Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

TheCruelPrinceThe Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on January 2, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 370 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

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.

Well the hype is real friends and my second Holly Black book has blown me away. Having only ever read one middle grade from her I was not prepared for the epic and emotional faerie tale that The Cruel Prince delivered. It was dark and delightful with characters dripping with depth. Since so many have already reviewed this one I’m just going to give you five reasons to pick this thrilling title up.

Top 5 Reasons The Cruel Prince Will Make You Rave

  1. Faerie As It Should Be: A lot of popular works these days portray faerie lands as idealistic settings with the inhabitants being fawned over left and right but Holly Black doesn’t shy away from the vicious, conniving, and brutal setting. At the same time she crafts a luscious, intriguing land that would easily suck in unsuspecting humans.
  2. Jude! She’s a human girl that’s been raised in Faerie by her parents’ murderer, striving to find her place there while the Fae hate her for her mortality. Jude is persistent, enduring physical and emotional bullying. She may feel powerless but that doesn’t stop her from pursuing her goals whether she knows what she’s doing or not.
  3. Politics At Play: When the king decides to step down, the court politics certainly turn the heat up. Fae have always been clever and crafty to get around the whole “no lies” thing and with the throne on the line the spying and backstabbing become next level. This definitely keeps the reader guessing and the twists in this one were just to die for.
  4. Family Dynamics: Jude’s not wholly alone in Faerie. She has a twin, Taryn, and a older sister, Vivienne, who is part Fae as well as Madoc (Vivienne’s father and also the man who murdered their mother), his new wife, and a half brother. It’a ridiculously complex and dysfunctional group and no two relationships are quite the same.
  5. The Writing! Yes, I’m a sucker for excellent writing and Holly Black completely thrilled me with her words. It was deliciously descriptive and the plotting was masterful.

Overall The Cruel Prince by Holly Black was an epic intro to her world of faerie and writing talents. A riveting narrative kept me on my toes and complex characters like Jude and Cardan as well as a developed extended cast made the entire story leap off the page. Plus the political intrigue was absolutely stellar. I totally recommend picking this one up and I look forward to going back and reading more of Black’s faerie works.

Have you read The Cruel Prince? Do you prefer your fae tame or wild?

Let me know in the comments below!


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