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Fantasy Friday: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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.

Amazon Link: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)

Author: Holly Black

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

Confession time: I don’t usually like the enemies-to-lovers trope. It can be really problematic, especially when the love interest starts as a bully and does horrible things to the main character. I have avoided books or stopped in the middle when I thought they were too disturbing. But despite my misgivings, I gave this book a try, and I was surprised because it rides that line… and yet.

(It’s okay if they’re enemies because they just happen to be on opposite sides of a conflict, like Romeo & Juliet came from rival families, or a misunderstanding, like Pride & Prejudice. But I don’t like stories where the love interest is just evil and the main character has to redeem them. That’s abuse.)

The romance wasn’t the biggest part of the story because Jude cared more about her survival and her family than any guy. The author was careful to make the prince morally gray instead of fully evil and their relationship was still nebulous by the end, so I waited until further books before I judged it.

I have to say that I actually appreciate it when Fae are not basically humans with magic. They shouldn’t have the same morals or ways of thinking that mortals do. Cardan isn’t living by human ethics and Jude is very aware that he will never see things the same way she does.

It was a great story about Fae politics and intrigue, and how a human could survive despite in their world despite being mortal. I also loved how many different kinds of Fae were represented from Red Caps to rusalka, and all their individual types of magic. The Fae world felt so magical but dangerous. It was also cool to see how it intersected with the human world and the influences that each world had on the other.

There were also lots of twists that I didn’t see coming. It was a fun read and I can’t wait for the next book to read more.

Here is the book in my reading journal:


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.