Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
(The Folk of the Air #1)
Hardcover, B&N Exclusive Edition, 384 pages
Published January 2nd, 2018
by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐
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.

My thoughts…

Because of the hype, I assumed The Cruel Prince would be a five-star read for me. I didn't love this as much as everyone else has. I really liked some parts, but I wasn’t wowed by it.

The prologue was promising with the brutal death of Jude’s parents by a Fae. After witnessing this tragedy, Jude and her twin sister Taryn and their half-Fae older sister Vivi are forced to live with the murderer Madoc as their father figure (Vivi’s biological Fae father) in the treacherous High Court of Faerie.

After the prologue, it went a bit downward for me and I was extremely sad, I really wanted to love this book. Ten years after the death of her parents, Jude is training to become a warrior. I initially thought Jude was training to get revenge for her parents’ death, not so. She was training to join a tournament to earn a spot with the Court. 

The Fae despise humans, Jude and Taryn have never been treated as equals, they were callously picked on. Prince Cardan (son of the High King) and his gang of ‘friends’ made Jude and Taryn’s life miserable. Taryn dealt with the group by ignoring them and not bringing attention to herself. Jude, on the other hand, had an intense need to not only fit in but to make a place for herself. She fought back, and Prince Cardan hated that. 

I had big problems with Jude, I didn’t care for her and found her irritating. I couldn’t get over the fact that a fae killed her parents and she wanted to be like them and wanted the Fae to accept her into their world. I did enjoy Locke’s character up until he started playing with Jude and Taryn’s emotions. I didn’t like how he asked Taryn to keep their relationship a secret from Jude, while he was out trying to pursue Jude. He wanted both sisters. I’m happy to see this relationship did not turn into a love triangle.

Throughout the story I found myself trying to stay interested in what was going to happen next. The story did pick up once again at the Coronation, I found that enjoyable with all the plotting and villain-ness, even though I did guess the twist that was coming. I was hoping for a much more dramatic ending between Jude and her Fae ‘father’ Madoc. I was happy about the precautions Jude took to keep Oak safe. The Cruel Prince was a good read and I do enjoy Holly Black’s writing, but I have not yet decided if I would like to continue with the next book, The Wicked King (Expected publication: January 8th, 2019).

Crazy question… Is it Fae or Fey?

Happy Reading -J


  1. I'm sorry to hear that this did not live up to the hype for you. I actually just picked up a copy from the library. This book has been so hyped, but I haven't heard a lot of good things about it. :\

    1. Next time, I'm going to wait to read the hyped books and like you get them from the library. Hopefully it's a good read for you. Have a wonderful day Kristin.

  2. I'm sorry to hear this wasn't a better read for you. I enjoyed it when I read it but I agree that the scenes regarding the coronation were the best part.

    1. I'm happy to see that you enjoyed it. The coronation was my favorite part :) Have a great day Suzanne.

  3. I can't wait to read this now I've finally got my hands on it. I've heard so many mixed things about it, I'm really curious to see what side of the fence I land on or whether I sit perched on top, lol.