Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Series: The Folk of the Air #1

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Release Date: January 2, 2018

Format: Hardcover & Audio

Source: Library & Audible

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

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.

While fantasy is not typically my genre of choice, I have found that stories centering on the Fae do catch my attention and the synopsis of The Cruel Prince definitely piqued my interest. Adding to that is the fact that I loved Black’s take on vampires in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (one of the few stand-alone novels that I wished was a series). So I had high hopes going into The Cruel Prince and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint.

Jude is taken from her home to the land of Faerie, along with her two sisters, by the man who murdered her parents. Flash forward 10 years and we learn through Jude that the Fae can be a mean-spirited bunch. Clever, conniving, and sometimes brutal. And that’s just among themselves. When it comes to mortals like Jude, their attitudes range from contempt to outright loathing and cruelty. The high king of Faerie will soon step aside and has several sons who are vying for the throne. Jude, determined to obtain some measure of power, seeks to have a position at Court as a knight to the new king. It’s that desire than leads to her involvement in the political intrigue and behind the scenes scheming and plotting. And that’s where the story really takes off.

“What they don’t realize is this: Yes, they frighten me, but I have always been scared, since the day I got here. I was raised by the man who murdered my parents, reared in a land of monsters. I live with that fear, let it settle into my bones, and ignore it. If I didn’t pretend not to be scared, I would hide under my owl-down coverlets in Madoc’s estate forever. I would lie there and scream until there was nothing left of me.”

Layered and Complex Characters.
Black created a large and varied cast of characters with attention paid to developing not just main character Jude but those around her as well. There wasn’t a single under-utilized or cookie cutter character in sight. Each had a story, a personality, a purpose. And more importantly, each had their own motivations and could be self-serving. My favorite aspect of these characters is the fact that there were no obvious heroes or villains. The Cruel Prince is filled with morally grey characters who are driven by their individual wants and desires. Simply put, they all do bad things. 

“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.” 

Sister/Familial Relationships.
It’s interesting to see the differences in Jude and sisters Taryn and Vivi and how they become more pronounced once in Faerie. There is Jude’s desire for power and a feeling over control, Taryn’s willingness to fit in and play by the rules, and Vivi’s wish to return to the mortal world. Jude is the most conflicted, torn between her wish to fit in and be accepted and her desire for power over those who would do her harm, and this is the catalyst for conflict with each of her sisters at times. 

“If I cannot be better than them, 
I will become so much worse.”

Jude’s relationship with Madoc was one of the most interesting to me. He is the one who stole her away to this land and, while not her father, acted as such and raised her under his protection. He taught her the ways of Faerie, trained her in swordsmanship and strategy, and generally treated her as his daughter. But Jude never forgot his history or his nature and her love for him was always tempered with a measure of fear.

And then there’s Cardan, the eponymous prince. I spent much of the book wanting to claw his eyes out or do other bodily harm, pretty much echoing Jude’s feelings when it came to Cardan. He was condescending, spiteful, and, yes, cruel. But before you start assuming that underneath the hateful exterior that there’s a heart of gold just waiting to be set free, and then unicorns and rainbows abound… yeah, not so fast. Is there more to Cardan than meets the eye? Absolutely. But remember what I said about morally grey characters and no obvious heroes and villains. Just because he may have his own secrets and his own demons, doesn’t mean there’s a swoony nice guy hidden away. Cardan is flawed, acerbic, cynical, and would rather spend his time drinking wine than involving himself in court politics. And yet… well, let’s just say I want to know more.

“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.” 

Political/Palace Intrigue.
Get ready for your head to spin with the ins and outs of Court politics. There are political alliances – and treasons. There are secrets and treachery. There are the dynamics among the various Courts. At any given time I was unsure of who to trust, and how much they could be trusted, until I was finally suspicious of nearly everyone. And with good cause – because they all have their own agendas and there are so many machinations taking place that it feels impossible for Jude to stay one step ahead of the game.

“No matter how careful I am, 
eventually I’ll make another misstep. 
I am weak. 
I am fragile. 
I am mortal.”

Final Thoughts.
I do think The Cruel Prince got off to a slow start and it took a while for it to gather steam. I started off reading a physical copy but, because I was struggling with the pacing, I switched to the audio version. Great decision. The narration is done well and went a long way in helping me get further invested in the plot. Caitlyn Kelly voices each character uniquely and it was always obvious who was speaking. She was able to impart emotion well with Jude and it added a lot to particularly dramatic or emotional scenes.

The Cruel Prince is compelling and quickly drew me in to the story. Even at the start, when I felt the pacing was slow, I was still intrigued by the rich world Holly Black created. Drama and action, politics and intrigue, all of it leading to a thrilling climax that had me on the edge of my seat, totally surprised by the turn of events. If you love tales of the Fae, if you love fantasy, if you love great story telling – pick up The Cruel Prince. You won’t be disappointed.

4.25/5 STARS

Do you plan to read The Cruel Prince?

The Sunday Post #92

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • The Jaguars had a heart-breaking loss to the Patriots last week (I can hear you laughing, Daniela!) so no Superbowl for us this year. That means that next week I'll be cheering on the Eagles to take Tom Brady down a notch (or seven). 

  • But I'm currently sipping on a vanilla chai from Dunkin' Donuts and that kind of makes everything better.

  • Got my hair cut (and the gray roots covered up) yesterday courtesy of a gift card The Husband gave me at Christmas. How great is it to get pampered and not have to pay for it? Heavenly!

  • Elton John released tour dates for his farewell tour and I was excited to see that he'll be coming here (although not until March 2019). I've loved so much of his music over the years. Tiny Dancer has always been one of my favorites. 

