• Page Count: 384
  • Release Date: January 2, 2018
  • My Rating: 5 stars

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)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 years old 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.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war 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 NEED THIS SEQUEL NOW omg. That just got better and better the entire way through!! I was hesitant at first when I heard this book blended fae elements into a modern setting (because y’all know how picky I get with that) but everything ended up working SO perfectly.

Jude and her two sisters have been raised in the faerie world by the man who murdered their parents (and fathered one of the sisters), soooo that’s a wee bit of a complicated relationship. The modern world exists and the girls occasionally sneak out to do normal things like meet their sister’s girlfriend at the mall. They’ve been somewhat accepted into the faerie world, but are absolutely not one of them.

Jude is a wonderfully complex main character who would rather train to be a knight & win a place in the High Court than be accepted through marriage. In the meantime, she’s bullied to an extreme by her peers. They’re led by Prince Cardan, who makes Joffrey look rather friendly at times. (Side note: the bullying is pretty intense. Just a heads up in case you don’t like reading about that kind of thing). I was worried the plot would try to just excuse Cardan’s behavior or redeem his character with some simple sob story, but it had much more interesting directions to take.

So eventually there are a ton of reasons why Jude feels powerless and wants revenge. Her motivation is totally clear and she goes after what she wants with a vengeance that’s amazing to watch:


“I do not yearn to be their equal. In my heart, I yearn to beat them.”

“What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong?”

She gets caught up in a complicated web of power plays as the faerie king moves to crown one of his sons. Everyone has their own hidden agenda and can’t be completely trusted… even the few people that seemed trustworthy turned out to be the absolute worst. So Jude joins one of the prince’s Court of Shadows as a spy aaaaand ugh I really don’t want to say anything else because the way everything unfolds is brilliant. But I was NOT expecting that awesome of an ending! Game of Thrones is all I can compare that to.

The stories I get most invested in are the ones where the MC starts out letting things happen to them but then gets some agency and changes the story’s direction. Jude did that and SO much more. I never expected her to do half of the things she did. At all. I love how uncertain she was and how she just made everything up as she went… she’s a flawed & fascinating character for sure. And I don’t know if I’m sold on the love interest, but will wait to see where the sequel goes with that. Right now I think Jude has the power in their twisted relationship and is using him more than anything else. She’s totally heading towards antiheroine territory.

The schemes, spying, assassinations, plot twists, and politics in general were my favorite part! The writing was more straightforward and not as lush as something I’d initially expect from a story about fae. But then the writing style completely worked once I got to know Jude’s character! It just fit. And I get super picky about the way fae worlds are depicted, but really liked this one. There’s Queen Mab and then they can’t lie or touch iron. Yay.

Ooh and there was one awesome part towards the middle that reminded me of the “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” note part of The Shining aaaaand it was straight up brilliant.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.

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11 comments on “Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black”

  1. I have yet to read any other book by this author, but your enthusiasm has convinced me on this! Preordered and eagerly awaiting.

  2. ASDFGHJKL I NEED THIS BOOK NOW. I absolutely LOVED The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black and her Curseworkers trilogy too. I’m pretty sure I’ll adore this, especially after reading your fantastic review!

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