2021 Book Review Book Reviews Fantasy

The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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.


The Cruel Prince was an amazing novel with an absolutely engrossing plot and unique characters. I loved seeing the story come together and when I finally finished the book I enjoyed looking back on the story and seeing the tiny details that seemed insignificant at the time, actually contribute to the plot and give hints as to what characters were feeling and thinking. There were so many scenes where I was wondering why the author brought so much attention to when I first read them, but when I finally saw how the story turned out, I saw how the scene was actually really significant. Although this novel does not have the best writing, the plot was definitely the main reason I loved this novel. Seeing Jude work her way to being at the top and struggle with balancing her life as a spy and a child part of the gentry was really cool. Also seeing her deal with the fight to find herself was a good addition to the story.

Another thing that I loved about this novel was the structure of Faerie that the author made. It was awesome to see this whole other world come to life and see the goings-on of different inner circles all while people were trying to climb a social ladder.


There were so many different personality types in this novel and it was so fun to read about how each character would interact with others. It was interesting to see Taryn and Jude interact because they really were opposites. Taryn was all about being under the radar and keeping everyone pleased while Jude eventually realized she wanted to be her own person and defy the people who judged her. I honestly don’t like Taryn. I don’t know if she’ll change in the other books in this trilogy, but as of right now she never failed to get on my nerves and always acted a little off. Jude is definitely my favorite character because I loved seeing her navigate this world that she is not fully part of because she is human, but has become hers despite that.

*Spoiler warning*

Can I just say that I absolutely knew Locke was no good. Even not considering how he was acting in the book, making him have ulterior motives was an obvious move when it comes to the writing of this novel and I definitely feel like that was an obvious plot twist. One tiny detail that I really loved was that when Jude ate the faerie fruit, it was written that Cardan pricked her finger with a pin. At first that just seems like a jerk move, but when you look deeper into the move you see that he knew she would suck on the wound to stop the bleeding and taste the salt from her blood (salt stops the affects of faerie fruit). I really liked this detail because it hinted at how Cardan didn’t just blindly hate Jude.


In the end I loved reading this novel because of the amazing story, amazing characters, attention to detail and it’s beautiful world. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a novel with a whole other structure of society to dive into that’s also an easy read.

Cover Art:

The cover artist for this novel is Sean Freeman.

Let’s Talk:
  • Have you read this novel/any novel from the Folk of Air series?
  • Do you enjoy reading novels focussed around the fey?
  • Would you consider this novel a high fantasy since it is set in another world and societal structure or a low fantasy since the “human world” as we know it is still there?

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