The Cruel Prince review

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is a young adult fantasy novel. It’s the first book in the Folk of the Air trilogy.


Jude was seven 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.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal 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. (Credit:

Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead!

This book honestly surprised me. I knew that I would enjoy it because it involves Fae creatures and Goodreads suggests this trilogy for people who enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses, one of my favorite books. But, I didn’t expect the story to go the way it did. I definitely didn’t expect to like certain characters by the end of the book.

At the beginning of the book, I really hated Cardan. He made himself a very unlikable character with how much he essentially tortured Jude. All of the things that he and his friends did were horrible and made all of them unlikable. And I’m sure that was done on purpose. However, by the end of the book I actually started to like Cardan a bit more. Learning of his possible infatuation definitely threw me. I was not expecting him to have any other feelings toward Jude besides hate, especially since that’s mostly what he showed. I’m still a bit cautious about Cardan since at the end of the book it seemed like he was threatening Jude a bit. But I hope that Holly Black develops his character more in the next two books.

Jude’s character was not necessarily unlikable but she wasn’t immediately likable either. There were aspects to her decisions and characteristics that were appealing but there were also things about her that weren’t as likable. She wasn’t annoying, which I appreciated, but she seemed a bit aggressive at times. But, this aggression that she exhibited was written very well and made sense given her upbringing within the Faerie world. By the end of the book I grew to like her cunning and sometimes aggressive personality because it often was used to her advantage.

I’m really excited to see how Holly develops the characters in the next book and to see how Cardan and Jude’s relationship changes.

I didn’t expect to give the book such a high rating until the second half to be perfectly honest. But I did end up giving this book 5 stars because the last half was so enthralling and I couldn’t stop listening (I listened to the book on audiobook). Honestly, if you enjoy fantasy stories that involve Fae creatures or similar, I recommend The Cruel Prince.

❤ Kimberly

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