By Holly Black.
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.
I started reading this book fully aware of the hype surrounding it. My Goodreads feed was filled with people who were eagerly anticipating this release, and I was swept up by the wave of excitement. However, high expectations are always treacherous and, unfortunately for me, this book did not deliver everything that I was hoping for. I’m not disappointed exactly, but I’m not delighted with it either.
I thought I would greatly enjoy the duality of a human who can lie – our main character, Jude – living in a world of fey who cannot, but this wasn’t explored as thoroughly as I wished. Another intriguing notion is that Jude has to take certain precautions to prevent the fairies from compelling her actions, and this eventually leads to a scene which tries to demonstrate the full extent of what this means, but again it didn’t unfold in quite the way I wanted it to.
The fundamental problem I had with this book was that I didn’t entirely connect with any of the characters. Locke and Prince Cardan’s introductions practically spelled out what roles they were going to play. I have no real problem with this, but it was still disappointing that they were presented in such a way. I also didn’t buy that Jude would feel anything good for Cardan, or that she liked Locke even a little. Prince Dain was the one who aroused my curiosity, but I guess that wasn’t meant to be. Jude’s sisters weren’t developed well enough for me either, and I couldn’t wrap my mind around her relationship with Madoc. He murdered her parents, and then raised her… Was anyone really surprised by his actions later in the story?
The plot twists were good nonetheless, although the lack of investment I had in the characters weakened their effect. The ending was unquestionably the strongest part of this book, setting in motion some truly interesting possibilities, on many different sides. By the time I was done reading my excitement had come full circle, and regardless of my issues with it, I’m actually looking forward to the next installment.
3 hearts out of 5