The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (Book Review)

Series: The Folk of the Air-#1

Blurb: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. 

This was my most anticipated release for january 2018 and it not only lived upto its expectation but also entered 2018 favourites!

Semi spoilers below. Skip to ‘Characters’ to avoid minor spoilers.

*Semi Spoiler Start*

Plot: The story revoleves around Jude and her quest to find her place in the land of faeries. Her life was uprooted from human world and she was placed in the fey world by the murderer of her parents at the age of seven. Since then its been 10 years now and she had adjusted and truly believes that fey world is where she belongs. Though she never lets go of her hate, for the murderer, she lets him train her and learn as much as she can to join the royal court as a knight. She has been constantly bullied by the youngest crown prince, Cardan, but she fights back because she does not see herself below the fey people. On the way she gets hired by the next ‘to-be’ high king as a his spy and does his work in exchange for a ‘geas’ which protects her from any sort of enchantment from the fey. But in turn of events the ‘to-be’ high king and most of the crown family is murdered by his own elder brother Baelkin, who wants the throne for himself and he needs the youngest crown prince Cardan to do so. Now, in a round about way, the power to choose the next high king lies in Judes hand. What will she do next!….Well that you have to read and find out!

*Semi Spoiler Ends*


  • Jude: The strong female protagonists whose ultimate fear is to loose control over herself under the fey charms/magic. She has a twin sister Taryn, who betrays her and a half fey sister Vivi who is loyal to her. She has a hate relationship with Cardan which turns to camaraderie by the end of book 1. The book is from her POV.
  • Cardan: He is the youngest crown prince known to be useless and a bully amongst the fey people. He secretly likes Jude but doesn’t want to, so he tries everything possible to make her hate him, including endless bullying, but he stops anyone else from doing anything fatally harmful to her. He has a big role to play in deciding the future of the next high king. He is being physically abused by his eldest brother Baelkin for the longest time but no one knows about it.
  • Madoc: Kings general. He falls in love with a human and fathers Vivi, but when the human betrays him and runs off with another human, He kills the human man and becomes the reason for the death of his human lover. He decides to take Vivi, along with Jude and Taryn(children of his lover and the human she ran of with) to the fey world and raises all 3 of them as his own. Plays a vital role is assassination of the crown family.
  • Prince Dain: The ‘to-be’ High King who gets killed by his brother. He has a group of 4 spies working for him when he was alive, including Jude.
  • Prince Dain’s Spies: Jude, The Roach, The Ghost and The Bomb.
  • Baelkin: The eldest crown prince who wants the throne for himself and kills all of his family except for Cardan.
  • Jude’s current Family: Madoc, his wife Oriana and his son Oak, Vivi, Taryn.
  • Cardan’s Friends/cronies: Locke, Nicasia, Veridian. Veridian almosts kills jude twice before she kills him. Locke makes jude believe he likes her.

These are the main characters and play vitol role in the development of the story. Jude’s character’s development from being vulnerable human to a leader among the fey group towards the end is the main focus throughout the story. These characters are really well written and they stay true to their straightforward roles. The only character which can be said to have a multilayered personality, which is discovered during the course of this story is Cardan. Everyone else is pretty much one dimensional and predictive in a way.


This book is more of a foundation for the next books to come so for the longest time not much happens in this book. Having said that, the story is still highly captivating from the start and keeps you engaged throughout. You wont feel bored or zoned out anywhere.

The strong female lead and her ‘adventures’ are something you will look forward too. And while there is very less of any romantic moments, the ones there present are cute and justified.

The only problem i had with this book is the title. ( This problem has nothing to do with the book itself, it is just my opinion, nothing else). Before reading the book i loved it, but after, I felt that the title should have been anything other than cruel prince since 90% of the book is about Jude. I understand the current title is not only for Cardan but also in reference to the other cruel princes in this story in general like baelkin, dain, locke etc, but still I just dont feel it does any justice to Jude.


All in all, this book was a great start for 2018. If you are planning to read this book but are not sure, I strongly suggest you at least give it a try. Its worth those few hours.

Star rating: 4.5/5!


Happy reading 😀



7 thoughts on “The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (Book Review)

    • yes, do give a try….even if u dont end up loving the book, u will atleast not regret going through it once! but i think this is more of a base for the following books to come in this series which i think will be epic! 🙂


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