The Cruel Prince by Holly Black | Hello, Sophia is a black sheep again

Posted January 31, 2019 by Sophia / 52 Comments

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black | Hello, Sophia is a black sheep again

CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNING: This book may be unsuitable for some due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence. There may also be content that could be triggering to some.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black | Hello, Sophia is a black sheep againThe Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
Published by Little Brown Books For Young Readers on January 2, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library

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 years old 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.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war 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.

EVERYONE RECOMMENDS THIS BOOK and here I am with well… an unpopular opinion. 😔

There were some parts that I liked about The Cruel Prince, but overall? I felt very meh about my first Holly Black book.

The Cruel Prince is hard to get into.

Holly Black’s world is interestingly written and all, but it takes a lot of time to get into. There is tons of world-building overall, which is great! But there were many times when I wanted to put down the book because something made the book feel slower than it should have been.

I don’t buy/support the whole Cardan/Jude ship.

When enemies to lovers tropes are done right, I am ALL for it. But The Cruel Prince? The whole enemies to lovers trope is a whole new level of fucking bullying and abuse and I am not okay with this ship going down. Maybe this is a personal reason (and maybe a little triggering – come on, peeps, being bullied sucks), but Cardan’s actions throughout the book disgust me. I don’t see how those two can end up together successfully at this point.

Okay, okay, I get it. Cardan is a tragic bean and deserves to be loved. Behind every bully is a story, after all. I still don’t like him. 🤧 And it’s really not an excuse for him to be doing some of the things he does to Jude. That’s… that’s just not okay.

But I don’t buy any of the romances in here. At all.

I did not give a single shit about the romances in The Cruel Prince. Personally, I felt they were superficial or boring, and I honestly skipped over them completely to get to the better parts of the story.

Plus there is the bullying and abuse (I know, they’re Fae! They’re naturally mean), which considering the amount that is done to Jude over the years results in a more, “What the fuck just happened – am I even reading this correctly?”

Jude is deliciously evil.

OMG, I love her so so much. This human does not play any games or beat around the bush in the fae world (nor does she take any bullshit or bullying which is A++). And to top it off, she is notoriously clever in her ways in a world where humans aren’t exactly welcome. I’ll probably read The Wicked King so I can see more of her evilness as she continues to navigate Faerie.

So. Much. Blood.

My evil little heart twirls in delight at this because THERE IS BLOOD. STABBING. SHARP OBJECTS. I am all for evil characters and plots and Holly Black definitely delivered a good amount of darkness in The Cruel Prince. Gahhhh I might read The Wicked King and give the sequel a try.


Owner at Bookwyrming Thoughts
Sophia is a socially awkward Communications major who has a GIF for nearly everything and is sorted in Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. Other than BWT, she can be found at Project Canvas, Stay Bookish Zine, The Arts STL and 60 Seconds Online Magazine.

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52 responses to “The Cruel Prince by Holly Black | Hello, Sophia is a black sheep again

  1. Funny, I gave this book just 1 star with my first try. However, I tried the audiobook and when I read the e-book it went up to 3.5 stars. It takes a very good while to get into the book, but I heard so much more about the wicked king. That the pace is faster and everything. However this is not your typical fantasy novel since there is betrayal literally everywhere and that’s what makes this book so unique I guess. I agree it’s not the best book, but the wicked King is bound to be so much better.

  2. I felt about the same as you about this book. I couldn’t connect to any of the characters and maybe it was all of the hype that made me expect too much going into it, but I was quite disappointed. I might reread it in sometime because it’s been a few months and the hype has sort of died down and I don’t really remember much of the story now, but that’s a red flag in itself – it wasn’t memorable enough for me. 🙈

  3. It’s hard to know how I’ll feel about this book at all or the trilogy mostly because I haven’t read Holly Black since her first YA trilogy and I freakin adored her and worshipped those books!

  4. Bwhahaha Sophia I love unpopular opinion!Honestlymy review for the Wicked King will be released later today but you’ll read that at some point I thought Cardan had better to get broader shoulders. NowI was surprised!
    And my daughter is reading in English since this summer. She borrowed the Cruel Prince two days ago and her first reaction was: will there be a romance? Because he is a bully and cruel. That’s unacceptable! Then two days later and finished: wowit was fantastic! I need the second one!

  5. I completely agree with you about all the romance in Cruel Prince! I read it last year and disliked the whole romance plotlines! Although I do love Holly Blacks books because they’re always including fae that are completely inhuman like this!

