Review #31

Title- The Cruel Prince

Author- Holly Black

Rating– 4/5

Genre- YA fantasy

POV- First person, present tense. ONE POV

Trope- Bully romance. Enemies to lovers. Academic setting

Similar Books/Comps– Red Queen, Six of Crows

My emotions-  frustrated in the beginning and nervous I’d hate it with the bully theme. I enjoyed it much more as it progressed


Jade – main character, human
Taryn- twin- human
Vivi – older half-sister
Madoc- step-father
Oriana – step-mother
Oak- little half-brother
King Eldred
Queen Mab
Prince Balekin- eldest merriment (Grackles)
Princess Elowyn- art (Larks)
Prince Dain- warriors (Falcons)
Princess Caelia
Princess Rhyia
Prince Cardan – antagonist/
Valerian- Cardan’s friend
Nicasia- Cardan’s ex
Locke-tricky love interest


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.


Because of the classes and lectures, this novel felt more YA than I assumed it would be.

Page 46- interesting way of giving backstory. I’m unsure how I feel about it.

Page 84- protagonist shows a great want. It’s very clever writing to make a character want something she’s not supposed to want. Side note- The scenes feel very short between the multiple scene breaks within a chapter. Also, I’m interested in all the mythical creatures but the abundance is so high that when their descriptions are mentioned it feels distracting and not relevant to the plot.

Page 104- I have a bunch of ideas of how this might play out and am excited to see if any of them are accurate.

Page 152- there seems to be a bit too many mundane activities, daily life. It’s good to have a baseline, but I’m wanting more exciting events.

Page 168- I feel like her soul is so lost. But I love it.

Page 202- who might propose? Is it who I think it is?

Page 224- what does that mean!!!?!?

Page 246- wow, well THAT just happened.

Sometimes I’m unsure WHY certain people have pledged themselves? There’s been no examples of showing that person is a hero/deserving to give allegiance to. There’s more violence than I expected. But I also want more stronger emotions other than a numb feeling of a play by play detailed descriptions. I want to feel more reactions from Jude. But she may have too much traumatic history and that’s why she’s closing herself off to emotions.

Page 266- everyone is just rotten and cruel. There’s not one good guy right now lol

Idk if I missed something super important but I still don’t understand why Liriope is important and relevant at all. It feels distracting and the pieces are definitely not lining up. There’s too many characters and names to track about that backstory of who is related to who and how. 

Page 270- good point. I was wondering the same thing

Page 277- genius writing and tension

Page 284- Madoc’s perception of her seems to be contradictory compared to earlier.

Page 287 & 289 both have great soul searching quotes. By the way, there’s too many scenes starting with her waking up

Page 333- feels too late to introduce new characters

It seems like the timing of the plot was a little off. Book 2/2 started on page 249/365. But the way it felt seemed more like a midpoint which would’ve put it sooner in story at page 182/365.

Page 339- seems inconsistent. Why does the geas work but other parts of agreement are now void?

Page 351- all the promises and oaths used seem weak and don’t hold up. There needs to be some sort of consequence for breaking an oath to have it feel more weighted.

Page 356- the deeper desire has been shown twice now. I’m interested in the sequel

Page 365- kind of saw that coming get at the same time, pleasantly surprised. Which means I was convinced it wouldn’t happen at all.

Best part-

The last chapter. No spoilers

What I’d change-

The first quarter of this novel was rough for me and I almost quit. I love enemies to lovers but am not a fan of bullying. The first quarter felt more bully and cruel just for spite. As I continued, things made more sense and I could jump on board.

“When the wolves come, she’ll be eaten up in an instant— and wolves always come. It frightens me to think of myself as vulnerable. But I am well on my way to becoming one of the wolves.”

“There’s always a something left to lose.”

Pacing- moderate

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

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