The Cruel Prince


Title: The Cruel Prince

Author: Holly Black

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Length: 370 Pages



Jude, along with her sisters Vivienne and Taryn, are taken from their home at a young age when a Faerie man comes to their home and murders their mother and father. The Faerie man Madoc, who was once the lover and husband of the girls’ mother, takes the children home with him to Elfhame, a fairy kingdom, to raise as his own.

Years later, the mortal girls are still being treated like dirt, even though their “father” is a known general to the land and respected. Vivienne in particular does not care for Elfhame and wishes to live back in the mortal world. As for the twin girls Jude and Taryn, they wish to find their place in the immortal world among the dazzling creatures.

On her quest for power and to fit into this world, Jude starts a dispute with the youngest Prince Cardan, allies herself with who the lands hopes will be the next king, lies her way through Elfhame, and finds herself twisted in the middle of the harsh and gory political drama of the kingdom.

Can she untangle herself out of it? Or will she embrace it?


First off, this review will contain spoilers. You have been warned.

I don’t often read a lot of fairy-styled stories (aside from the classics). I never truly found them that engaging and interesting but this one had be gripping the pages at the end and holding my breath until I read the last word.

The title fits this story well. The Cruel Prince is, of course, Prince Cardan, and how he treats Jude in this story is quite . . . disturbing. Prince Cardan is a spoiled, outcast, attention seeking, egotistic, human-racist, and just a sad fairy. Though, to be fair, he never wanted to actually kill Jude, vs. his “friend” Valerian.

Now, Jude has had enough of how she’s been treated and stands up for herself and strikes back at the prince. This is one of the many things I love about her. She’s not at all like her awful twin Taryn (I won’t spoil everything but I hate her guts). Jude wants to be a fighter. She wants to be more. She has a goal and when things don’t go according to plan, she reconstructs her goal and moves forward. But Jude isn’t perfect, and who really wants a main character who is perfect? She makes her mistakes and she feels awful and they hurt her and sometimes the people around her and she tries to make things right but some things are not always in her control.

Now, I really haven’t read any other reviews for this book so I don’t know how anyone else thought of Locke, but I smelled a rat the moment he spoke to Jude. I did not buy their relationship one bit. And I kind of disliked Jude a bit for falling for it. I get it, he’s the first fairy creature who’s interested in her, but come on! She could do better. Someone who can keep up with her and give her a challenge. Sometime like . . . Cardan. Yes. I was totally shipping them from the very beginning. I’m not sorry. I’m a sucker for those stories where the love interests hate each other at first. And the two completely drive each other crazy. I love it so much.

Madoc, the father, is a pretty interesting character. He’s someone who loves his daughters, his new wife and son, but he’s vicious, violent, and murderous. Odd combination, right? I thought so to. Jude tries to impress her “father” and wants to prove that she’s worthy to be a knight in the court, but of course, Madoc disagrees. From then on Madoc and Jude go on their separate mission and agendas, until they ultimately clash at the end. And the clash is so perfectly satisfying, I can’t wait to see what happens between these two in the next book.

Now, the sisters. I like how Vivi hates Madoc for what he did and does everything possible to make him hate her or go against his wishes. It’s quite entertaining. I also liked how Vivi wants to return to the “mortal” world and wants to lives with her girlfriend. That detail comes into play at the end. As for Taryn, I hate her guts. As I’ve said before. She’s the type who wants to conform to the crowd, and it’s true that Jude wants to be like the fairy people, but Taryn can be very stupid at times. One example is falling for Locke when she knew that Locke was making advances for Jude. The guy was playing both girls and yet, Taryn still wanted to be with the jerk. Ugh!

As for the story, I wasn’t completely invested at the beginning and parts of the middle. It wasn’t till the end of part one hit that I was so into this story and the ending? OMG. It was completely perfect. Plots, risks, Cardan on a leash, bombs, wrong twin problems, political drama, blood, fights – I loved every word. I can’t wait for The Wicked King!!!

I gave this one 5 stars on Goodreads, and I hope very much that the second one is as good as this one and/or better.




4 thoughts on “The Cruel Prince

  1. I can’t wait for The Wicked King either!

    Jude is a mastermind. She’s ruthless and hungry and not entirely likeable but I loved her.

    Though Cardan is the cruel prince, there were other cruel princes that kept me guessing, particularly Prince Dain. I loved the byplay between him and Jude—and Orianna’s assumptions about them.

    We need to have a TWK reading party in January!

    Liked by 1 person

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