The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – Spoiler Free Book Review

cruel princeRating: 5/5

Genre: Fantasy, YA

First released: 2018

Author: Holly Black

Synopsis: 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. 


This is the first Holly Black book I’ve read and I inhaled it. I have heard a lot of mixed reviews about this and I’ve heard some valid criticisms, but I loved it. I couldn’t put it down. I loved the world, I loved the characters, I loved the relationships, I loved the story.

I love faeries. I love Celtic folklore and anything that’s got faeries in it appeals to me. I feel like a lot of the fae fantasy that I’ve read moves away from the dark, mischevious cruelty of the fae and also from the rules that govern them, such as their inability to lie. And I get why and I enjoy that as well, but it was wonderful and refreshing to get some loyally depicted fae, with their cruelty and dishonest truth-telling. And I loved seeing the faerie realm with revels and strange, magical, surreal things. It was beautiful and it spoke to me.

I’m a fan of court politics/intrigue/espionage type stories. And this was a combination of those things. I constantly wanted to know what would happen next. It’s quite a short book, so it was very fast paced, maybe even a little too fast paced. I would have liked another 50-100 pages and spend more time on some things that went on. By far, I would say the weakest element of this book is the plot and I think a lot of that comes back to its length. But I still really enjoyed it.

I loved the characters. I’ve heard people say Jude was annoying or unrelatable, but I really liked her. She’s flawed and has some deeply seated issues, but then she did witness her parents being murdered by a faerie and was subsequently kidnapped by said faerie so…

I also really liked her sisters and they dynamic between them. I loved Cardan. Cardan is just my type of morally ambiguous character. I loved how he’s not really redeemed… but he’s not really un-redeemed either, if that makes any sense. Their dynamic was very entertaining in all its stages and I am okay with them ending up together in subsequent books, but I’m also okay with them not ending up together and continuing to hate each other. And I enjoyed the rest of the characters as well, they’re unique, they each have their own desires and their own angles and I loved exploring that. It was probably my favourite thing.

Overall, I frickin’ loved this. Can’t wait for the next one.

3 thoughts on “The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – Spoiler Free Book Review

  1. Lovely review. I loved reading your thoughts and opinions on this books. I do want to get this book now but I have a TBR that is about to crush me so I shall wait awhile. Have a lovely day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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