Book reviews #18: The Cruel Prince – Holly Black

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Hello bookdragons!!

Today I am sharing with you my SPOILERS FREE opinion on one of my 2018 most anticipated release: 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.


With The Cruel Prince, Holly Black gives you a chance to step (and never come back) into a world full of magic and danger, deceit and hate. The world in which Jude got thrown into after her parents’ murder. Imagine yourself being raised by the man who killed your parents, on an island of fairies. They are immortal, pretty immoral, powerful, and you are just a human. They could kill you in a second or force you to do it yourself. This is what Jude knows growing up, this is what forges her. Her hate becomes her anchor in life, her motivation and her way to survive. And it will lead her on a path she could not imagine. Watching Jude evolve and let her fear turn into rage, her hate turn into action, that is what this book is about.

« What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear. »

Jude will not choose what is good or what is right, as you can expect for most heroes in books.  She will be fierce, she will fight with all she has, just to survive and get power. No matter what, no matter who. It was refreshing to have a character like her, so different, so wild and even unforgivable. And I can’t wait to see what she will choose to do in the future!

Another part of this book that made it so worth it is the universe created by Holly Black. It has been a long time since I have read about old European lore: red cap fairies, dancing to the death, poisonous fruits and much more. It was so good to have this image of fairies, with a modern twist! These fairies are enchanting and captivating, as well as deathly and cunning. There is much beauty in the description we have of Elfhame, and you wonder if you too would follow a beautiful and immortal fairy there, entranced by the glitters and the magic, even at the risk of losing your soul!

« Faerie might be beautiful, but its beauty is like a golden stag’s carcass, crawling with maggots beneath his hide, ready to burst. »

Finally, this story is full of dark characters…and cruel princes. Among them, Cardan. Jude’s nemesis. Looking at their relationship evolving through the book was fascinating, as it builds in a violent and unexpected way.

« I am going to keep on defying you. I am going to shame you with my defiance. You remind me that I am a mere mortal and you are a prince of Faerie. Well, let me remind you that means you have much to lose and I have nothing. You may win in the end, you may ensorcell me and hurt me and humiliate me, but I will make sure you lose everything I can take from you on the way down. I promise you this is the least of what I can do. »

In this book, nothing is black or white, no one is good or evil. It is all about power, glamours, and deceit. And cruelty is just a mean to an end. This book is a black diamond standing in a spider web. You can get in… but no promise you will get out!

See you for a (poisoned) cup!


4 réflexions sur “Book reviews #18: The Cruel Prince – Holly Black

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