book reviews

The Cruel Prince – Holly Black

Hey guys, welcome back to another shitty review! It’s not even mid-January and I’ve already read a handful of books and that’s something that I’m really impressed by, I’m actually sticking to new resolutions (mostly) and considering last month were I only read two books? New Year New Me, am I right? Anyway enough about me, have you started the year of to a good start and kept to any mundane resolutions you’ve made? (if not that’s totally okay too!)

Anyway, what were we talking about? New year, new me OHH! New review that’s right! DUH.

As you may or may not know, this month for The YA Room we’re reading Holly Black’s latest novel The Cruel Prince and let me just spoil you right now and tell you that I really, really loved it. That will be the only spoiler in this review, so LET’S DIVE RIGHT IN!

I gave The Cruel Prince – which was published by Allen and Unwin early this year – a solid 4.5 stars, I believe! Which is pretty fucking brilliant.

In case you haven’t heard of it yet, let me fill you in! It follows a seventeen (or was it eighteen) year old girl named Jude. And she’s a human. UGH WHAT A CURSE! But it gets worse, she’s forced to live among the fey in faerie-land and let me tell you they are not nice. And of course, because it’s a young adult novel there’s DRAMA and COMPLICATIONS and omgggg it’s done really well.

Here’s the actual blurb (which might be more helpful)

26032825‘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, I can hardly breathe.’

One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The fearsome assassin abducts all three girls and brings them to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed into the royal court. Mocked and tormented for being merely mortal, Jude soon realises that to survive in this treacherous, dangerous, new world, she needs to be as smart, cunning and deceitful as the Fey themselves.

But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan. Jude must take the utmost care.

Not only did this gorgeous new release have fey – which I LOVE – it was also a lot darker than your typical young adult read which I was ready for. Hot Key Books, an imprint of Allen and Unwin, uses this really unique key word system at the back of their books and for The Cruel Prince they selected assassin, betrayal and lover. And boy, those descriptions are everything I crave for in life and made me more intrigued than I already was. Although the ‘assassin’ part threw me I also went in praying to the book gods that it wasn’t another Throne Of Glass. I’m pretty sure my prays were answered.

ANYWAY, here are my thoughts:

I really loved the darkness. I’m constantly frustrated and sick of books that describe fey or fairies as little tiny, precious beings with buns and pink tutus. What happened to fairies that bite? And fairies that only have room for one emotion at a time? So being introduced to a bunch of conceited, self-entitled, dramatic little buttholes honestly made my morning and was extremely refreshing.


Being a YA, of course there were going to be overused tropes, but thankfully, Jude never forgot about the breath she was holding which was mind boggling. But love and heroism, as tropes, did play a significant role among the whole cast of characters.

One aspect of novels that makes me nervous is the world building side of things. So, so often authors create this wonderful world and then they forget the rules of the universe, or they have such a small understanding of the world that the information presented through out a novel is never consistent. Thankfully, Holly Black had not of that. I feel like the Faerie Land she created didn’t have any loopholes or inconsistencies. The entire world and plot felt thoroughly planned out and it really showed. It had the depth needed to keep a reader intrigued, plus THE MAP. Maps are key (get it? It’s a map joke. Because they have keys???? Anyone?) This doesn’t just include the physical land of the world. I loved all the juicy insights to the laws of Fairie-Land, as in how they treat mortals, how their oaths work and how their food affects mortals.

Black provided character development, world building, plot and even showed the beauty of resilience. There were even well-placed comments that made me laugh just a tad. At one, Jude’s sister carries on how in the human world, some humans undergo surgery to modify the shape of their ears. As in, changing the shape to look like an elf ear, or for the sake of this review, a fey ear. And for those of you who might not know, Holly Black herself revealed sometime last year, that she actually went through with this procedure, and she now forever has fey ears – check them out here!

(I’m really sorry if I crushed any of your “is holly black an elf” theories)

But like I mentioned before, there’s still a missing .5 in my review, which I didn’t add for multiple reasons. I found the book slightly predictable. Maybe I just know how writer’s write, or I can sense conflict? Maybe I just read too much young adult? There were only a few parts of The Cruel Prince that caught me off guard, I just would have liked to be taken off guard a bit more. Another reason I didn’t give this a 5/5, is that there was one scene I thought was just a tad too dark for my taste (at least in a YA novel) but that’s all personal opinion.

My Rating:

4.5 splats out of 5!

Overall, I loved this book and I can’t wait to chat with you in our book chat on Monday the 21st! So, if you’re online at 7:30 pm, please come and join us over at The YA Room.

Also if you’ve read The Cruel Prince and loved it as much as I did, you should definitely check out Valentine by Jodi McAlister, a #LoveOzYA novel – also the sequel just came out recently, so defs pick it up and support our aussie authors.

Let me know what you thought of The Cruel Prince in the comments down below, and don’t forget to link me if you’ve posted a review. What other dark young adult books do you think I should read?

Hope you enjoyed my review!


7 thoughts on “The Cruel Prince – Holly Black

  1. I’m still in the process of getting through the book!

    I must say that the “dark and dangerous” elements are my favourite part!

    Since I haven’t finished the novel, I can’t comment on what I actually think.

    Looking forward to finishing 😋

    Liked by 1 person

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