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  • Writer's pictureC.A. Fray

Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

It’s like fighting, except what we’re fighting for is to crawl inside each other’s skin.”

Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ over and over again.

This book surpassed all my expectations. First off, it was deliciously gruesome right from the get-go. As a child, Jude Duarte’s parents are murdered in front of her by her older sister’s real father, then she and her siblings are taken into the faerie lands where they are raised by the elf king’s general (the same guy who killed their parents). The fantastic twist of it is the relationship that Jude has with her “adoptive” father. There is a complicated level of mistrust mixed with love that the author hits with such compelling precision - dare I say the familial relationship was the best part of this book?

The book is also crafted of beautiful, brutal descriptions. The seductive lure of the faerie lands was juxtaposed with the riotous danger that lurked in every corner. Gorgeously, rich prose.

Finally, Jude and Cardan. Firstly, Jude is one of the best female characters I’ve read. She is strong despite her vulnerability, desperate to be powerful in a world that affords her no power or sympathy. She becomes what her environment has made her which is ruthless. Next, Cardan. In a world full of macho characters, I loved that he is a slippery-tongued charming drunk. Jude and Cardan together is a true enemies-to-lovers situation. So much so that it kept me wondering if anything was going to happen between them since the line they walk between hate and lust is so tangible.

Absolutely hooked by this story, the plot twists, and cannot wait to dive into the second.

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