Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Series: The Folk of the Air #1

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Themes: Family, Betrayal, Power 

Rating: 5 stars

Jude is only 7 when she witnesses the horrible murder of her parents. The perpetrator, a powerful faerie, decides to take Jude and her sisters away to the land of Elfhame which is where they end up living out their childhood days. 10 years on, we see that living as a human amongst the fey is difficult to say the least. Jude is treated like an outcast, especially by Prince Cardan and his cruel friends who are the source of a lot of grief. Tired of feeling like she’s “less,” Jude wants to obtain a position of power so that she will no longer feel vulnerable amongst the fey. This book unfolds that journey, a journey of secrecy, betrayal and the strive for power.

This book! I was hugely impressed by The Cruel Prince. The storyline was strong from beginning to end; there weren’t really any parts where the story ‘dipped.’ The pacing was great, and even though I was being introduced to this whole new world, I was able to follow everything perfectly. I did have to flip back and forth a few times to get my head around some of the family lines and which characters were connected to each other but on the whole, it was easy to follow.

The main character, Jude, was just so brilliant. She was reckless, defiant, and a total schemer. A lot of her decisions made me think “what on earth, is she really doing this?!” but yet, I could never really fault her. Jude fights for her honour, and even though fear is something that constantly bubbles away inside of her, she is bold and unyielding. She is determined and for that I could never dislike her; she’s entertaining and in many ways, admirable. With everything that she had to face and endure, I wanted to be there with her and see her through it. Jude is a character to be respected, and I think within the story, many come to this realisation.

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

Jude, The Cruel Prince

Jude is a force to be reckoned with, and I truly can’t wait to see how she will continue to shake everyone’s world in the following books. I’m also really looking forward to reading more about Prince Cardan.  In the beginning, I kind of guessed what his character would be like but even so, the unfolding of his story was still surprising. Cardan is what he is but I think I’m really going to love his character (I hope I haven’t jinxed myself). He’s very complex which makes him very interesting to analyse. I also really hope to see a lot of development for his character in the next book… I think he could be greater than what he believes he is. Some of my other favourite characters included Vivi, who was so brilliantly stubborn and smart and caring. The members from The Court of Shadows were great as well- I can’t wait to see what they get up to in the next book.

The ending was fantastic as well. The way things were left… you could just feel the fear, the anticipation, the promise of what is yet to be unleashed. It was epic, a really great ending. So from start to finish, The Cruel Prince was something I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s been a while since I last felt this excited about a story so I’m definitely going to recommend it! I look forward to The Wicked King.

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