The Cruel Prince - Holly Black
It is so wonderful to be back in Holly Black's faerie worlds. Probably the first faerie books I ever read as a young adult were her Tithe series. I bought the first one on holiday and immediately had to buy the rest of the trilogy, just in case I couldn't find them back home. They still have pride of place on my shelves.
But back to The Cruel Prince... This is such a twisty & scheming tale, set in a fascinating and thrilling world. I couldn't guess what was going to happen, it was captivating all the way through. The ending is satisfying but I was still left eagerly anticipating more.
As a young girl, Jude saw her parents killed by the man who has now become like a father to her, her twin sister, and her older half sister. All three girls were taken back with him to Faerie, where they grew up living like royalty, but Jude and Taryn are still treated as inferior for being human. Mocked and laughed at, despite their father's high position in the royal guard.
Vivi is half faerie but shuns the life and her father and can't wait for a chance to go back to the human world. Meanwhile, Jude can't resist the beauty and magic and longs for a place among the faeries. She knows that to fit in she has to become just like them, and to truly belong she must be even worse than them. She takes her lessons seriously and learns as much as possible about strategy, swordfighting, politics and deception from her adopted father. Using all her knowledge and cunning, she comes up with a treacherous and dangerous plan that could cost her everything if it goes wrong. And there are far too many ways it could go wrong.
I usually shudder at the thought of my favourite books being turned into movies but I think this one could actually be amazing and I look forward to seeing how it is done.
The blood red wine drunk by the faeries reminded me of mulled wine. There are plenty of places you can buy it at Christmas but it's fairly easy to make too. All you need is some red wine, cinnamon sticks, lemon or orange zest, star anise and cloves. Put everything in a pan and warm up gently without letting it boil. Add a little sugar to taste. For variations you can add some sloe gin or orange juice.