Review: The Cruel Prince

9:03 PM

Author // Holly Black
Publication Date // January 2018
Publisher // Hot Key Books (Allen & Unwin)
Readership // Young Adult
Genre // Fantasy
Australian RRP // $19.99
Rating // ✭✭✭✭✭

I received a copy of The Cruel Prince from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The start of a thrilling new fantasy series from bestselling author Holly Black about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a dangerous web of royal faerie intrigue.

"Lush, dangerous, a dark jewel of a book... intoxicating" - Leigh Bardugo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Six of Crows

Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

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 ...

Dramatic and thrilling fantasy blends seamlessly with enthralling storytelling to create a fully realised and seductive world, brimful of magic and romance.

Let me be upfront with you: The Cruel Prince is incredible!

I adore stories about the fae, but so often in young adult literature, fae stories lack the depth of world building that it takes for me to be truly immersed and invested in the world of the tale. This is not a problem that The Cruel Prince has - the fae court in which Jude is raised is political and dangerous and what I imagine a young adult version of Game of Thrones might look like.

The character are compelling. Jude - and her sisters, Taryn and Vivienne - see their parents murdered in front of them, and are then swept up into the Faerie world where they are raised, but seen as different. Mortal. As Jude grows older, she has invested something of herself in this foreign world and has learnt that she might have to become as ruthless as fae around her if she’s to survive it. There are lovely, complex relationships, made all the more complicated by political ploys by various characters that made it difficult to predict who is actually allied with whom.

There’s action, drama, violence, and betrayal, and all of it is compelling. This is not a book that you will want to stop reading until you find out what’s actually at work. I did not see the ending coming and I was floored.

This is an easy 5 out of 5 stars from me.


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  1. It reminds me a little of A Court of Thorns and Roses but more engaging and with less dominate, aggressive males. I used to steer clear of books with fae and faeries but this sounds incredible Stef and so well written. I haven't read many Holly Black books but super excited to grab a copy. Brilliant review! <3

    1. It is a little like ACOTAR, but very much YA, and Jude runs rings around the male characters in this story (who can be dominant/aggressive, but not to the same extent as ACOTAR). I definitely think it's one of those books you'll either really enjoy, or won't like, but I found it enjoyable. I like not knowing who's going to do what during a story!