‘The Cruel Prince’ is a Deadly, Alluring Fantasy


The Cruel Prince showcases an intriguing blend of politics, fantasy, and lush and multi-layered characters.

“If I cannot be better than them I will become so much worse.”

The dreamy and intricate world of faerie might just appear as sweet sensations of the taste of faerie fruit, petal-soft cascading dresses, and divine immortality. But Jude knows she is trapped in the exquisitely dark world of impossibly arrogant, beautiful princes and desires for bloodshed all around her. She is despised for her mortality, and she loathes being weak and fragile among them. She trains and develops her own taste for bloodshed and trickery, overcoming her weaknesses to prove herself to the fey.

The Cruel Prince is an intriguing, action-packed young adult fantasy novel based in the vibrant world of fey. The story follows Jude as she struggles to belong among the deadly people. She is raised by her parent’s murderer, and Prince Cardan, the vilest, youngest son of the High King and Jude’s roguish archenemy, constantly taunts her.

“Cardan is the absolute worst, really,” said author Holly Black. “It was really fun to write someone who really indulged his worst impulses, but is also funny. It’s always fun to write someone who is both funny and awful.”

Holly Black published this book on January 2, 2018 under Little, Brown and Company. The book was well-deservingly nominated for Goodreads Choice Awards Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction. It is the first in the “Folk of the Air” series. The second novel The Wicked King is excitingly set to be released January 8, 2019.

The book has certainly been a success, pleasing many with its magical charisma. For some, it revitalized their love for the fey world and fantasy.

Jude, molded by the cruelties of others, is the perfect protagonist. To prove herself, she aspires to win a place at the Court. Yet as the Courts begin facing betrayals, the faeries start to submerge in blood-thirsty violence. Jude will have to make precarious alliances to save her family and Faerie itself.

“The thing that intrigues me about Jude is that I love when people have one foot in two worlds,” Holly Black stated in an interview with Books For Keeps. “I think that’s a really interesting problem … How do you choose when you’re part and parcel of two things? When you’re neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring.”

“She’s so powerless, she’s been raised by a man who is deeply concerned with power, and who is willing to make some pretty brutal calculations, and when she has an opportunity for power she goes for it …”

The novel offers readers alluring and pleasantly dark fantasy, whisking readers away into the spellbinding and immersive world of faerie, which isn’t as pure as it seems. Filled with riveting and mysterious characters and shocking plot twists, readers will find it tortuous to put the book down.

The novel is a wonderfully lush blend of plot twists, political intrigue, folklore, and elaborate characters.

Holly Black’s imaginative world definitely charms anyone who reads her books. Her novels flourish with delightful characters and precise and intricate writing.

“It’s hard to fully capture what it is about her world-building that is so magical, but her books are always my favorite when it comes to faeries,” one reviewer said on Goodreads.

“I believe a part of it is that she flawlessly captures the danger and darkness of fey while also displaying the beauty of their magic. There are few words to accurately describe her talent for writing intriguing and beautiful fantasy worlds.”

Author Holly Black often visits the world of fey in her books, such as in her “Modern Faerie Tales” and “The Spiderwick Chronicles” series. She is constantly inspired by the faerie world, and loves revisiting it in her novels.

“There’s a lot I love. I love that this world is not just about one being but about a whole ecosystem of trolls and goblins and nixies and pixies and sprites and dozens of other creatures. And I love that they’re a bit like nature itself, with the wildness and pitilessness of a storm…but also with the warmth of a lazy summer day,” said Black.

“But most of all I love that, unlike most other supernatural creatures, they are not human and have never been human. They may look a little like us, but they’re not us.”

Being sweeped away into the whimsical yet lethal world of faerie, following Jude as she tries to find her place among them, is completely immersive and exciting for anyone who reads The Cruel Prince. The book swells with shocks and adventure, disguising behind tales of family, love, and strength. The book is easy-paced, with just enough surprises to keep you up late at night. The book peaks to a lavish ending, leaving readers itching for the next book.

“Holly Black’s writing is lush in every way imaginable, and she excels in bringing such a fantastical world to life. None of it felt made up,” one reviewer said on Goodreads.

“She doesn’t shy away from anything dark, either. This isn’t a pretty fairie land, folks. Here be monsters.”