Book review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Source: Purchased

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 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.

I avoided reading The Cruel Prince for the longest time because of the hype, but I finally did it. The main reason that I finally picked this book up was Daniel‘s idea to do a giveaway of The Wicked King, and how could I do a giveaway of book two in a series without reading book one? Anyway. I read it. And it took me a little while to figure out how to rate and review it because I almost felt like I read two different books.

Let me tell you, I struggled through the first half of this book. The pacing felt off and I felt like we’d be teased with a few really exciting pages only to be bored half to death for the next couple chapters. I also didn’t enjoy the constant bullying of humans by the fae. (Not that you’re really supposed to enjoy it, I guess, but it was a lot to handle and it made me really uncomfortable.) And can we talk about Jude for a second? Because Jude is the worst, at least at the beginning of the book. I’ll elaborate.

So, in general, I have no problem with unlikable characters. I don’t need to be best friends with every character I meet. I don’t need them to make all the right decisions or be happy and cute and nice all the time. Characters can and should be angry, conflicted, and rebellious. But Jude? She’s just dumb. She doesn’t understand basic things. She makes the strangest decisions. She contradicts herself constantly.

“Oh yes, this boy is staring at me all the time and I found out that he likes to obsessively write my name over and over again. I guess he must hate me! Yes, that must be it.” — Jude, probably.

I was so annoyed. SO ANNOYED. But then something happened. Once I hit the halfway point of the book, I was so into it. I could hardly put it down! I had to know what happened next. Honestly, five stars for the second half of the book. Maybe two stars for the first half. I can’t say I was all too shocked about the ending, but maybe I’ve just seen too many people talking about this book. I won’t hold that against it.

I wasn’t going to read The Wicked King right away, but now I think I need to buy it immediately.

Have you read The Cruel Prince? Are you excited for The Wicked King? Let’s talk in the comments!

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54 thoughts on “Book review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

  1. jamsu says:

    I ordered The Wicked King few days ago and I can’t wait. Unfortunately someone spoiled it for me in Twitter but I’m still exited to read it. I actually like Jude. It was her sister that I had a problem with.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rayasreads says:

    I know what you mean about the pacing and Jude’s character. She was so frustrating to read about! But I definitely liked The Wicked King a lot more than The Cruel Prince, and although I still did get frustrated with Jude but the frequency was much less in the sequel. Hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gerry@TheBookNookUK says:

    I’m glad you liked this one! I also gave it four stars because I really enjoyed it and found it had a strangely addictive quality despite its flaws (and there were many). For some reason I quite enjoyed that everyone was an a**hole but that might just be me being odd!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. aquapages // eline says:

    I liked Jude, which surprised me, but most likely because she changed towards the ending. I’m so excited to read the wicked king and need to pick it up asap! The book got so much more grotesque than I thought, even being a Holly Black fan who thought I was used to how much she changes things up

    Liked by 1 person

  5. writermeetslife says:

    I’ve avoided this book like the plague, honestly. I feel like, given what you’ve said, this book is definitely not for me. But, I’m glad to hear that someone enjoyed it! Thank you for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. T says:

    I’ve seen rant reviews on this book. Not sure whether or not I want to invest myself into this story, especially if it doesn’t get good until halfway through it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rachel Claire says:

    I haven’t read this book yet for the same reason you were reluctant to. I was worried the hype was overrated. I think I might try it now! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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