The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black Book Cover


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.

Book Details

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dark Fantasy
Pages: 384
Source: Bought
Rating: 4.5 Stars


Book Review

THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Back is the first book in The Folk of Air series for young adult readers. This is a read filled with spying, stabbing, and scheming. A dark fantasy that features an exciting new heroine set in the unpredictable realm of the Fae.   

The Cruel Prince is one of those books that completely lives up to the hype.  Holly Black builds an intricate realm of courtly intrigue, one that is filled with capricious Fae, setting it in a lush Otherworld full of danger. Trickery and violence are all a game to these fairies, but for Jude, it means much more. As a mortal girl trapped in their realm, it could also mean life or death.

Jude is a fierce heroine; smart, cunning, and vulnerable. She fights with a blade, knows battles strategy as well as court etiquette; though mortal—she is determined to fit in despite the fact the Fae despise humans. She is determined to outmaneuver those around her, especially Prince Cardan, the youngest son of the High King who seems to have a personal vendetta against Jude. 

If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.

I found myself on edge of my seat when reading scenes featuring Jude and Cardan. Impulsive and quick to anger, Jude often finds herself pitted against Cardan, their constant battle of wills is volatile. Though Jude is only human she will not back down in spite of the danger she puts herself and others in.

The mercurial world created is so captivating. Seen through the mortal eyes of Jude, the danger is palpable. Each step she takes is like a move on a chess board; planned and calculated, yet the Fae are fickle and like to cheat. 

I am going to keep on defying you. I am going to shame you with my defiance. You remind me that I am a mere mortal and you are a prince of Faerie. Well, let me remind you that means you have much to lose and I have nothing.

You may win in the end, you may ensorcell me and hurt me and humiliate me, but I will make sure you lose everything I can take from you on the way down. I promise you this is the least of what I can do.

The Fae in this new young adult series are of the unapologetic variety, and Jude, having grown up under the care of Redcap father represents something unique; a human with all their mortal trappings, yet, raised to survive in a realm where treachery and intrigue are as commonplace as a game of cards.

In the End

Holly Black creates an enchanting world of Fae here. Dark and lush, we can't help but be fascinated. Court intrigues and dangerous alliances. Stabbing, spying, and trickery. Romance and twists. This will appeal to fans of dark fantasy and those who like their Fae twisted and capricious and their heroines fierce. 

Recommended to fans of the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr and those who grew up reading the famous Spiderwick Chronicles who want to take a bite out of something a little more dark and daring.