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

the cruel prince

5 star

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 370
Release Date: January 2, 2018

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.

The Cruel Prince is one of those rare young adult fantasy novels that delivers on all fronts. The Cruel Prince is full of compelling characters, robust world building, and an intriguing political plot full of twists and turns.

The family dynamic Black created in The Cruel Prince is absolutely fascinating. A definite case of Stockholm syndrome as Jude and her sisters are forced to live among her parents’ murderer. Jude is conniving, resourceful, and anything else she has to be to survive in the cutthroat world of Faerie. On the other hand, Jude’s twin is docile, eager to please, and anything else has to be to blend in as much as possible. I loved how different both twins are despite responding to the same trauma.

What sets The Cruel Prince apart from other young adult fantasy novels is that Black refuses to shy away from the nitty-gritty and nastiness that is required to demonstrate to the reader that Faerie is not a hospitable place for mortals. That, coupled with Jude’s survival skills, and Black’s refusal to force a romance in the story makes The Cruel Prince a young adult fantasy worth recommending.


Have you read The Cruel Prince? What did you think? How excited are you for The Wicked King?

9 thoughts on “The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) – Holly Black

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