Book Review, Quality Reads, Young Adult

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black Book Review

Title: The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Series: 1/? In Folk of the Air Series
Link: Goodreads / Amazon
Rating: 4/5


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. 


I will be the first to admit I’m 100% over the faerie stuff. After investing so many hours of my life into the Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses series by S. J. Maas, I just can’t take this kind of fantasy world anymore. At least, that what I said before I read The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

I jumped into this read blindly. I was vaguely (aka not at all) aware of what it’s about. In a way, I’m thankful I didn’t know very much, because I would have let the fairie world cloud my judgment. Unlike all the other faerie YA novels I’ve trudged through in the past, this one was based on some solid tradition and mythology. I like when I can tie a fantasy world to real-life myth and fairytales. It gives the story so much more depth, in my opinion.

As for the plot itself, it moves fast. That’s pretty standard of YA, and I’m here for it. Even though this is a long book, and it didn’t drag on. The action starts pretty immediately, and it’s really captivating. It follows Jude and her family as she navigates the world of fey as a human. There’s a good deal of romantic angst and build up, and the twist at the end left me screaming.

For the first book in the series, I’m all in. I love the dynamic of a mortal in the human world. I’m wondering what kind of trouble Jude will get herself into next, and whether she’ll stay human or something will happen. (I’m looking at you ACOTAR)

The Good

  • The world building is A+++ solid
  • Though he’s a jerk at first, I ended up really liking the love interest (what does this say about me??)
  • Even if you guess the earlier plot twists, you won’t guess the last one
  • I’m dying to read the next one, and that’s a good sign

The Bad

  • None of the characters are particularly likable. Eventually, I grew to like the main character, but even that is a begrudging interest
  • The romance between Jude and Carden (the love interest) read like insta-love (or insta-lust) when it finally (sorta) happened at the end.
  • There are a lot of bridges that go uncrossed. I didn’t buy Jude’s decisions most of the time, and I needed more dots connected
  • I hate the name Jude

Overall, I’m dying to read the next book and next year can’t come fast enough. I’m a sucker for a 350 page drawn out romantic build and family drama. I’m really impressed with this book, and I’m definitely going to look into more of Holly Black’s work.

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