Today, I’m sharing three shorter (ish) reviews that all have sequels coming out this year that I can’t wait to read.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black:
Trigger warnings: abuse, murder, suicide
One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed in the royal court but mocked and tormented by the Faerie royalty for being mortal. As Jude grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong. But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan.
Holly Black certainly knows how to start a series.
The Cruel Prince is intriguing, atmospheric and really dark.
It’s all about wanting to belong in a world that doesn’t quite accept you and feature one of the most manipulative, untrustworthy narrators I’ve seen in a while. Jude is a fierce protagonist that unabashedly craves power to get respect. Her family dynamic was just so gripping, as was the political intrigues of the Faerie Court. Every aspect of the Faerie world was just so well built to make this believable, cohesive kingdom that just came to life.
The Cruel Prince is a beautifully crafted, awesome start to a series that I will definitely be continuing.
Sequel: The Wicked King
UK Release Date: Already released
The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Stevens:
Izzy O’Neill here! Impoverished orphan, aspiring comedian and Slut Extraordinaire, if the gossip sites are anything to go by. Izzy never expected to be 18 and internationally reviled. But when explicit photos involving her, a politician’s son and a garden bench are published online, the trolls set out to take her apart. Armed with best friend Ajita and a metric ton of nachos, she tries to laugh it off – but as the daily slut-shaming intensifies, she soon learns the way the world treats teenage girls is not okay.
The Exact Opposite of Okay is the perfect blend of Holly Bourne’s humour and the sharp insight of Louise O’Neill. Simply put, it was brilliant.
Izzy was such a bold character: she was funny, fierce and fabulous, but she was also vulnerable. Her best friend Ajita was awesome and I’d love to see a spin-off book about her. The sarcastic, dry wit that the characters used throughout the book was so true of teenagers!
Stevens covers so many topics from sexuality and sex shaming to ‘nice guys’ and the ‘friend zone’. Introducing teenage readers to these feminist topics is so important and long may this wave of feminist YA continue.
Sequel: A Girl Called Shameless
UK Release Date: 7th March
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton:
Trigger warnings: death, sexual assault
Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful. But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favourite – the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orleans to live in the royal palace, to tend to theroyal family and their court, to be recognised as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favourite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. After all, in the opulent world of Orleans, beauty can be deadly.
This was an early contender for my favourite 2018 releases. It’s such a clever and original concept that blooms into an amazing story. Clayton creates this magical but seedy world that you can’t help but fall in love with and it’s so well crafted that you become totally immersed in it. I couldn’t put it down.
Essentially The Belles is a dark, twisted destruction of the beauty myth that is just phenomenal. All I need now is the sequel.
Sequel: The Everlasting Rose
UK Release Date: 7th March
Over To You:
Have you read any of these books and if so, what did you think of them?