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

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

Plot Summary

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.

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.

Trigger Warnings: Bullying/ Abuse/ Drugs/ Harassment/ Humiliation

My Review

Jude Duarte was taken from her home when she was seven. Her parents were murdered by Madoc, a ruthless Faerie that couldn’t accept that Jude’s mother left him and hid his child from him. Jude is torn between loving her father and hating him at the same time for killing her parents. Madoc, being a Faerie, is calculating and murderous but he loves Jude in his own way. She and her sisters were taken to Elfhame and Jude can’t really adapt to living there. It is a cruel place for a human. She oftens suffers bullying from other Faeries, especially Cardan and his friends. Cardan is a prince, a spoiled, egocentric and high self man who looks at others like they’re nothing. He’s sixth to the throne and probably the meanest Faerie Jude has ever known. Despite being mistreated by him, she can’t help but think how beautiful Cardan is.

“I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.”

The thing that most pleased me in this book is how well Holly Black describes the world and the politics around the Faerie kingdom. Holly can really pull us into the story and provides us with trustworthy descriptions of the settings.  

I loved Jude character. At first I thought she was a scared human that would just bend to others’ will but I was very much mistaken. Yes she was made a fool by others, was mistreated and humiliated but then she rose really high. She’s very intelligent and responds well to stressful situations. Between Cardan and her, jude definitely has the brains. That makes her more dangerous than all the Faeries in Elfhame.

Cardan is the typical bad boy with the good looks, but he hides his weakness well behind sarcastic jokes and a lot of wine. On the inside, he’s an abused teenager with many weak spots.

“If you want my advice,” he says slowly, “love doesn’t grow well, fed on pain. Grant me that I know that at least.”

I loved the twists in this book. When I thought I was discovering something, Holly just threw something else in my face. 

I really enjoyed The Cruel Prince. It’s a fantastic work from Holly Black and I often find myself with an urge to re-read these great series.


“Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.”

“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.”

“So I am to sit here and feed you information,” Cardan says, leaning against a hickory tree. “And you’re to go charm royalty? That seems entirely backward.” I fix him with a look. “I can be charming. I charmed you, didn’t I?” He rolls his eyes. “Do not expect others to share my depraved tastes.”

“Father, I am what you made me. I’ve become your daughter after all.”

“I love my parents’ murderer; I suppose I could love anyone.”

“It’s shocking,” he says, as though he’s giving me some great compliment. “I know humans can lie, but to watch you do it is incredible. Do it again.”

“Go ahead. Insult me.” His eyebrows go up. “I don’t take commands from mortals,” he says with his customary cruel smile. “So you’re going to say something nice? I don’t think so. Faeries can’t lie.”

PLOT: ★★★★★
WRITING: ★★★★★
COVER: ★★★★★
OVERALL: ★★★★★

Did you like this book?

The Folk of the Air Series

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