Cruel Prince, Holly Black – Book Review

Morning mortals! This year is off to a great start, we’ve already had one review and one TTT post to get us going and here I am with another review! This book is one that had a lot of hype at the end of last year on social media and in the blogosphere. I’m excited that I had the opportunity to read and review The Cruel Prince and share my (spoiler free) opinions with you.

Goodreads 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 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.

Find The Cruel Prince on Goodreads

Did you encounter the hype for this book? Perhaps not, but I certainly did, which is always a dangerous game as you never know if a book is going to live up to your expectations. In my case, this concept was what sold me, I love a story where the fae are involved and where they are certainly not the good guys. What intrigued me was the idea of a human stolen into Faerie who wanted to stay.

I could compare this, in many ways, to Dreams and Shadowsa book with a similar dark faerie theme to it. Where Cruel Prince differs is it feels (quite rightly so given the differing target audiences) much more YA. There are relationships (romantic and otherwise) between characters which feel like key parts of this particular genre.

I wanted to like this, and for the most part I did. I think what threw me most (except for one thing which I can’t talk about because spoilers) was that the dialogue feels oddly stilted. I think this is probably part of the ‘fae are different from humans’ aspect of the story but all the same it feels quite clunky to read at times and that made me enjoy it less. There are also huge plot changing moments caught up in dialogue so if you’re not following completely you can miss them (maybe that’s on me for not having better focus…).

Was this the best book I’ve ever read? I don’t think it was. Was this a solid start to a series? Absolutely. There’s a lot of room for growth in a lot of different directions, which excites me. I’d quite like it if we moved away from the protagonist Jude (who can feel a little too preachy at times) and instead looked at her sisters in more detail, they feel a bit fleeting in this story and it means you don’t always understand their motivations even when their actions shape Jude’s story significantly.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next books in this series because I do believe they will improve. In the meantime I’m going to keep scouting the world for scary gothic faerie books with which to frighten small children.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What say you? This book published yesterday so you might not have read it yet…are you succumbing to the hype? Let me know in the comments below!


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