The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (non-spoiler review)

Book: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Rating: 3.5 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.


This was my first Holly Black book and I really wanted to like it. However, other books about fae that I’ve read, (including An Enchantment of Ravens and Wintersong) I didn’t end up liking and so I wasn’t expecting much.


While the first part of the book was slow, the writing and world building for me was beautiful. Something I really enjoyed was how this book really showed the fae as how they were traditionally written. Cruel and cunning and vicious. There was a lot that happened throughout the book and I enjoyed the action and reading about politics of the courts.


While I did enjoy the world building, I felt that some of the book was a bit dragged out. The later parts of the book I definitely enjoyed more. I loved the complexity of the characters and all of them were really kinda flawed. Which is not a bad thing. Another thing I really liked was how unpredictable these characters were.


Jude: Jude is kind of this frustrated character. She feels weak because she isn’t fae and she has to endure bullying which really doesn’t help with the whole sense of hopelessness seeing as the bullies are fae. This kind of transitions into her wanting to try harder and I loved seeing that change. It’s both a desperation and an ambition.

Cardan: The definition of fae (also the definition of an ass). He’s the ‘cruel prince’, and damn. He’s so just evil and malicious (especially towards Jude), so even when we get to see different sides of him, I can’t really like the two together because of how he is. I do enjoy getting to see a different and more vulnerable side of him, but I was wanting more of that relentlessly cruel villain archetype that he’d previously been established as.

A shorter, bullet-point review can be found on my Goodreads here.


Talk To Me

Have you read The Cruel Prince? Is it on you TBR? What about Holly Black’s other books? Are your opinions the same as mine? Or are they totally different?

Until next time,



4 thoughts on “The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (non-spoiler review)

Add yours

  1. Ahh, of all Holly Black’s books to start on, I feel like this was not a good intro. I would recommend reading The Darkest Part of the Forest or her Modern Faerie series first, even The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. This book was more of a setup I think; Holly Black hasn’t written a sequential series since The Spiderwick Chronicles and the Curse Workers, so I think she’s a bit out of practice tbh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh yea I do want to give those a try + I think that part of it was because of how Holly Black wrote the fae. They were so so cruel (which of course is how they traditionally are), but that lead to some really violent scenes and that was hard to read for me.


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