Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince

Author: Holly Black

Series: The Folk of the Air #1

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Page: 380


Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven 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.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal 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.


Holy crap.

Holy crap.

Have you been hesitant to start this book because, despite the hype and not-too-bad revies, the few less-pleasant reviews are still making you doubt?

Have you still not read it because you’re afraid that you would not like this book and up wasting money on book again?

Well, take it from me, who didn’t read this book for months until now…

…and I absolutely loved it.

Again, I can totally see how and why people would dislike this book. I myself could’ve very easily disliked this book because this hate-love relationship between Cardan and Jude did not follow the “standard-hate-love relationship formula”. But no one is more shocked than me to still see how it worked, and I much I enjoyed it nevertheless.

I like to go into books blind. I know enough, this book has a prince and a potential hate-love relationship. That’s it. So imagine my surprise when this book actually has a decent mystery and revelations within its story. Characters who we thought are going to be very important (or very villain-ly for the series) ended up just being a pawn of a bigger, hidden game. There were so many surprises and deaths that I actually was pretty surprised by.

I also want to thank this book to follow my favorite rule in hate-love relationships: have them kind-of realize their attraction and didn’t-hate-each-other-as-much-as-they-thought at the end of the first book, and only have them truly acknowledge their attraction and become a couple by the end of the second book.

I think it’s because of how fantasy the Faerie kingdom is, that the fact that it’s just right there, smack in the middle of our modern world feels…kind of off. It’s not big enough for me to be able to label as a legitimate flaw in the author’s writing or the story itself, just something I can’t help but notice.

Another thing I feel is really important to talk about (that I actually don’t see a lot of other reviews mentioning) is how much Jude reminded me of Adelina from The Young Elites series. This fact absolutely terrifies me, because…well…we all know how The Midnight Star ended *sob*.

But this book gave me a really heavy protagonist-villain vibe from Jude’s character, which caught me off guard in a very pleasant way, because it made Jude more than just another YA fantasy heroine.

It’s also not just Jude. I mentioned it before, but this book definitely (and successfully) tricked us into misinterpreting certain characters as the main villain of the series or some ultra-important characters, but for them to die and leave me just like, “oh, never mind”. Then as the book approach to the end (I wouldn’t be specific because I don’t want to spoil), that’s when you start to see the signs that characters that you rooted for and loved could very likely become a very, very big problem in the sequels (which is really stressful, but at least it’s good writing).

Cardan though again, had the typical standard issue “tragic backstory worthy of a sympathizable villain”. Again, I wouldn’t be specific, but his “treatment and past” I have seen in literally 5 different YA book series, so I think it counts as a bit of a cliche.

I am devasted that I have to wait 6 more months for this book, and it has been a long time since I’ve been so miserable because I have to wait for a book.

I definitely would recommend this book to people who like/loves:

– hate love relationships

– fantasy (faes, magic mixed with royalty)

– love interest is a jerk

– love interest is a prince

– a heroine that kind of acts like a villain

– this book has twins by the way

My Rating:


Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), The Darkest Part of the Forest, and her new series which begins with The Cruel Prince in January 2018.

She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.

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