• 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 super hesitant about it at first because I’ve never been that huge on stories that blend fae elements into modern settings, but this ended up working perfectly and I loved it all!

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 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 would rather train to be a knight and 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 like an adorable angel for a bit… “the cruel prince” pretty much sums that up. (I was worried the plot would try to excuse his behavior or redeem his character with some sob story, but it had much more interesting directions to take).

Jude feels powerless and eventually has good reason to want total revenge. Her motivation is 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. I feel like people could misconstrue them as problematic, but right now I think Jude has the power in their twisted relationship and is using him. I mean, no – this is not meant to be an example to follow… she’s heading towards antiheroine territory.

The schemes, spying, assassinations, plot twists, and general politics 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 the writing style works once you get to know Jude’s character! It just fits. 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. So all was well.

Ooh and there was one brilliant 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 awesome. Someone get me a TARDIS because I need this sequel asap!

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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