The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is a book that has a ton of hype surrounding it. I’m a sucker for hyped books, so I had to know what everyone was talking about. Plus, I had read and enjoyed Holly Black’s other book, White Cat, so I hoped that I would enjoy it. My feelings on this book ended up being mixed, and to be honest, I’m not quite sure I get the hype surrounding it.
Let’s start off with the good stuff, and a good chunk of the good stuff revolves around our protagonist, Jude. She is a little rough around the edges, as she is a human that grew up in Faerie. She dreams of becoming a knight for the High Court of Faerie, and deals with a ton of internal conflict thanks to her upbringing. The passages where she feels conflicted on Madoc, her “father” figure, were interesting and engaging. My favorite part of the book hands down was her adventure plot. I loved the scenes where she gets wrapped up in Faerie politics. I wish we got more scenes of her sneaking around.
Much of the plot revolves around her school life. Some of it was interesting, and relevant to the plot, but it just made the middle drag. The plot picks up at the end when Jude’s adventure plot line comes back into play. Even though I saw the ending coming, I was so invested in last third of the story and could not put it down.
Other things I liked included Jude’s family dynamic and also Prince Cardan’s story arc. I’m very interested to see how he grows as the story progresses. It looks promising. Fingers crossed it goes in an interesting direction.
Aside from Jude and Prince Cardan (and maybe Madoc and Vivi), I thought the other characters could have been more fleshed out. Taryn especially needed more character development. Some of the choices that she makes, I just didn’t understand at all. I sort of feel like the conflict between Jude and Taryn was used for drama’s sake and nothing more. It came off super melodramatic, in like a bad way.
Also, I HATED LOCKE! SO MUCH! Yes, that needed to be in all caps. I can’t go into why exactly, cause SPOILERS. If you’ve read the book, you probably understand. Just know that his whole deal pissed me off so much.
Overall, I enjoyed reading The Cruel Prince. It was a fun read, but not one that blew me away. The hype surrounding the book confuses me a bit. I get that there is an addictive quality to the book and faeries are super trendy right now, but it wasn’t OH MY GOD, AMAZING! It was just okay. This is not a story that is going to stick with me. With that being said, I will be continuing on with the series. It has serious potential to be one of those series that just gets better with each new book.
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
What did you think of The Cruel Prince? Did you think it was worth the hype? Let me know what you thought of the book in the comment section down below.
P.S. I seriously hate Locke so much. I hope he dies in The Wicked King. Also, is it weird that I put the synopsis in the bottom? Do people care whether it’s included or not? Let me know!
Synopsis: 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.