Review — The Cruel Prince By Holly Black

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 370, U.S. edition hardcover
Book one of The Folk of the Air series
Rating: 4.5/5 Ink Splats

*may contain some spoilers*

Of course, I would start my very first book review with a statement of pure embarrassment. Meaning, it’s quite embarrassing to confess that The Cruel Prince is my first Holly Black novel. *Queue the audience of gasps*

I know, I know. I should be in the corner of shame, but a lot of pressure came with the fact that many people of the book-universe of Fantasy crowned her “Queen of the Faeries,” and what if I was one of the few that wanted her off the throne? It was easier to just avoid the possible disappointment. But luckily, I took this sad scenario as a “better late than never,” and bought the book on release day (January 2, 2018), and quite figuratively devoured it overnight. Trust me when I say I wasn’t even a third into the novel as I started to ask the why’s:

1. “Why is Holly Black doing this to me?”
2. “Why am I doing this to myself?”
3. “Why can I see the sun rising; maybe I should put the book down after this chapt–” *gasps at another twist Holly Black slaps into my face*

Me, Questions I Ask Myself

The Cruel Prince is a dark, dangerous coaster of a book that has constant twists and turns that almost threw me out of my seat the entire ride. And to think I couldn’t get more surprised after each one, but who am I kidding… I loved it every single time. Darn you Holly Black; you are so beautifully cruel. The novel is told through the main character, Jude. She is a child when both of her parents are murdered, and shortly after her and her sisters, Taryn and Vivienne, are taken by Madoc–their now-to-be guardian–to live the rest of their life in Faerieland.

The world building of Faerieland was settle and natural. Black did an extraordinary job to make me feel as though I lived in Faerie. All the elements that most of us already know about faeries: the glamour, the way they can only speak truths, the Unseelie court system, the superiority they have above mortals, was all included yet not written in an overbearing sensation of an information dump. It flowed directly into the storyline while learning more unique aspects about the world Black created inch by inch. I also enjoyed how she included both the mortal and Faerie land constantly. We get glimpses of the mortal land several times as the sisters travel back and forth throughout which is something I don’t come across often in novels that include hopping from one world to another. It helped me relate and sympathize with the characters’ desires and issues on a deeper level. YES VIVIENNE I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU. I JUST WANT YOU TO HAVE HAPPINESS. 

Ah. the characters. Vivienne, Jude, Carden, etc. I can seriously talk about each one in detail, but that would just take days of review because WOW. Black really outdid herself with each character personality. There is not a single character that I absolutely loved or absolutely hated which is why in the end I ended up loving all of them in a dark, twisted way. I think that’s what she wanted as well. Well, except Valerian. For me, he got what he deserved. Each character is raw, relatable. Each of them has their own demons, and their own flaws that cause them to be selfish in the choices they make whether or not it harms the ones they love and care for around them. Yet, I understand their demons, I sympathize with their thoughts and I also question myself if these are choices I would make if I was in their situations.

1. Jude: To be a knight, and respected by faeries as a mortal
2. Taryn: To be accepted
3. Vivienne: To live in the mortal lands
4. Carden: To be loved by his family

I truly wish I can pour my heart into the plot, but that would reveal all of the twists that Black incorporates, and I would not want to spoil it. (but if you have read the book, and want to fangirl over it PLEASE let’s chat!) So, I would just leave on this note. The writing, the plot, the characters: FANTASTICAL. Now, why isn’t this rating have a 5/5? I have basically cried about how much I LOVED each part of The Cruel Prince that there is nowhere left to put my love until the next installment of the book right? Can 2019 be here already?

Truth be told, the only thing that bothered me about this novel was the element of romance. Now let me just say, this is NOT based on romance. Romance is definitely hinted, and I believe it will develop more (or at least I hope it will) over the next installments of the series; however, the way it was woven into the story in this one seemed empty. But maybe I’m confusing it with my own lovelife.

Synopsis: 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.

Recommend: Y E S! You are definitely in for a treat. Holly Black, I bow to you in front of the throne. Queen of the Faeries.
1. People who enjoy realistic fae representation, not sugar coated action/adventure.
2. People who read A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Winner’s Curse, The Queen’s Thief, and The Diviners

You May Also Like:


    1. Thank you so much!!!! It should be a spoiler free review, but sometimes I do get very passionate that it might spoil a thing or two. Haha but either way: definitely read this book!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *