Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Posted January 27, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly BlackThe Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 370
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

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.

Jude was only seven years old when she watched both of her parents get murdered and both she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. After ten years, Jude wants nothing more but to belong in Faerie, despite the fact that she is mortal, but a lot of fey despises humans, especially Judes rival Prince Cardan.

Jude knows what she has to do in hopes of earning her place and respect among the fey and that is to get a place as a knight of the court. But, when Jude is trusted into a civil war that threatens the Courts of Faerie, Jude must risk her life in order to save her family and Faerie from the bloodshed.

This was my first Holly Black book and it did not disappoint. The writing was wonderful and kept me wanting to turn those pages. The world building was rich and dynamic, I really felt like I knew the place with all its beauty as well as cruelty. The character development was gradual and satisfying.

I did like Jude as a character, she was an easy one to follow – very loyal, very smart, and does not allow the fact that she is a mortal in an immortal world to drag her down. Despite being defiant and of course a somewhat of a flawed character, she knows what she needs in order to survive even if at times the chinks in her armor really show.

I didn’t feel like there was a special snowflake alert in this book. Jude uses the help of others around her in order to stay alive and survive as well as fight a battle that seems impossible to win as a mortal. Faerie teaches her how to become cunning, quick and deceitful and it really starts to show as the character is faced head on with some ugly realities of the Courts of Faerie.

I did have an issue with the Judes relationship with Madoc, I found it a bit hard to grasp, especially with what had transpired in the past. It was a bit odd that Madoc’s eldest blood daughter remained defiant with hate for her father, but Jude and her twin sister did not show that what had happened effected them. I don’t find all that believable, even if they both were young – they were seven and it probably should have had some negative effect on them.

Judes relationship with her twin sister Taryn was absolutely frustrating at times and honestly could have killed the book for me if it wasn’t for everything else. It seemed petty, childish and just infuriating. When I found out why the feud between Cardan and Jude started, it was hard not to grit my teeth. I almost gave this 3.5 stars, but the storytelling won me over and pushed it back towards the edge.

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15 responses to “Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

  1. I still need to pick up one of her books. I do love seeing how much you love the descriptive writing and the heroine. Too bad for the niggling things that took away from the story, but glad it was over all good.

  2. I’m hit or miss with Faerie stories, but I did love Holly Black’s old fae series. I love her writing even though I usually have an irritation or two with the stories like you did here. Hope the coming books are even better. Wonderful review, Lily! 🙂

  3. Plenty of bloggers I know are sharing this book around the net a lot and, I have to admit, I’m curious about it but I’m in no hurry . . . I mean, it sounds charming, but I think I’m mostly scared to get frustrated with it for your same reasons :-/

  4. Great review, Lily! I don’t often read fantasy but I have found that I enjoy books about the Fae (SJM’s ACOTAR series, for example) and The Cruel Prince was no exception. While I didn’t have issues with Jude’s relationship with Madoc so much (she was only 7 when it happened and she admittedly both loved and feared him), I felt like her relationship with Taryn was a weak spot. First, the relationship seemed so under-utilized. And you’re right, often their squabbles seemed childish and petty. It was a minor issue for me, though, because otherwise I was so taken in by the overall story. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this one!

  5. Thanks for your honest review. Everyone is raving about this book. Which makes it a little hard to believe in the reviews themselves. This has been on my want list for a while and hopefully my number is called at the library soon so that I can read it. It sounds like a really interesting story.

  6. I bought a copy of this one a few weeks ago Lily after seeing so many reviews praising how perfect it is. I’m thrilled you enjoyed it but also relieved that you found issues with it too. The hype is really overwhelming for this one. Can’t wait to crack it open. Brilliant review Lily and thrilled that you enjoyed it too <3

  7. I see this book everywhere now, but The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black has been on my TBR for ages so it’s likely I’ll read that first someday.

    Anyway, I’m glad you liked this one despite the annoying parts 🙂

  8. LOVED YOUR REVIEW! I’m planning to reading The Cruel Prince next! I have heard amazing things about it and I can’t wait to meet the characters of this story!

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