The Cruel Prince By Holly Black – Book Review

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The Cruel Prince By Holly Black – Book Review

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is said to be a lush, dangerous, thought-provoking and of course, a cruel read.

This is one of my first ever fantasy reads. I have seen so many book reviews of this book but they were all from the perspective of readers who read fantasy regularly. 

Being a beginner fantasy reader, I do believe that this book has done a wonderful job of engaging the reader.

Just like what Holly Black said, to write for not yourself but for the reader, and she did exactly that.

However, I do have some positive and negative thoughts about this book.

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Book Information

The Cruel Prince Book Cover

Title: The Cruel Prince (Book 1)

Author: Holly Black

Book Series: The Folk Of The Air Series 

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Pages: 370 pages (paperback)

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Amazon | Book Depository | Kinokuniya MY

What Is The Order Of The Folk Of Air Series?

The series is a trilogy. The first book is The Cruel Prince (2018), followed by The Wicked Kind (2019) and finally The Queen of Nothing (2019).

Is there a book four in The Folk Of The Air series

For now, there isn’t a book four. But there is an additional book to the series that is not part of the trilogy – How The King of Elfhame Learned To Hate Stories.

It is an illustrated book focused around Prince Cardan. 


Image from tbrview

The Cruel Prince Summary

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.

Beginner’s Perspective In Reading The Cruel Prince By Holly Black


Image from @soniasingh_

What I Liked About The Cruel Prince By Holly Black

1. Good Introductory Book For Fantasy Readers

First time reading fantasy, especially exploring the world of faerie reads (a sub-genre of fantasy fiction). As a person with barely any experience of reading fantasy, I can vouch that this is a good way to begin reading fantasy.

The two-page map in the book made it easier to visualize the world of faerie where the majority of the plot take place.

As for world-building, it was not much of a hassle for me to understand but it was all not that easy either. 

I had to google certain creatures to visualize how they would look and also had to read about the politics in the fae world. 

Little things like fairies cannot lie and humans cannot eat their food were explained so the world-building was pretty good for beginners.


Readers tip: If you are finding it difficult to read this book or any fantasy book, I do recommend reading the physical copy along with an audiobook. This is something I personally have tried while reading this book.

2. Irresistible Page Turner

I find myself wanting to know more and more, it’s like you’re in too deep to close the book now. Every time I think I am so close to “figuring it out”, I am proven wrong.

The adventure Jude takes us on is like never seen before. 

I really could not predict what was about to happen next. It was full of surprises and that’s what made it a great magical read.

3. Cardan, The Cruel Prince.

Cardan, a cruel and charming fae that will make readers swoon. 

Personally, I am not head over heels with this fae prince, but there is no denying that this character is mysterious and keeps the reader on their heels, wanting to know more about him.

If you’re worried about ‘how appropriate’ this book is, The Cruel Prince age rating is safe to read for ages 15 and up, with mild violence and no sex scenes. 

Amazon | Book Depository | Kinokuniya MY

What I Disliked About The Cruel Prince By Holly Black


Image from @zarareadshere

1. Book Title Was Misleading

When I first read the title. I was expecting Cardan to be the focus of this book. But instead, Jude is the main character and everything was written from her point of view.

This was not a bad thing, I liked reading through Jude’s perspective, just felt the title being a bit misleading. 

As for Cardan, he wasn’t as cruel as I would like him to be. His friends were way more cruel than him, despite him being ‘The Cruel Prince’.

This definitely threw me off. Plus, everyone on bookstagram worshipped Cardan and I did not really understand the hype. 

I do think the first book is pretty introductory to the series, I am sure there is more to come in this trilogy.  So please do not come for me Cardan fangirls! 


2. Hint Of Unnecessary Character and Chapters

SPOILER ALERT: This part contains a spoiler, please skip to avoid spoiling this book for you.

I don’t understand why the random character Sophie comes into play. And the whole scenario of helping her to escape the fae world is unnecessary and bored me. 

This could be a reflection of Jude’s emotional baggage, wanting to escape the fae world but she never did so. So instead, she helps another human to escape.

Don’t forget to check out: 30 Best The Cruel Prince Quotes by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince Characters Complements The Plot

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black has several eccentric characters that complements the dark plot. 

A lot of The Cruel Prince Characters are young adults with rich personalities. They are significant in their own ways and are sure not to be forgotten.

Just to name a few, here is a list of prominent characters from The Cruel Prince:

1. Jude Duarte


Art by starbitart

Jude is the protagonist of this book. She is a complex character. She hates yet loves her so-called ’father’, Madoc. 

This mortal has daddy issues for sure.

As a human girl living in the fae world, she tries her best to fit in but often gets bullied by other fairies. 

She’s a savage because although knowing how dangerous fairies can be, she bites back at them.

She is a true fighter at heart and carries the story really well.

2. Taryn Duarte


Image from thefolkfofairwikia

Taryn is Jude’s twin sister. Although they look identical, she is the opposite of Jude. 

She is an easy target among the faeries and is a people pleaser. 

She badly wants to fit in this fairy world.

3. Vivienne


Art by PhantomRin

Vivienne is as rebellious as Jude. 

Despite being the only sister who is a faerie, she hates the fae world and wants to escape from it to go back to the mortal world.

Amazon | Book Depository | Kinokuniya MY

4. Cardan


Art by Gabrielle Ragusi

Cardan Greenbriar is the cruel prince. He hates Jude with a passion and so does all his friends.

He is the High King’s youngest son.

5. Balekin


Art by PhantomRin

Is the eldest prince and son of High King Eldred.

6. Dain


Art by PhantomRin

Is the son of High King Eldred, soon to be crowned High King himself.



Art by PhantomRin

Is a faerie and close friend of Cardan’s. He is part of their cruel friend group. 

He always out to get Jude and hates her more than Cardan.

8. Locke


Art by PhantomRin

Locke is a faerie and is part of Cardan’s friend group. He is Liriope’s son.

Nicasia is one of his love interest in this book.

9. Nicasia


Art by PhantomRin

Nicasia is not just a faerie, but a princess of the Undersea. She is part of Cardan’s friend group and has feelings for Locke.

Meanwhile, Cardan has feelings for Nicasia.

Final Thoughts And Rating


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is definitely an enchanting, mysterious and page-turning read.

I am so glad to be reading this after the trilogy has been completed. That way, I do not have to wait for the next book to be published.

In fact, I am reading the second book, The Wicked King, right now. 

I have heard from many bookstagram friends that the story gets better. The first book sets the pace for a more adventurous plot to come. 

Special shoutout to @zarareadshere and @thebadassreader for discussing this book with me and encouraging me to step out of my reading comfort zone.

Being quite the mood reader I am, this was definitely a book I would have not reached out for.

Would I recommend this book? Especially to beginner fantasy readers: YES.

Feel free to comment below or reach out to me on instagram to fangirl about this book! 

The Cruel Prince By Holly Black – Book Review

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