First, let's start with a book: The Cruel Prince is the first of a new trilogy by bestselling YA author, Holly Black. The book follows the story of Jude, a human girl living in the land of the Faeries. When Jude was seven, she witnessed the murder of her parents, and she and her two sisters were taken to Elfhame. Now Jude is seventeen, and she desires nothing more than to belong in the High Court of Faerie, despite the fact that most of the fey hate humans. To make matters worse, no one despises Jude more than Prince Cardan, the youngest and most vicious son of the High King. But that doesn't stop Jude. She hates Cardan as much as he hates her. While Jude struggles to find her place in Faerie, she becomes tangled up in a web of betrayal and royal bloodshed. The story escalates quickly as Jude discovers how truly heartless and cunning she can be.
I absolutely adored this book. It got lots of attention online, so my expectations were pretty high and I was not disappointed! Black's interpretation of Faerie was captivating, and the story was full of unexpected twists. Jude, our protagonist, was dark and devious, with unclear morals and tons of flaws. The story grabbed my attention from the start and progressed beautifully, while still managing to leave me wanting more at the end. After finishing the book, it was clear to me why Black was known as the Queen of Faeries.
Now the best part: At this year's Tucson Festival of Books, the Dusenberry-River Teen Advisory Board, had the opportunity to interview Holly Black! The experience took place at the Arizona Public Media Center in a real recording studio with microphones and everything! Through the interview, we were able to gain a deeper understanding of Holly Black, both as an author and a person. She was lovely and surprisingly funny, and I think I can speak for the entire group when I say that meeting her was totally surreal. We discussed her writing process and her own personal experiences, and of course we talked about The Cruel Prince.
Black explained that she had always been interested in faeries, which is why so many of her books take place in the faerie realm or include faeries in some way. While she does stay true to faerie lore, and doesn't reinvent faeries, she constantly tries to keep things fresh and exciting and add her own spin. This is evident in The Cruel Prince, while the faeries cannot lie and are harmed by iron, we still see things in a new light. All of us loved listening to her describe her friendships with other authors, and her experiences in writing and publishing. I especially enjoyed hearing her talk about her opinions on the characters in The Cruel Prince. Being able to meet Holly and speak with her was incredible, and allowed all of us to truly become acquainted with an author we all love.
-Samantha L, (Dusen)Berry Blogger and member of the River Teen Advisory Board
Check out these other books by Holly within the PCPL collection.