The Cruel Prince Non-Spoiler ARC Review ft. Lilly @ Lair Of Books

26032825Title: The Cruel Prince (#1)
Series: The Folk of the Air
Author: Holly Black
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Format: ARC Paperback
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Pub. Date: January 2, 2018

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.

***thank you to little brown books for providing an arc***

Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Graphic Scenes


At the age of 7, Jude, her twin sister Taryn, and older sister Vivienne witnessed their parents murdered and were stolen away by Vivienne’s biological father Madoc. All three girls went from living in the human world to Elfhame. 10 years later, Jude and Taryn are trying their hardest to belong in Elfhame, more so Jude where she’s trying to become a Knight. Vivienne could not care less about the place and will forever hold a grudge against her biological father, Madoc. While Jude tries to fit in a world where she is not wanted and obtaining a place in the Court, she has to deal with the cruelest son of the High King, Prince Cardan and his gang of friends. However, as soon as she starts dabbling with the palace and her inner turmoil, secrets start spilling and so does blood. Jude will have to choose her humanity or Faerie.


This will come as a surprise to many of you but this is my first Holly Black book. I have passed her books many many times as a teenager when I spent my time at the library. I am so happy that I finally picked up her book because her writing is phenomenal. She dances with a lot of themes but handles them with grace and eloquence. She knows how to write a rich detailed dark world without feeling like it’s too much. Someone should name her the Queen of Faerie because she definitely knows how to write a world. Holly Black also knows how to write the most complex characters ever. I didn’t know who I was rooting for at one point lol.


Holly Black presents a lot of characters to us in the most complex way. We meet the main character Jude which her story is told from her point of view. Jude the fighter and the one who tries hard to fit in, she doesn’t take crap from anyone especially the son of the High King. She knows exactly what she wants and she will not give up until she has it. She will push and shove and go to deep lengths to obtain her wants. We also meet her twin sister, Taryn, who is the opposite of Jude. Where Jude is rough, Taryn is soft. Where Jude is loud, Taryn is quiet. Where Jude is being a rebel, Taryn is being compliant. Although twins, they differ in many many ways. This is a non-spoiler review, you will have to read the book to know where I’m going with this hehe.

Holly Black gives us an older sister, Vivienne. Vivienne is technically the twins half-sister, they have the same mother and different fathers which is why Vivi is fae. However, to all three they are sisters  no matter what. I love Vivienne’s “don’t mess with me” rebel attitude. She definitely has an older sister syndrome, the protector of them all, the fighter and the rebel. I hope I see more of her in the next book to come.

Cardan, one of the High Kings son, a true douchebag. I always cringed with what he was going to do next but I loved him. There was something about him that kept me intrigued. Cardan has many aspects of him that we learn throughout the book. There was also Locke, lover of stories. He loved stories so much that he would create them, it didn’t matter to him who he was hurting or intertwining with. There are many other important characters that we meet, however I would be here all day. (please read the book)


Overall, I loved this book and I cannot wait for the continuing books in this series. Holly Black knows how to write!!!! She gave me plot twist, surprises, darkness, and an amazing expanded world. Although we meet many characters, she definitely flushes them all out while still keeping the complexity. This isn’t the happy dandy book which I actually tend to love more when it comes to Fantasy. Holly Black really has me wondering what she will come up with in the next books.


