I finally read The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. I’m a huge fan of fantasy, romance and YA and this series of books has been recommended to me time and time again. Perhaps because of the sheer amount of times The Cruel Prince has popped up on my FYP on BookTok my expectations were exceptionally high.
“One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed in the royal court but mocked and tormented by the Faerie royalty for being mortal.
As Jude grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong.
But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan…”
Jude is just seven-year-old when she witnesses the bloody murder of her two parents and is stolen away to Elfhame. A decade later, all Jude dreams of is acceptance, however, her mortality is cruelly mocked and despised by those around her, especially by Prince Carden and his wicked posse of followers. As civil war threatens to erupt Jude must learn how to play the Fae at their own treacherous games and make a series of dangerous alliances to secure her position at the High Court of Faerie.
Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would. I think this was mainly due to the fact that the majority of the characters are vile. Cardan, Valerian, Locke, Madoc, Nicasia, Dain, Balekin and even Taryn in the end… they’re all terrible. Jude’s constant humiliation and torture was relentless. Perhaps I was also disappointed because I went into this book expecting enemies-to-lovers or at least some element of romance. Cardan was so repugnant that I just can’t ever imagine myself finding him a worthy love interest.
That being said, The Cruel Prince was very fast-paced, exciting and the world-building was immaculately written. It was full of secrecy, revenge, deception and fae politics. Jude wasn’t your average damsel in distress despite her past trauma and continuous bullying and abuse. She was stubborn, ambitious and slightly bloodthirsty which I appreciated immensely. The Cruel Prince was definitely a lot darker than I anticipated, however, I fully intend to read the sequel, The Wicked King, in the hope that some characters will get their comeuppance.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is available HERE. (Affiliate link)1