Book Review – The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

cruel princeOf 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 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.


gold_star-svggold_star-svggold_star-svggold_star-svg 4.5/5 Stars

I received this book from the publishers via Net Galley , in exchange for an honest review.

I really wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this or not – I bought and read Tithe, Black’s first book, when it was first out and really enjoyed it, but Faerie books aren’t really a true love for me, so I never went back and read another.  Not on purpose, it just worked out that way.  I now feel like I was missing out, because this is so well written.  The politics and family drama in it are both intriguing and full of back stabbing shocks.  I figured out a few of the minor plot points, but missed a few others, which I always think is good.

I really like Jude.  She’s so full of anger and fear, and that seems so overwhelming.  I think that came across really well.  I think her viciousness combined with her doubt, makes her very human.  I love how well she used her ability to lie as well, and how she isn’t satisfied letting others control her fate.

I grew to intensely dislike Tatyn though, for reasons I won’t cover because of spoilers. I did see what would happen there, and was just so disappointed in her.  For me, she has the worst characterisation, because I didn’t really understand why she does everything she does throughout the book.

Carden was an interesting one – I knew early on that some of his characterisation would come up, but others, especially anything relating to his brothers, really changed that.  I think he starts as just Jude’s perception of him being quite flat, and he really rounds out as the book progresses.  Yes he can be cruel, and I think we’ll definitely be seeing more of that in the next book, but he can also be more than that.  I actually think his biggest flaw was letting his friends be how they were!

Then there’s Locke and Madoc.  Again I can’t really cover much without spoilers, but I am intrigued to see what will happen to them in the next book.  I’m hoping sharp pointy things happen to them. 😀

In the end, I gave the book 4.5 stars.  In places I loved it, but while this world NEEDS to be as dark and as cruel as it is, there were places where this was a bit much for me – the casual moments of abuse or murder of their parents.  I wouldn’t change it – it really makes the world work for it to be like that, but it’s not quite for me.

I do recommend reading this, especially if you like books about Faeries or extremely well written fantasy politicking.


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