    • Oh no. The Cruel Prince seems to be a hit or miss for some, even though a lot of people enjoyed it. I haven’t listened to the audio version, so I can’t say if the narration is worth it, but like many books, if you have more positives about the book than the negative, I would go for it! I’ve heard the sequel is much better, even for those who weren’t huge fans of the first one.

  6. I actually DNFed this one – I liked that it started in the “real” world, but as soon as it switched to the fantasy side and started in with all the made-up names and places, I just couldn’t get into it. I felt lost immediately.

  7. I have heard so many mixed things about this book. Either people love it or hate it. I was thinking about giving it a try but I’m not sure.. Great review!!

  8. Honestly I totally agree with your enemies to lovers part. Usually it’s pretty okay, but this was not. I was very very hateful and I honestly don’t understand how it evolved into a relationship? (though they don’t have one yet and I don’t know if they will have one, but it looks like they will)

    Michelle recently posted: What I read and bought this month
  9. I hope I’m going to like Jude/Cardan ship more in the next book. I mostly just liked the world in The Cruel Prince. I also want something bad to happen to Jude’s sister.

  10. yes Jude really is the star of her storyu, i cant wait foir you to raed the wicked king so you can see her co ntimuaing to try and navifate the fae worlsd.
    for me tho i did rly enkjoy the story + fou8nd it grippimg fron the first page :p

  11. I loved The Cruel Prince, but I definitely agree with a lot of your critiques! I’m really hoping Jude & Cardan’s relationship gets a LOT of development before it becomes canon, because at this point it makes me really uncomfortable no matter how hard everyone seems to ship them; and I had quite a few “wait wtf is this for real” moments with the outrageous cruelty. but Jude really holds her own as a fighter, so I’m still excited to finally start the sequel (because my library hold finally came in!!!)

    Isabelle @ BookwyrmBites recently posted: January Reflection
  12. Clo

    Hmmm I’ve yet to read this one, honestly I adore the cover and the cover for Wicked King *is trash for pretty covers* but when I got it out of my library I let my mum borrow it to read, and she didn’t like it all. Sooooo I found that interesting, I’m still unsure if I’ll pick this up or not.

    Clo recently posted: February Goals
  13. I remember this being a lot darker than I was anticipating — especially the beginning! Jude and Taryn are lucky to be alive at this point. As for the romance, I didn’t see it as an important aspect of the story. I know people ship Cardan and Jude, but I think their relationship is difficult and tumultuous. I don’t think it’s supposed to be romantic or lovely, but strained and mostly nonexistent. They’re both too caught up in their lives to think about love. I don’t know… I really like how it was elaborated on in The Wicked King, and Black really knows how to leave readers wanting more! This series is full of twists and turns — wow. I’m sorry it wasn’t a better fit for you! I hope your next read is better. 🙂

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

    Lindsi recently posted: State of the ARC [8]
  14. I totally agree with your opinion on the relationships. They are dysfunctional and not good for the people involved at all. I do like how the dysfunctional-ity of the relationships represents the horrid nature of the fey world. What keeps me reading this series is my curiosity on how such broken people will bring order to this dysfunctional, chaotic world.

    Thanks for your honest review with your “unpopular” opinion. I enjoyed reading your take on TCP 🙂

    Crystal @ Lost in Storyland recently posted: New-to-Me Authors That I Read and Loved In 2018
  15. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this review Soph. This is such a hyped book and I’ve been putting off reading it for exactly that reason. The romance sounds messy and this is the first review I’ve read that’s mentioned what sounds like abuse of the love interest. I don’t care what he’s been through, still no right to abuse a partner or play games. That alone has turned me off this one I can’t get on board with that. I’ll still read it eventually but not any time soon. Thank you for such an honest review Soph, really enjoyed it!

    Kelly recently posted: The Wicker King
  16. I like seeing reviews that are a little against the grain since it’s nice to see other viewpoints, and in this case while I want to try Holly Black and I love the idea of the world building, I do NOT like the sound of the bullying/ abuse stuff- I get that they’re faeries and and are mean and stuff, but I can see it easily being too much. So I will definitely go into this expecting not to like anybody lol. Although at least Jude stands up for herself, sounds like. That’s something.

  17. I loved the Cruel Prince. Though now thinking back to it I have already forgotten most of what happened?
    And normally I don’t really like the bully and mc love thingy going on here, but I think because Jude does just as much questionable things and she actually admires that I’m kinda ok with it? Which is a really weird feeling for me …
    I’m so excited for The Wicked King. And yes, Jude is amazing and I love how she uses her humanness to her advantage in a world where it should be a disadvantage