Honest Book Review: The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black

This is a big one to start with as it has a LOT of popularity in the YA and fantasy world. I wanted to start with a more well known author and book to layout the format of what I will try to give you all for an honest book review. I will do my ABSOLUTE best to give a review without any spoilers. I don’t want to tell you ABOUT the book, I want to give you a reason to READ the book, or decide it’s not for you and to pass on something you wouldn’t enjoy. Here are the quick details for the about:

The Cruel Prince is a young adult fantasy novel by Holly Black. It is the first book in The Folk of the Air trilogy, and follows Jude, who is a human and lives in a world with faeries who despise her kind.

In June 2017, it was announced that The Cruel Prince had been opted for a film adaptation produced by Universal Pictures and Michael De Luca.[2]

The book features appearances by characters from Black’s previous Modern Tale of Faerie trilogy, as well as characters from her standalone novel The Darkest Part of the Forest, establishing that those books take place in the same universe as The Cruel Prince.



Teenage Romance

High Fantasy


World details and heavy world building

Easy to read

Adventure and exiting

Uses little describing words, simple quick read


Jude: Protagonist

Jude Board


Surface level but enjoyable

On a mission

Determined to fight or win

Given a strong purpose

Weak and yet admirable

Great lead

Love story or triangle excitement


Cardon: Antagonist/ Possible Love Interest

Cardon Board


Deep and mysterious

Total Jon Snow brooding

Love story or triangle excitement, remains to be seen

Mean but for a reason…I hope

Almost not redeemable…but keep reading!



The Overall Honest Book Review:

Cruel Prince Fan Art from Pintrest!

This one comes across like a very in-depth high-school to early college years read. The character is relatable in the way of not knowing one’s surroundings and struggling to fit in. I feel like most girls and woman between the ages of 13 to 22 feel this way at one point or another.

The first thing that grabbed me about Holly Black’s writing style is the in depth description of the world. As I read this book I could see the details of the weapons, the clothing, the food and the entire Faerie world. It wasn’t just a reuse either from my own experience. Her description of the Faerie world and the rules of that world played very well into reality making it a believable place, not just a made up one for the sake of writing a story about faeries.

If you like long drawn out love/hate stories, this is SO the book for you. I personally have a hard time enjoying a character or finding any redeemable quality in them when they are mean to the main character, one you know will share a love interest of some sort later in the book or the series. HOWEVER, Black’s weaving of the hate/like relationship between Jude and Cardan is enjoyable to read if somewhat frustrating at times. I am a person that enjoys the slow build of a story and without a little frustration and desire to make things “happen” right away, the story would be flat and unrealistic. Life is frustrating, and at time, these characters truly do things that frustrated the HELL OUT OF ME! But for good reason, and for great enjoyment!


Is there a purpose  for the character to make the decisions they are?

  • Yes, Jude is thrust into an unknown world surrounded by Faeries and their way of life. I feel her character reacts to her surroundings in a way that I would. She wants her old life, and yet she also wants to fit in. The duality of her desires in this book make for a great read of self discovery and understanding of her place in the world.

Who is the Antagonist and are they believable?

  • For me, there were two straight forward Antagonists for two different reason. I enjoyed them both for what they provided to the storyline
  • Cardon is a Prince in the Faerie world, and to be straight forward he treats Jude like the scum on the bottom of his shoe. He is mean and outright a total ass most of the time, but there are hints of depth to his character that make him out to be a privileged ass with a hard exterior to protect against the emotional and physical abuse he’s endured in his life. Despite my overall hate of this character (and I do believe we are meant to hate this character in the same way we all hate Geoffry!! #GOT), I do feel there will be redeeming qualities to him throughout the series (Unlike Geoffry who we all hated IMMENSELY until he died #GOTSPOILER #SORRYNOTSORRY)
  • Madoc is the High King Faerie’s greatest General, also the pseudo father for Jude and her sisters. This character was necessary to the storyline and to Jude’s growth as a character, but I didn’t necessarily buy off on his “all knowing” ways within the world he was supposed to be so in control of. Most of this first book is a slow build of Jude and Cardon’s relationship leaving little growth between her and Madoc, but I don’t mind that so much.

Is the story arc believable, fun, ridiculous or not even viewable?

  • The story arc isn’t obvious from the get go. You need to read a bit into the story to understand what Jude’s “story” is but once you see it, then it’s clear what she is meant to do and why she feels the need to accomplish those goals.

Does the beginning snag you? Does the end leave you wanting more?

  • The general story is not what snagged my attention, it was the detailed world building that really latched onto my face and wouldn’t let go until I put this book down.
  • I can’t say the end left me wanting more, but at the same time I do feel that reading through the rest of the book series will be as enjoyable as the first book was.

Final Words to You:

This book didn’t leave me feeling as though it changed my life. It was a surface level enjoyable read with a great arc of conniving betrayal, back stabbing family drama, intriguing but not overwhelming possible love intrigue, and a seriously AMAZING world build. It’s a quick read, it brings to the table a plethora of characters to enjoy and hate, but keeps the realm of it’s kind wrapped in a tight little faerie bow.

Who Should Read This?

If you like faeries, if you like sword fighting and women who won’t take shit from men who try to run the world, this book series is for you!

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