Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince was a dark, twisted book, and I absolutely loved it!



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 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.

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The Plot

 At first, I thought this was more of a coming-of-age story, but with dark fae. Jude’s focus is more on earning her place in the Court than anything else for the first portion of the book. But it’s really not! It has elements of a coming-of-age plotline, but it’s also about self-discovery and betrayal.

The world-building also surprised me! There’s a few info dump-ish places towards the beginning, but nothing like some other books I’ve read. The story is set in Elfhame, which is made up of three shifting islands: Insweal, Insmoor, and Insmire. Insmire is the main island, where the royals live and where the story takes place.

The Characters

I loved Jude! She was very stabby, but also very feminine and intelligent to counterbalance the stabbiness. She did have a bit of a habit of making snarky remarks when it really didn’t help her situation, but hey, without the snark messing things up the plotline would have been a lot slower.

I also loved Vivi, but I’m torn about Taryn. Like?? Why would you *SPOILER* go and get engaged to the guy YOU KNOW JUDE LIKES. LIKE SERIOUSLY. I know you want to fit in, but if you know that’s going on, and the dude is purposely playing your twin, I’d cut things off with that jerk. Okay, done with the Taryn rant. On the other hand, Vivi is Jude and Taryn’s rebellious half-sister, and I loved her. She’s constantly sneaking away to the mortal world just to annoy Madoc, which honestly I get. Madoc is not a very good person. But Vivi also loves her sisters so much, and it’s honestly really pure?? I love it??

Cardan tho. *heart eyes* At first, I really did not like him. He was a very self-centered jerk, which granted, is basically in the makeup of the fae, but still. But as the book goes on, you get more of his backstory, and you can understand where he’s coming from.  Also *SPOILER* I started low-key shipping Cardan and Jude towards the beginning of the book, even though he was jerky. I figured he’d have some backstory that could justify his actions, and while they weren’t completely justified, he did get a lot better! And the romance between them was very enemies-to-lovers, and not at all rushed. I really loved those aspects of his character. 

The only thing that really bothered me was all the side characters. The people who were close to Jude I could keep straight okay, but all the other members of the royal family?? And all the people Jude tried to make alliances with?? Gone from my brain in about 12.7 seconds. I understand their purpose, I just have the short-term memory of a house fly and cannot remember all these people for the life of me.

And OF COURSE they all have crazy fantasy names. Like, Orlagh?? Nicasia?? Caelia and Elowyn and Roiben and Ryhia?? I called Charis my cousin’s name the other day, which is Serena and in no way similar to Charis. How am I supposed to keep track of all these names that just sound like a keysmash?


  • Occasional use of b******, b****, s***, and d***.
  • A few kisses, some fairly heated.
  • Some implied sexual content.
  • Frequent uses of magic.
  • Frequent violence, with some pretty graphic descriptions.


Overall, I give it 4.5 stars! If you have better memory than I do, you might give it five stars, but since we’ve already established how bad my short-term memory is, all the names kind of confused me. Other than that, I loved The Cruel Prince and would definitely recommend it!

Are there any other books you want me to review? Leave a comment below! 



4 thoughts on “Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

  1. I’m actually reading this book right now :). I definitely agree with your review! I’ve only been on your blog a few times (I may or may not have been sort of looking for blog posts on Reylo), but I love the new design.

    Liked by 1 person

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