The Cruel Prince [book review]

Rating: 3 out of 5.

3 out of 5, It’s pretty darn great!

Key Aspects…

  • Faeries
  • Danger
  • Political Betrayal
  • Spy Groups
  • Magic

Oh my god… oh my god… oh my god… this book. There aren’t enough words in the English language to fully express how much I adore this book, The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

I originally picked this book up for the simple reason that #bookstagram seemed to have gone mad with #princecardanfever, I saw it in the book shop, I had already been meaning to buy it and thought hey why not.

And I devoured it.

I found reading quite arduous after my English degree, I won’t lie to you. I’m getting back into it now, I’ve found some real gems. I love looking at my shelves and touching books but ultimately I hadn’t been reading anything because I just hadn’t been feeling it. But honestly… this book.

I fell in love.

I feel like (prior to the new craze!) faeries have not been covered in YA or fantasy fiction to the same extent that elves, dwarves, dragons and magic have… faeries seem to have kept an air of mystery and intrigue and I’m totally hooked on them. I’ve already googled other books that are similar, and the novel I’m currently writing is also about fae [I started it before hearing of Holly Black’s series and they’re quite different!].

So anyway onto The Cruel Prince…


The brief is as such… a young child by the name of Jude, is thrust into a world she doesn’t understand with her sisters, when her parents are brutally murdered. Ten years on Jude is studying with the faerie gentry including the horrible Prince Cardan; trying her best to fit into a world that keeps reminding her she doesn’t belong; fighting off bullies and their awful actions; when an opportunity arises for Jude…

Will this opportunity give her the chance to rid herself of these abusers for good?

NOW I’ll be the first to admit that even a waft of ‘boy vs girl’ in a blurb is enough to put me off for fear of a good plot being overrun by teenage angsty romance BUT that’s definitely not what happens here. There’s no boy meets girl, boy is a jerk but girl sees he’s slightly sympathetic and so falls for him despite his awful behaviour – nope, nada, not tolerated here people.

Jude never waivers in her beliefs or convictions, despite every blow she receives she does her damnedest to do what’s right and what will help her. And we’re so here for it!

As the title suggests Prince Cardan is totally vile as are his friends, but they’re the kind of antagonists you LOVE to hate. And it really is impossible to not hate Cardan.

And just when you think you’ve got the gist of who to love and who to hate you’re thrown, everything goes up in the air and you’re back to not knowing where you stand… just like Jude.

The Cruel Prince is the perfect mix of fantasy YA and traditional fairy story. The kind that you’d hear about at school, not the tame version your mum would read to you at bedtime. The stories like Cinderella’s step sisters cutting off their toes to fit into the slipper. Sleeping Beauty being raped and waking after birthing twins. The Little Mermaid turning into sea foam. It’s dark, it’s terrifying and it’s deliciously dangerous. Despite yourself, you want to see Faerie and try faerie fruit that makes you crazy, to dance until you can’t stand anymore, to feel fear and exhilaration just by leaving your house.

And in case you’re still not sold on the beauty that is this novel… just look how pretty the chapter headings are!!


No joke, get The Cruel Prince you won’t regret it… and I need someone to talk about it too!

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