BOOK REVIEW: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

BOOK REVIEW: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly BlackThe Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
by Holly Black
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


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.

“Nice things don’t happen in storybooks. Or when they do happen, something bad happens next. Because otherwise the story would be boring, and no one would read it.” 

Ahhhahah. Hahaha. Haha. I’ve read a lot of books with a lot of twisty, turny plots at this point in my life, really I have. I usually assume that by now, it’s going to be pretty hard to pull one over on me. But this was not one that I saw coming which is CRAZY because I feel like people have been in wild frenzy over this and The Wicked King for the last month now. I’ve been very careful about reading reviews and looking at quotes and while that was basically IMPOSSIBLE, I still didn’t come across anything that spoiled that ending for me and thank goodness for that.

“Have I told you how hideous you look tonight?” Cardan asks, leaning back in the elaborately carved chair, the warmth of his words turning the question into something like a compliment.
“No” I say, glad to be annoyed back into the present. “Tell me.”
“I can’t.”

The last Holly Black book that I read was The Darkest Part of the Forest and had a similar host of wild and conniving faeries. Since then, most of the books I’ve read featuring fae have turned them super sexy and more LOTR-elven like (mainly thinking about ACOTAR here). And that’s fine. I obviously love those books and those characters but I will say that there’s something…maybe satisfying(??) about reading a book with redcaps and brownies and dryads and the like. When the Seelie and Unseelie courts are places of cruel beauty and where they speak in silver tongues that can only speak the truth but also can omit things to lie in a round-about kind of way…

The fae in this book are a ruthless sort and our main character Jude knows all about that first hand. When she was young, her mother’s past fae lover comes and murders her parents in front of her and her two sisters. He then pledges that he will take them into his world and raise them as if they were his own (her oldest sister, Vivi, IS in fact his daughter). Instead of growing up to hate and resent Madoc though, she and twin sister Taryn accept that world as their own. In fact, Jude’s goal in life is to become a faerie knight and serve the king. She is forbidden to do so though because her mortal talents are vastly underestimated. 

“We don’t need to be good. But let’s try to be fair.” 

Basically I don’t really want to get into this plot at all. Like I said, I didn’t know what the ending was going to bring until it was literally unfolding before my very eyes. The only other thing I want to talk about is of course, Cardan. Cardan is the youngest son of the current king, Eldred. Throughout the entire book Jude makes it VERY well known that the two hate each other’s guts. It’s great. What I think you should know, is that he doesn’t really come into the story full force until about the last quarter. Obviously everyone is obsessed with him (it’s easy to see why) but I was SO confused when I got through about half of the book and he had hardly any page time. Don’t expect to see his character more until the end. When I did finally get to know him (or at least what he allows to be seen) I was delighted. I actually thought he was hilarious and no where near as malicious as I figured he was going to be??? He had a lot of really good and subtle one-liners that were genius in my opinion lolol. You’ll see. But that’s it. There you go. If you are a fan of the fae, of KICK ASS, BRAVE, clueless, DARING, oblivious, and CUT THROAT leads, Jude is your gal and this book is definitely for you! (P.S. only kind of joking about the clueless and oblivious part—mainly poking fun at Jude for thinking Cardan wrote on that paper because he hated her lololol, oh Jude, you silly girl)

“I am going to keep on defying you. I am going to shame you with my defiance. You remind me that I am a mere mortal and you are a prince of Faerie. Well, let me remind you that means you have much to lose and I have nothing. You may win in the end, you may ensorcell me and hurt me and humiliate me, but I will make sure you lose everything I can take from you on the way down. I promise you this is the least of what I can do.” 

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  1. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    I don’t think I’ve seen a bad review of this book yet. I’m stuck on a waitlist, trying to be patient. Great review!
    Aj @ Read All The Things! recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Most-Anticipated 2019 Adult Book ReleasesMy Profile

    • Arielle

      Thanks AJ! And you are very right…I think reviews for Wicked King are even better (also stuck on the waitlist for that, haha) so I’m dying to get my hands on it.

  2. Raven

    Great review! I’m glad you loved this book! I loved Jude! I also expected Cardan to be a dark character but he turns out to be pretty fun. I haven’t read the wicked King yet but i’m hoping to read it on next month.
    Raven recently posted…Prince of Dreams (The Messenger Chronicles #4) By Pippa DaCosta [Review]My Profile

    • Arielle

      Thanks, Raven! I hope we both end up loving Wicked King as much as basically everyone else in the universe! haha 🙂

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