The Cruel Prince By Holly Black, Review

Wednesday, February 23, 2022


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

(I will try not to post spoilers. Read at your own Peril.)
I wanted to hate this book with every fiber of my being you guys. I am normally one that tries to swim against the current. The person who usually does not agree with masses and I like it that way. You can call me a "Reading Rebel" if you must.  However, I read this book by Holly Black because I trust many of my Bookstagram friend's opinions. And in the case of The Cruel Prince, I am so happy I did because I am OBESSESSING! This book came out in 2018 and has been a huge hit on Booktok and Instagram for the last year or so. IT is almost as if someone has resurrected the love of YA Fantasy and this book is right smack in the center of it all. 
The Cruel Prince offers the readers a very STRONG and BOLD female lead character, named Jude. You start the story off with the mass murder of her father and her mother at the hands of someone named Madoc.  Jude and her sisters Taryn and Vivienne witness Madoc killing their parents. The first chapter explains more about their transition from the human world into Elfhame. They then go with the Grand General Madoc as he assumes responsibility over all three girls. Madoc is a faerie who is also the father of Jude's sister Vivienne, whom I thought the book was going to be about. However, the book does not center around the daughter who is actually part magic. It centers around the human girl, Jude. Once I realized the story was about a human girl living in a world of Fae, I knew I was in for a wild ride. The girls are then trained by Madoc as the Fae are trained in battle and other skills. The eldest Vivienne has no interest in learning, but the other two girls were always receptive. Jude wanted to know how the Fae fought and how they lived. She never wanted to be a victim of her circumstance, nor did she ever truly trust her foster father Madoc. IT was as if every day she woke up in Elfhame, surviving to get to the next day. She endures bullying from her peers and other Fae like: Valliran who basically almost kills her, Nicasia who is a jealous fae, and Carden who she despises most of all. The story gets thicker in its plot and it makes you see how the fae are so cold and undependable. 

I loved this book because of Jude's persistence despite how others would feel and react. She never backed down or gave up.  Through her heart break and betrayal of her sister Taryn and Locke she kept moving forward. She did not let that moment define her or stop her from her goal. She wanted power and she wanted to be someone feared. I think she just really wanted to fight for her place in the world she was brought up in and did not want her human existence to define what she was capable of.  I was surprised with the character Carden, as I hated him most of the book. The read was very easy and very engaging. I was not bored for a second reading The Cruel Prince. I think readers who enjoy a good fantasy, with a strong female trope, and a lot of tension, this book is perfect. I finished the book with a huge question mark because it sets you up for the second in the series, The Wicked King.

And without giving too many spoilers I will say that I did order the ENTIRE SERIES! I will be giving away the first book The Cruel Prince in March, in a GIVEAWAY. Be sure to keep an eye out for all of the Giveaway rules and enter. I highly suggest reading this book with Audible if you love to read books and listen to them at the same time. The experience of reading this way kept my attention and it was enjoyable. The narrator Caitlin Kelly really gave Jude life and truly made me feel like I was sitting there in the room with the characters. 

Jude has got to be one of my favorite characters in any YA Series, ever. I am drawn to strong female leads who do not back down easy. Characters who fight for what they believe in and for themselves. I despise weak female characters when situations get hard, and I am so happy to have found a book that offers the readers something more. I'd like to think there is a little Jude in all of us. Someone inside of us that never backs down from a fight, and always pushes forward. This book was worth every second of my time. Bring on the Second! Below Author description is my spoiler review!

                                             *Excuse me while I dive into the world of Fantasy*
                                             (Do not come look for me, I will be here for a while.)

Spoilers below!

My small letters to the characters of The Cruel Prince:

First of all. Locke YOU SUCK. How are you going to play Jude like that? Trick her into letting her guard down. And Taryn...that was your sister. I am still really salty about that entire situation. But that is okay because you were both made for one another. 

Madoc, you raised all three girls and said that you loved them. You basically took care of Taryn and Jude out of obligation. You trained them how to fight. Taryn may not have wanted to learn but Jude she learned every second you spent with her. Jude never forgot what you did to her family and I am still astonished how you could be surprised that she would turn on you the first second she got. You love bloodshed and war. You never changed in all the years they lived with you. Why would Jude want you as High King of Elfhame? You only bring destruction and death.

Vivienne, I get that you hate Elfhame and Magic. I get that you hate the world you were brought into after discovering your father is a blood obsessed Fae. But you still use magic when it suits you and you could have done a better job as an older sister. I am the eldest sister in my family and I know if that had been me I would have done so much more. You could have mastered all that Madoc could have taught you, gained his loyalty, and saved your sisters from this abuse from others. Instead you acted like a teen who was mad at the world, barely there and barely helpful. But I am grateful for your change near the end and how you stepped up for Jude. Took you long enough.  

Carden. Carden. Carden. Carden. Do you love Jude or are you just low key obsessed with her? You treated her like crap and then you actually had to team up with her for the same quest. How can you be so jealous and hateful towards someone and kiss them? You are confusing sir. What was that journal entry about? I will give you this, I like you a lot better than Locke right now but I have my eye on you. Now that Jude tricked you, and you have to maintain the crown for 7 years for Oak. I am curious to see what is next for you and Jude. 

Jude. Wow. You literally took a traumatic event and decided to never let yourself be a victim. You endured so much pain and suffering at the hands of fae, and now you have gained the upperhand. you literally have to stay on your A game for 7 years before you can bring your "brother"  back to take the throne. The hurt you must feel of betrayal from your sister in yet the yearning for reconciliation must be beating inside your thawed heart. You are scared every second of your life but you do not show it on the outside. The grip on the sword made by your father is so tight, I am surpised blood doesn't drip down from it's blade. You became a spy to Dain who also sucked. But you gained the companionship of spies, like the Ghost, The Bomb ( who reminds me of Luna Lovegood), and the Roach. I am hoping that they have your back as the next book begins. I cannot wait to see what else you are capable of. I hope in the second book you are able to have some sort of happiness. 


That's what you get.


A. BookWitch

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