The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

I am so excited to finally have some coherent thoughts on this book. Seriously, this book is exciting for so many reasons, and I’ve highlighted some of my favorites reasons on this post with as little spoilers as I could spare…or tried to. I make no promises. Without further ado, let’s talk about this awesome, dark story.


It’s like 50 Shades of Slytherin up in this book.

Seriously, it’s like every single person in this book is a different version of Slytherin and it makes me so happy. Seriously, it’s like the hunger games of Slytherin, like which Slytherin will take down the rest of the Slytherins, which will get what they want and at what cost? Vivi sneaks around, Jude sneaks around, Taryn sneaks around, Madoc has spies, Dain has spies, Cardan’s got secrets and is a total jerk, Baelkin has secrets and is a total jerk. Valerian is pure horror for the sake of being horrific. Everyone in this story is jam-packed with everyone trying to get to what they want at whatever cost they have to pay because who cares as long as they get what they want.

I feel like I’m throwing papers into the air as I speak here.


The Food. All of the food.

There’s food and meals all over this place, and it feels so earthy and I want a fairy-feast. I want to have a fairy-type feast with their berries and foods that make me happy. That’s what I want and you can’t stop me.


Jude. Jude and all of her determination

Jude wants things. Jude wants to be a knight. She wants to be known. She wants to make a name for herself and is willing to do anything to get to it. The amount of determination in this girl is amazing. I mean seriously, her finger was bitten of by one of Madoc’s men and she still stuck around and made sure no one found out. For fear, yes, but still she persisted. Honestly, I’d have been eaten within a day of being with the fairies, because much like Jude, I’d want to be like them and be scared out of my wits but still I’d probably have cracked. However, luckily for this story, Jude Duarte is not like me, she is not me and she kicked some major butt despite being constantly afraid of like…everything! She’s willing to go through hell and back in order to get whatever will get her to the things she wants. Which do involve her helping her sisters. Gaining status, being feared because she’s lived in fear ever since watching her parents get butchered in front of her.


Sisters, siblings, all of the sibling things.

Yes, even the squabbles. I have a thing for sibling relationships in books. I love that Jude and Vivi and Taryn get along as a trio and as duos. Taryn and Jude are best friends, seemingly. They adapted to being in the world of fairies well enough. Vivi hates it, but loves her sisters. Vivi despite her rebellious tendencies tries to be there for her sisters, and takes them out on adventures away from the fae. I like that she still involves her little sisters in her plans. It’s awesome. I am very happy with the sibling depictions in this story. Because they fight like real sisters, and they tease, and they laugh and they’re all for one another which I truly appreciate.

I don’t want to give away spoilers so feel free to talk to me further about this.



I love the fae, I love that there’s a dark fairy theme going on. I love learning about how the fairies sleep, and eat, and study, I like learning about their customs and their ideals. Also, the different physical descriptions of the fairies, yes they have pointy ears but also, awesome furry tails, or wings. The possibilities are endless! I am so happy with this book. I haven’t read a Holly Black book in ages and I remember only being excruciatingly pleased with the world’s she created and this story was no exception. She totally delivered and I am very grateful for it.


Deception and what is going on in this book?? Who’s the ACTUAL Cruel Prince?

Seriously, at first I thought it was Cardan, that the title had to be about Cardan, because the little sh** is well…EVIL. But the more you get into it, the more you see pretty much everyone else is also pretty evil. Baelkin is awful and everyone is awful. Everyone is showing their worse Slytherin sides, but I was so interested in figuring out who was the real villain in this story that before the actual end I seriously started to think the king had no good sons.



I was confused and crazy because I had no idea what was what! Seriously, there came to be a point where I thought I solved everything and felt like SUCH a genius and was like “eyyo, Jude, get on my level cus I figured it out halfway through” and then I was so, so, SO wrong! I apologize, Jude. I truly apologize because I was so awfully wrong and it was like a new, fairy detective novel. Jude has to help figure out how to make sure that Dain gets throned, and she joins the Court of Shadows, and she has to figure out who’s out to kill who, and there’s just so many questions and I wanted to scream because I am nosy and I like having all of the answers. So naturally, I finished the book and was soooo happy.


Book two, I am ready for you.

I am beyond ready for book two because unlike most books with a sequel…this one gave me answers, so now I feel relieved and ready to start the next part of this story without massive anxiety and a journal of questions about what I want to know. So Holly Black, thank you for that.



Finally there’s a book that tackles a real life issue: periods:

Before we leave, we stop by CVS, and I pick up tampons. Every time I buy them, it’s a reminder that while the Folk can look like us, they are a species apart. Even Vivi is a species apart. I divide the package in half and give the other portion to Taryn.

I know what you’re wondering. No, they don’t bleed once a month; yes, they do bleed. Annually. Sometimes less frequently than that. Yes, they do have solutions-padding, mostly- and yes, those solutions suck. Yes, everything about it is embarrassing.

Not going to lie especially when the female protagonist is badass and always on the move I always wonder, do heroines not get their periods? Is it all of the action that they’re constantly facing that makes them menstruate less? I’m just saying this was a great fact to know about the Folk and also in general I like seeing this very normal thing be portrayed. Yes, even if it’s just to reinforce Jude and Taryn’s mortality and not belonging in the world of the Folk despite being brought up by them, and as one of them.


Also, are Jude and Taryn hispanic?

That’s the only real question left for me really. Their last name is Duarte, so I have been wondering since that was brought up…are they hispanic? Because that’s actually pretty cool. They’re still cool regardless but come on!


10/10 recommend this book.

So what do you all think of this story? Did you read the Cruel Prince? What were your thoughts?

12 thoughts on “The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

  1. OMG I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. HOLLY BLACK IS QUEEN! All her fey books are beyond amazing, but I think The Cruel Prince was just a little bit moooore amazing than the others. I fell in love with the world and totally get why Jude loved it. Also how awesome was Jude?! (Totally appreciated the period talk too. Why don’t more fantasy books bring it up!?) And just how nasty and conniving and Slytherin everyone was!? My Slytherin soul was so so pleased. I’m desperate for bk 2 though after that ending. Awk.


    1. RIGHT??? I had almost forgotten how fantastic her books were because it’s been YEARS tbh. So I was like what if it’s not as fantastic as I hope?? What if my tastes have changed and Holly isn’t as fantastic now? So I started it with so much fear tbh. And I’m so glad I read it because YESSSSSS! I loved it. I feel like it wasn’t just a story but also a guidebook, like I learned a lot about the world and was like okay I think I want to go there now I know how to protect myself from mind games. (I’d be dead but still). I’m sor glad you agree with the period thing too, like seriously every other book it’s just action, action, action, where is the REAL stuff people??Okay so I am a Hufflepuff who has a weirdly insane love for Slytherins and I LOVED all the Slytherin fabulousness of everyone because everyone was literally a different version of Slytherin. Like Valerian was the Slytherins are all evil stereotype and everyone else varied between those types of stereotypes and what Slytherins are truly like. Full of ambition and desire and not all of those require murder or domination…not all the time anyways I’m sure. Dude I NEED book two like now! I’m almost sad I read it now because it’s a long wait from here lol


  2. I was excited about this book for like two years. I missed Holly Black so much. How did you feel about the cameos from The Darkest Part of the Forest and The Iron Fae series? I hope those characters come back again.


    1. 😳I feel like I need to re-read, honestly it’s been YEARS since I read the Iron Fae and it felt like there were familiar things but I didn’t really try and piece it together. But ughhh now I gotta go back to TCP and I’ve meant to re-read some of her old stuff. I miss all the awesome dark fairy stories. Holly Black gave me so much amazing intel onto the fae that I’ve always gone back in like memory lane in a weird daze. I needed this book, I did 🙂


      1. I’m so so so excited for The Wicked King. But yeah if you reread the protagonists from her other Fae works all make sort of semi-important named appearances. I love little things like that.

        I’m n love with Cardan even though he’s a jerk. Who’s your favourite?


      2. Oh boy! I do need to re-read, I love the good old stuff too. Wicked King is going to be insane though, I want to see what Cardan is going to do, and how crazy Jude is going to get with everything. This is going to be insane, and evil, and I am hyped already. I kind of really hate the wait.
        I love Cardan, but I think that I like Jude and Vivi most. Taryn seemed like too much of a wishy washy person, where she’d just let things happen so at the end when everything was revealed I stopped liking anything about her.
        So probably, Cardan, Jude, and Vivi, hell even Madoc wasn’t on my hit-list. How did you feel about Taryn’s evil little secret?


      3. I didn’t mind Taryn’s secret. It was kind of terrible but at the same time I’m kind of a Taryn I guess.

        I get that Jude wants to make it on her own. It’s very much an Arya/Sansa sort of things and I’ve always been more behind Sansa. The girl would can stab things and be physically strong is great. I can appreciate that. Sure. But I think there’s something to be said for survival instincts.

        Taryn knows that being with Locke would get her a secure future and she doesn’t want to fight. She wants to play the game and find a happy life. I can respect that. Maybe it sucks that Jude was on the bad end of the deal but Taryn just wants to survive.

        I don’t really like Jude much. I love how determined she is but she enjoys hurting people a little too much for me to trust her.


      4. I like that point actually. I was seeing her more complacent though which is why it bugged me. Plus I was really enjoying that at least, despite their different ways of coping with their situation they seemed to be sticking together all three of them. I liked that they were still, at the end of it all, sisters.
        Like at the end, I kind of felt betrayed too. I kind of suspected that Locke was the guy, but also hoped that it was his thing and that Taryn wasn’t involved / knew if he was playing Jude.

        So I want to see how their relationship changes in Wicked King and how Vivi ends up in our world with Oak.


      5. I hope Vivi is really happy with her girlfriend. I felt so bad that she was trapped in Fae against her will. Jude belongs in Fae more than she does, she doesn’t know anything else.

        Did you see the third book is tentatively called “The Queen of Nothing” ? I don’t like that.


      6. What??? No…but does that mean Jude would potentially take over?? Because no. As great as I think it is to have a super Slytherin MC there, I don’t want her in charge of the fae. It’s one of those things where it goes how it does because it’s traditional…
        Unless Vivi decides to get mad at everything and take over…so many possibilities.

        I agree, I really hope Vivi is happy. I also hope Oak ends well and adjusts properly to being in our world.


      7. I don’t know but it sounds like a) Jude becomes queen or something. Maybe marriage to Cardan? And b) the fae realm is shattered and there’s nothing to be queen of.

        I guess we’ll have a better idea of what that title means after reading The Wicked King.


      8. True, this actually makes waiting for the Wicked King even more horrible because I want to know what’s going to happen, like now.
        I feel like it’ll be a messy realm to take over though.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s