The Cruel Prince- A Book Review

Gianna Ortner-Findlay

More stories from Gianna Ortner-Findlay


Morgan Reese

Photographer Morgan Reese captures the first and second books to the “Folk of Air” trilogy. “I was taken to the land of Faerie,” reviewer Gianna Ortner-Findlay said. “I saw the creatures, and I experienced the fighting, the betrayal, and the love.”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Book Summary

When Jude was seven years old, her parents were murdered in their own home by a mysterious and otherworldly figure, claiming that her rather different older sister Vivienne was his child. In an attempt to save Jude and Taryn (Jude’s twin), Vivienne begged the figure to at least take them too – if they were forced to leave all they’d known they might as well have one another. Begrudgingly, the figure named Madoc obliged her request, and they soon learned he was not a man at all, but rather a supernatural being called a Fae. Upon mounting a horse of preternatural descent, the girls were lead to the Isles of Elfhame, a place of magic and mystery. The girls were taken to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie, where the Faeries of the Isles of Elfhame immediately ostracized the humans that Madoc had brought into their world.

Ten years later, Jude, Taryn, and Vivienne have grown up in the world they were stolen away to. Jude has tried to adapt to her surroundings by trying to best the Fae around her, morphing into another type of sister: a more dangerous one. Taryn, on the other hand, has also adapted to fit her needs, and while her sister prefers fighting, monsters, and swords, she prefers to simply be courted and to just blend in, rather than stand out. Vivienne is obsessed with leaving the Fae world, her resentment to her father Madoc growing with every waking day she spends in Faerie. 

At the same time, the whole Isles are placed in disarray due to the familial disputes of the king and his children. The king is stepping down, and the princes and princesses are subtlety fighting for the throne, saying anything, and doing anything that could ensure their place on the throne. Cardan, the youngest prince, is in a seemingly constant and never-ending feud with one of the human sisters, Jude, and this feud proves to possibly cost them both everything. Will this prince of Fae cost Jude her life, or help her create a new one?

Personal Opinion

The Cruel Prince is the kind of book that makes you forget where you are. Holly Black is a talented writer that has the innate ability to describe fight scenes and passive scenes with the same passion and description. The characters are almost infuriatingly relatable. While there are a few scenes that have no explanation of how they end up where they do, this was made up for in the well-developed characters that are frequent in the book. 

Jude is somewhat inspirational. While she’s irritatingly stubborn in almost everything she does, this trait is also seen in her loyalty to those she loves. She is somewhat of a hypothetical martyr. She’s ready to die for her cause, but she will do everything in her power before submitting to it. Throughout the book, she proves that she is loyal to a fault, and does not expect people to betray her (that are within her family) until she’s proven wrong. I feel that I, despite my pretense of trying to protect myself from getting hurt, often make myself blind to people’s faults in the hope that they won’t hurt me too.

Prince Cardan is another character I hated to love but did love in the end. He’s so vicious that it is unexpected when he does finally show kindness. It creates an effect that kind of startles the reader into seeing another side of him they never knew. People are often just the same. They are not always angry and vicious one-hundred percent of the time, instead, they are often concoctions of these emotions, and their rage is balances by kindness or happiness. I feel that it helps the reader to be able to understand the reasons that Cardan acts the way he does because we all can be guarded.

Overall, I feel that this book was well written and transported me to another place. I was taken to the land of Faerie, and I saw the creatures, and I experienced the fighting, the betrayal, and the love. I feel like a good writer can take you places you’ve never been before, and I can proudly say now that I have been to the Isles of Elfhame. The plot moves quickly, but not so quickly that the reader doesn’t understand what is happening. Everything happens for a reason in this book, so keep a sharp eye for detail. 

This is the first book in a trilogy. The second and third books, The Wicked King and The Queen of Nothing are available for purchase and to read. 

If you have any suggestions for another place of mental transportation, please leave a book suggestion in the comments down below!