Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk in the Air #1)


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black // VBCThe Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
Holly Black
Published: Jan. 2, 2018 (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Beth

Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars

Jude is human, but lives in faerie. As such, she is fully neither one. Tormented by faeries, raised by the man who killed her parents, she and her twin sister find different ways to cope. Jude wants to be a knight, and therefore under the protection of one of the powerful faeries within the kingdom. Her sister wants to marry to gain the same thing. When unexpected events cause a rift between the powerful, Jude will find herself lying and deceiving to save what she loves.

This is a book that is beautiful and cruel—just like the fairies depicted within its pages. Nothing is as it seems, and nothing comes easy to a human living in faerie. Black does a great job at developing Jude and her sisters, each of whom are very different. Overall, the characterization within the story was excellent, though I do feel that the relationship between Jude and her nemesis was a bit overblown, to the point that it felt obvious that something was going to happen with those two. The nemesis, on the other hand, proves to be less one-dimensional, and it will be interesting to see how these two develop in the tangled web that gets woven. Throw in Jude’s twin, who believes marriage will fix her woes, and their older sister, who is the only one who is actually part faerie but hates it and wants to leave, and the makings for chaos are ripe just within those few characters.

The setting takes place mostly within the realm of faerie, though there are bits of the human world interspersed. This particular world is full of glitter and beauty–and pain and horrible cruelty besides. Nothing is safe, not even those in power, and often the danger is what may be least expected. The rivers have deadly creatures, fruit leaves one vulnerable, and poisons are numerous and varied. Black’s descriptions of all of these things, as well as the more ordinary (Target, anyone?) work to make the book as great as it is.

The story itself is excellent. I had not read any of Black’s books other than The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, which I loved. And honestly, I wasn’t even aware that it was the same author. However, after reading this, I will be searching out more of her books. She is talented at writing beauty in such a way that exposes the worms underneath, and yet none of it is harsh or overdone. The pacing of the story is perfect, and kept me reading long past my bedtime.

I was highly impressed with The Cruel Prince, and I look forward to reading the second one. This will be one of the rare series that I make sure book two will be on my reading list as soon as it arrives. Jude is working to make herself worse than the faeries could ever be, and I would like to know if she manages to accomplish it without losing her humanity in the process.

Sexual content: none

2 Responses to “Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk in the Air #1)”

  1. Margaret says:

    I loved The Darkest Part of the Forest which is set in the same world. That story takes place in the human world, though.

  2. Joanna says:

    Loved this book! Looking forward to the next one.

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