Book Review: THE CRUEL PRINCE (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

Palace intrigues and betrayal, bloodshed and beautiful creatures. Jude tries to find her place in a world she despises.


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.



Title: The Cruel Prince

Author: Holly Black

Publication: January 2, 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Fantasy

Target audience: Young Adult

Book Depository | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon DE

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Rating: 🌵🌵🌵

When it comes to super hyped-up books, people usually either hate them or love them. Since this book is as hyped-up as possible, but also has a lot of negative reviews, I expected to hate this. Surprisingly, I didn’t.

For me, a three star rating is a positive rating. It means that, even though I had my issues with a book, it was still an overall enjoyable read. And that’s exactly the case for The Cruel Prince.

Nice things don’t happen in storybooks. Or when they do happen, something bad happens next. Because otherwise the story would be boring, and no one would read it.

I enjoyed reading this book. Honestly. I think it only took me 2 days. Holly Black’s writing is easy on the eyes and she knows how to entertain. But this is not enough to make a book stand out. It is quite average, predictable and forgettable, especially when you’re, like me, more familiar with the YA genre. So, the book wasn’t really true to the hype for me personally.

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

The beginning is kind of slow. Nothing is happening. That would make sense if we were being introduced to this whole new world of Faerie, but we’re not. This interesting world full of political intrigues is never really explained to us. Black drops a few explanations here and there, but it seems as if she expects us to be familiar with all these creatures and courts and stuff. Well, I know that faeries are Black’s thing, but this was my first Holly Black book and my first faerie book in general and I was completely out of my depth.

What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.

The concept itself is really cool. Our protagonist’s parents are killed and their murderer kidnaps her and her sisters. He raises them as his own children and a love-hate relationship ensues. This is actually one of my favorite parts of this book. Madoc, the muderer of Jude’s parents, is such an interesting character and I loved the relationship between him and Jude. To be honest, I think Madoc was my favorite character and I’m pretty sure I’m the only one with that opinion but I don’t care.

Father, I am what you made me. I’ve become your daughter after all.

It’s really shitty when you read a book and you don’t like the protagonist. Unfortunately, this is what happened to me with The Cruel Prince. Jude is kind of dumb and annoying. I can’t remember any specific moments because I read this book some time ago (and like I said, it wasn’t really memorable), but I do remember this vague feeling of dislike that I harboured for her.

BUT, I didn’t outright hate her. There’s something about Jude that redeems her.

Her willingness for murder.

Ok, that may have sounded a bit crazy, but I loved her unflinching nature! She does what’s necessary to get what she wants, and you don’t find that often in YA.

If you hurt me, I wouldn’t cry. I would hurt you back.

Let’s get to the romance. Ugh.

You remember how I said that I loved Jude and Madoc’s love-hate relationship? Well, I don’t love Jude and Cardan’s love-hate relationship. Actually I hated it.

Prince Cardan, son of the High King, is a real asshole and bully. He treats Jude like shit, even goes so far as to endanger her life. Yet, the reader knows excactly that Cardan is Jude’s eventual love interest. It’s inevitable. There are some moments that supposedly show us Cardan’s soft side and actual feelings (even during the bullying) and while I did notice them, I don’t think they are enough to excuse or redeem him. Also, they come out of nowhere and don’t make sense to me.

Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.

Despite its faults, I couldn’t put The Cruel Prince down. And yet I’m not sure if I will read the sequel The Wicked King. This book will probably be focused even more on Jude and Cardan’s relationship and I don’t know if I can handle that.

Have you read The Cruel Prince or another Holly Black book? Did you like it? Are you planning to read The Wicked King? Let me know down below in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: THE CRUEL PRINCE (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

  1. Pingback: Fan Art Friday: THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black #1 – jessythecactus

  2. Pingback: Book Review: THE WICKED KING (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – jessythecactus

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s