions with other characters. He is the character whose fate/endgame I was most interested in.
Ending thoughts: I have an overall positive opinion of the book! I do feel like it is worth getting through the boring parts to get to the good stuff. And I can't really dislike a book that contains a character I enjoy as much as murderous-fairy-cat-dad.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful