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


Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

Published: January 2, 2018

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Average Goodreads rating: 4.29

Literary Weaponry rating: 3.5

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. 


Well hi there! I think we have all seen this book floating around recently. If you haven’t you may want to check your surroundings because you may, in fact, be living under a rock. Now, usually when there is a super hyped book I look the other way for at least a few months to see what the general consensus from the community is. On this one, I couldn’t help myself. I felt the need. The need to read.

So I did.

This book wasn’t what I was hoping for, folks.

What I Liked

I enjoyed that the Fair Folk couldn’t lie. It added a bit of drama because that meant that if they were trying to not tell someone the truth about something that had to do it in a round about way or leave out certain detail. They could not outright lie but they could bend the truth to meet their needs. It made for some interesting word play here and there.

Nearly all of the characters in The Cruel Prince blurred the lines between good and evil. You’d sit there reading going, “Well, this guy is definitely a twat.” Then you find out he is an ass for a perfectly legitimate reason that is a means to an end. Or, “Oh, this fellow is nice. He seems like a good guy.” Nope! Complete ass hat that puts on a mask to hide his true nature. No one was ever what they appeared to be and I liked that.

What I Didn’t Like

Because of those blurred good/evil lines I ended up actually not liking any of the characters. They were all either selfish, short sighted, cruel, ignorant, or a mix of all of the above. I just couldn’t connect with any of them and while that works for some stories it left this one feeling a little hollow.

I couldn’t see the setting. When reading I love being able to picture where things are taking place in my head easily but there just wasn’t enough description for me to have anything but the vaguest, “Oh, there are trees. It is green. They ride giant frogs.” mental images. We are supposed to be in a magical faerie realm, I’d like to at least know what I’m looking at.

Once Jude (our main character) decides she wants to no longer be walked all over everything becomes too easy for her. Jude decides one day that she is tired of the faeries being cruel to her so she takes action. Suddenly, everything she chooses to do becomes simple and works out in her favor. How convenient is that? Overly convenient, that’s what.


The book was okay but I don’t understand the hype around it. I need a character I can root for in a story like this and there simply wasn’t one. Even the big bad had undertones of sympathy and that just didn’t work for me. The writing itself was dynamic and easy to follow which I appreciated but, overall, while I enjoyed the story it still left me wanting. I’ll probably still pick up the next book in the series but I certainly don’t feel enthusiastic about it.


Find this book on

Goodreads | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Book Depository

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

  1. I loved it especially because no one is totally good or bad so I get why you did not if you need someone to root for. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is one book that really was super hyped! I haven’t read it yet…I’m not dying to read it, but I might get around to it one day. But to be honest the main thing keeping me away is seeing in reviews that there is alot of cruelty/bullying and I just think it would make me waaay to angry. This is a GREAT review, I hope your next read was better 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is a ton of bullying in it. And lying even though they aren’t supposed to be able to lie. The lying ticked me off a great deal because it was petty and that really grinds my gears.
      Also, I must say, my next read was leaps and bounds better and a complete surprise. Itching to write up the review for it, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review! The hype has me put off for a while honestly. I haven’t finished anything by Holly Black (temporarily DNF’d Darkest Part of the Forest), but I’ll get to it eventually. Plus, the word “twat” made my day lol :p

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely agree with this review although I loved the book. Despite its flaws, I’ve never ever ever been this compelled to turn the pages in a long, long time. I enjoyed how she wrote all these flawed characters. I had some issues with the writing because I couldn’t connect to the character at first, but I sort of got over that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She did write some beautifully flawed characters and that is truly not something you see a lot. It was interesting watching them slowly develop over the book because going in I knew that they weren’t what they appeared to be. Maybe that colored my perception of them. I don’t mind rooting for a bad guy but no one seemed to have strong enough conviction one way or the other to warrant it.

      Liked by 1 person

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