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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black Book Review

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

The Cruel Prince

by Holly Black

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Book 1 in The Folk of the Air Trilogy

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 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.


Violence #YoungAdult Interesting


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is the first book in her The Folk of the Air Trilogy, and centers around a human girl, Jude, who along with her twin sister and older sister, were brought to Faerie after the murder of their parents, to live among the fae, and the High Court of Faerie. After ten years, Jude wants nothing more than to belong, and to be one of the fae. To do so, she must go against everyone, not just to find her place in the fae world, but for the survival of Faerie.


What did I just read?

Holly Black has been recommended to me enough, and this specific series, that I was really expecting ... more. It's unfortunate, because I didn't mind the story so much (all though, parts of it seems borderline ridiculous), but the characters ... UGH. Am I supposed to like any of them? Shouldn't I at least like the main character, Jude? If anything, I found all the characters lacking. There was also NO CHEMISTRY between ANY of these characters. Even the sisters. It was all just an awkward mash up of interactions. I also wasn't the biggest fan of the writing. It was very choppy, and non-descriptive. -------> For example, I'm supposed to believe that Jude actually had feelings for Locke? What was the indication? The kissing? To me, that seems to me the only thing. He did some nice things, sure, but he seemed indifferent. That whole thing was weird. <-----------.

But back to the characters, I have a very firm belief that I should at least like the main character. While there were elements that I liked about Jude, specifically her refusal to back down, no matter the consequences, I found her way too power hungry. I hope this is something her character comes to face and conquer, because it's not an attractive one.

The love interest(s)? ---------> As I said above, Locke went back and forth between being nice and being indifferent, and I didn't feel any chemistry between them to justify any feelings. And while I usually enjoy a good enemy to friend to lover arc, I just didn't feel it between Cardan and Jude either. Their interactions beforehand are too brutal for me to overcome. I won't lie, when they were in the planning stages of their coup, I liked them, but what Jude does is cruel, even with what he has done to her in the past.<--------. This book takes two wrongs don't make a right and blows that shit up.

I'm fighting with myself here. I was not a fan of the book. It's been recommended so many times though, so it makes me hope it gets better, because there was some interesting, creative elements to the story. Do I read the next one? Do I care about what happens to these characters? Right now, no. But I said the same thing about Sarah Maas' Throne of Glass, and am thrilled I continued the series after getting past that first book. So while not a fan, I will read the second one. I'm hoping for a big turn around. Or else, I will need to move along.

*NOTE* - Sadly, I didn't find the second book much better. In fact, I ended up stopping halfway through. So there will be no further reviews of the series from me.

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