The Cruel Prince ~ A Book Review

The Cruel Prince Book Review

The Cruel Prince ~ A Book Review by Arabella K. Federico
© 2020 Arabella K. Federico All Rights Reserved
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Summary of The Cruel Prince

To begin, The Cruel Prince begins with 7-year old Jude was stolen away from the mortal world by her mother’s bloodthirsty ex-hubby who just happened to be a Faerie. He murdered her mortal parents, forcing her and her two sisters off to Faerie Land-or more officially known as “Faerie”. Therefore, after ten years of living as a mortal girl and being constantly reminded of her decaying mortality in a land full of immortals, Jude has developed some issues. And does she get the mental assistance she so desperately needs in order to attempt to settle her inadequacy in comparison to the immortal, flawless, superior royal Fae folk that are constantly tormenting her? Of course not! 

She gets revenge instead.

 Which-I honestly prefer. Perfect, Marie-Sue cookie cutter characters be damned! No Bella Swan in this book! Jude absolutely loathes her main torturer-Prince Cardan. The often drunken and unskilled Prince who has even worse daddy issues than Jude does. Cardan and his other royal friends are constantly picking on poor Jude. And why, you ask? Because Jude is an inferior mortal girl, of course! Jude doesn’t belong in Faerie, and they make sure she knows it, too. But Jude isn’t going to just sit and take it from them anymore, and her defiance makes things very difficult for her. Not to mention her twin sister, who is an absolute buzz-kill to Jude’s constant rebellion towards the Prince and his cruel friends. Moreover, can Jude continue to defy the prices and princesses of Faerie, or will she find herself in some deep, deep trouble that not even her quick wit can get her out of?

Overview of The Cruel Prince

Firstly, my ridiculous summary aside, I actually really loved this book! For example, there was a lot of hype here-so I went into it a little bit hesitant but I was pleasantly surprised. Jude, the main character, is so beautifully flawed and her fatal flaw is glorious and makes perfect sense given her back round growing up in Faerie. It’s the perfect flaw for her and it drives the entire plot line. 

Everything bad in Jude’s life is of Jude’s making in some way or another.

 One exception being the initial external conflict of Cardan and his jerk friends being very mean to her. She could have just been like her twin sister, silently taking their mistreatment and never fighting back-but after years of doing just that, she won’t do it anymore. And Jude does way more than just resist her bullies, and that’s what I love about her. She’s messed up, but that’s a GOOD THING. That’s the whole point of creating a fully fledged character-they’re suppose to grow! That being said, she just has a long way to go. You can see where her flaws will get her into trouble way before she does-if she ever sees it at all. Once she gets a taste of the “drug” that gets her high, she can’t say no-and always needs more of it. 

Jude Duarte from The Cruel Prince


  • The pacing for the first half of the book wasn’t slow by any means, but it got slightly repetitive with the constant bullying that Jude experiences. The bullying did get progressively worse each time-so I believe that’s what saved the issue for me. Overall, not too bad but I wish it would have gotten to the “goods” of the plot a little bit quicker. The real meat of the story for me was in the latter half of the book. I understand the setup, it makes sense logically, so I’m not harping on it too much. I did just feel that there wasn’t as much stakes in the first three quarters but it did grow so that’s what’s truly important. 
  • I wish the romantic tension came sooner. It took a loooooooooooong time. Don’t get me wrong-this girl loves herself a slow burn, but this one maybe was a little too slow. I wanted it much sooner than it came. 

All novels and written works are subjective. One person’s CON is another person’s PRO

  • There wasn’t a lot of backstory or character development on the other characters. We get to see a little bit of everybody, but that was about it. Jude was very centrally focused on, and duh! She is the main character so of course it’s all about her, but we could have seen a little bit more of some of the secondary characters like Cardan. Again, not a terrible violation, but still something I wished I had more of. 
The Cruel Prince Book Review


  • Descriptions were hella solid and wonderful. Specifically, they weren’t overly done which drives me bonkers sometimes. It was just enough to paint vivid and clear pictures, but not too much where you’re constantly wishing they’d move on. 
  • The POLITICS!!! This book really changed things for me in the sense that I see the strength of well written politics in fiction and how it can really make a story a pop from the masses. As a writer, I’m constantly analyzing a book while I’m enjoying it. For instance, it’s both entertainment and study time for me. So in this book, my eyes were opened up to the power of political tension that I somehow missed in other novels. Not sure why that is, but regardless, this book gave me yet another tool kit for my tool box.

I’ve been dying to write a political-heavy novel since reading this book. Do you have a favorite? Drop the title in the comments.

  • I loved the family dynamics. I think we can all relate to that terribly awkward family dinner at the dinner table. Holly Black illustrates it so well that I’m still having flashbacks to that one Thanksgiving where my grandma got all mad about not passing the dishes to the left….
  • The ending was glorious!! I know I cant give it away, probably the last 25% of the novel was really where it shined the most and I was so invested by that point and even though I think I knew what the ending was going to be perhaps, I didn’t expect what actually happened. When someone like myself who is always guessing the ways stories will end-gets surprised by how it ended, that’s great. Ultimately it ended like I predicted, but definitely not in the way I thought it would. 
  • A super strong, yet massively messed up female lead. Relatable, smart, gutsy, and I loooooved her! We need more main characters like her in YA!! Seriously. I loved Jude!!the

My Final Thoughts on The Cruel Prince

 Firstly, I liked this one, I did. It isn’t like my top 5, but I did enjoy it. Secondly, the world created here was very lovely, and I haven’t read a faerie story in YEARS and it reminded me of why I loved that genre so much. Instead of the usual external bloody battles that I typically read, the battles here were in the promises you don’t intend to keep and the bad deals you shouldn’t be making in order to get what you want, and it was very refreshing. Thirdly, the characters were solid, and that is so extremely important to me. I was excited to read The Wicked King and I did so the moment I finished Cruel Prince, and have had already finished it as I am writing this now. And all I’ve got to say is…Jude Duarte. 

Quotes from the cruel prince:

“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-The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
“Father, I am what you made me. I’ve become your daughter after all.” Jude-The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. oprolevorter

    Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thanks

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