cba6d7d1c59b92e5641f2b146efc70f1My twin Lilly @ Lair Of Books also read The Cruel Prince and you can check out her Spoiler-Free Review here! We asked each other the same 5 questions. And while chit chatting about the book through our FaceTime dates, I found that we felt the same and loved The Cruel Prince. Just like me, this was her first time reading a Holly Black book. In asking what was her experience like reading Holly Black for the first time, Lilly responded that she had a great experience. She enjoyed the dark writing, the lush world building and complex characters. Trust me bookish peeps, you should’ve heard her talking about this book, she was really ecstatic! I then asked her who was her favorite character and she responded with Jude! I mean it’s not that hard to love Jude, she’s pretty awesome. We then started talking about fae books and comparing it to other fae books we’ve read, we asked one another what made the world of Elfhame stand out. Lilly responded that the characters in The Cruel Prince were flushed out and there were also many descriptions in the story such as lush food, the laws, the do’s and don’ts of humans in Elfhame, and there was also political intrigue. In Cruel Prince, we meet Vivi who is the main character’s fae sister and opposes the idea of living in Elfhame. We asked one another if given the choice, would you live in the human world as a fae or would you live as a human in the fae world? Here is where Lilly and I started a fit of giggles! Twin said that she would live as a human in the fae world so she can figure out how to become a fae. She would network her way in similar to Jude and get to know the undergrounds of Elfhame. Lilly, you smart. Lastly we asked one another a vey important question. Do we plan on reading any of Holly’s other books? And the answer to that is OF COURSE!! Lilly definitely wants to read The Darkest Part of the Forest as her next Holly Black book.


that is all for today book nerds! have you read the cruel prince or plan on to? what are your thoughts? i would love to chat in the comments!

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23 thoughts on “The Cruel Prince Non-Spoiler ARC Review ft. Lilly @ Lair Of Books

  1. This was so much fun twin! I haven’t seen us this excited about a book since The Bear and the Nightingale & Heartless 😂😂😂 I’m so happy you enjoyed the read and that we are both now OBSESSED with Holly Black 🖤🖤🖤 Carden was definitely very douchey & yet still couldn’t also help but love him haha! Great review twin & now our wait begins for the sequel *le sigh* 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book Gretchen (and I haven’t read her review just yet but I’m glad Lilly did as well! :D) Holly Black is definitely the Queen of Faerie in my mind, I don’t think I’ve come across another author who writes them half as well but then again I haven’t read that many faerie books. I’d highly recommend her other books if you enjoyed this one, I read her Modern Faerie Tales series when I was in high school and loved it, I also think it would be a series that stood the test of time so I’d likely still love it today. 🙂
    Great review, and yes I can’t wait for the second book either! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey girl!!! How the heck are you?! Ahhhh after being gone so long I am super behind on with everyone, but I’m here to catch up 🙂

    So this book first came on my radar when I attended Leigh Bardugo’s book tour for The Language of Thorns… when someone asked her for book recommendations, this was the first book she started gushing about! I definitely want to give it a go soon.

    I love when you and Lilly buddy read 🙂 You guys have such a special bond, it is really awesome to see. Can’t wait to see what you guys read next!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey love! I’m okay and you?! Once I saw the Leigh Bardugo blurbed it, I was like OMG I HAVE TO HAVE THIS!!! Cause of course, it’s Leigh lol. I really hope you enjoy this one. It really was amazing. I feel like Lilly is really my twin lol ❤


  4. Okay, this might be strange but, how have I never heard of Holly Black as an author? Literally, this is the first time I can recall seeing her name, but you have implied above she’s written a lot and people our age must have seen these books around. Oops! I must hunt some of these books down and try them– because The Cruel Prince sounds great!

    I do love me a strong character-building book. Reading the synopsis, I wouldn’t have picked it up without reading this review. Your review has CAPTURED me. I expected some silly romance, but instead, we have intrigue, adventure, and three-dimensional character development/world building. YES.

    I love the blurb at the end about the 5 questions; was this discussion in person or electronically? What did you enjoy most about this buddy read?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes look her up! She is considered the Queen of Faerie to people in the book community lol. Thank you so much for complimenting my review, oddly enough I was worried about it since I just got back to blogging after being gone for so long.

      Everything between Lilly and I was done electronically via FaceTime so it was as if she was in person. The coolest thing about buddy reading with Lilly is that we get to rant with spoilers about the book!

      Liked by 1 person

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