Monday, January 22
Review + Giveaway:
Say You'll Remember Me by Katie McGarry

Tuesday, January 23
New Release Blitz:
Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker

Saturday, January 27
The Currently Reading Tag

The Cruel Prince - Holly Black

 Autoboyography - Christina Lauren

Unloved - Katy Regnery

Where the Night Ends - Melissa Toppen

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!

The Currently Reading Tag

I saw Jessica at Reading with Jessica do this tag and decided to play along. 
Tag was originally created by Booktuber Charly Reynhorse.

One or two. And if it's two, the second book is an audio book. For some reason I can read one and listen to one with no problem, but reading more than one at a time is a no-go.

This one is easy. I only listen to an audio book while in the car - usually on my daily commute to/from the office. Otherwise I'm reading my physical/ebook.

Nope. Can't think of why I would.

Typically it's always within reach, no matter where I am. Whether I'm reading a physical book or on my phone/iPad/Kindle, it's always on my person or within reach (desk, purse, etc).

Mostly in the evenings but also whenever I can snag a few minutes. Sometimes during lunch, while waiting at an appointment, sitting in traffic, the bath... I'm always prepared with my book to read whenever/wherever.

Not that long, really. Thirty minutes, maybe an hour. I'm always amazed when I hear someone say "I read the book in one sitting." I can't do that. I get antsy, my attention wanders, I have other things to do... whatever the reason, I rarely sit and read for more than an hour at a time.

If I'm reading a hardcover, the dust jacket comes off and stays on the shelf so it doesn't get worn/damaged. Also, it's just easier to hold the book with the dust jacket off.

I'm guessing this means where do I read?? Let's go with that. Most of my reading is done either in my uber-comfy recliner in the library (although the side effect of said uber-comfy recliner is that I sometimes fall asleep, but I'm not complaining) or in "my corner" of the sofa. (Do you find the people in your home have "their spots" where they sit? I totally do.) One place I never read: the bed. I've never found it comfortable to read in bed.



Not constantly but not just when I start and finish, either. I update after I've read a sizable chunk or after a particularly dramatic/funny/emotional scene and I have something to say about it.

If you want to do the tag, consider yourself tagged! :)


New Release! Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker

If you've been around here for a while you probably know that K.A. Tucker is one of my favorite authors. (Until It Fades was one of my top ten reads of 2017 and I just posted a Throwback Thursday Review of Ten Tiny Breaths last week.) So every new release from her is cause for celebration. And I'm celebrating today because Tucker's latest, Keep Her Safe, just released! I pre-ordered my copy and can't wait to dive in to this one. Check out the synopsis below and see if you agree!

by K.A. Tucker
Atria Books Paperback | On-sale: January 23, 2018 | 448 pages 
ISBN: 9781501133404, $16.00
eBook: 9781501133428, $7.99


National Bestselling Author

Making a Murderer meets Scandal in this story of police corruption, family secrets, and illicit affairs from bestselling author K.A. Tucker, celebrated for her “propulsive plot twists and searing seduction” (USA TODAY).

Noah Marshall has known a privileged and comfortable life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that's been rattling in her closet for years, and succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family's life. Reeling with grief, Noah is forced to carry the burden of this shocking secret.

Gracie Richards wasn't born in a trailer park, but after fourteen years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it's all she knows anymore. At least here people don't care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop, murdered in a drug deal gone wrong. Here, she and her mother are just another family struggling to survive...until a man who clearly doesn't belong shows up on her doorstep.

Despite their differences, Noah and Gracie are searching for answers to the same questions, and together, they set out to uncover the truth about the Austin Police Department's dark and messy past. But the scandal that emerges is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined.

Complex, gritty, sexy, and thrilling, Keep Her Safe solidifies K.A. Tucker's reputation as one of today's most talented new voices in romantic suspense.




K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA TODAY, The Globe and Mail, Suspense Magazine, and Publishers Weekly. She currently resides in a quaint town outside Toronto with her husband and two beautiful girls.

Find K.A. Tucker online:

Review + Giveaway: Say You'll Remember Me by Katie McGarry

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Katie McGarry's new release, SAY YOU'LL REMEMBER ME! I truly loved Drix and Elle's story and I'm excited to be taking part in the release of this heartfelt and emotional novel. See the SYNOPSIS, check out my REVIEW, enjoy the EXCERPT, and don't forget the GIVEAWAY down below!

From critically acclaimed author Katie McGarry, comes SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME—a story of two people from different worlds pushing themselves, and each other, to get what they deserve.

SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME releases on January 30, 2018. Pre-order your copy today!


“Doesn’t matter who did it. Not anymore. I did the time. It’s over.”

When Drix was convicted of a crime–one he didn’t commit–he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the Second Chance Program, the governor’s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.

Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor’s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn’t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.

When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle’s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix’s messy life.

But sometimes love can breach all barriers.

Fighting against a society that can’t imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves–Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence–and each other to finally get what they deserve.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play | B-A-M | Kobo


Add it to your Goodreads Now!

M Y  T H O U G H T S

As the governor’s daughter, Elle lives with constant pressure. The pressure of public scrutiny and the pressure from her parents to always be the best. Their expectations only increase when she agrees to help her father campaign for senator. With every new demand and the push to do better and be better, Elle is buckling under strain.

“I have three minutes until I have to pretend in public 
that the last few minutes didn’t come close to breaking me.” - Elle

Drix was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and is returning home after almost a year away. He’s no longer the guy who got drunk, got high, and used his fists when angry. The problem is, he doesn’t know who he is now or where to go from here. Now the face of the governor’s Second Chance Program, Drix is forced into a role he never wanted.

“What type of man am I going to be? 
That’s the question. 
That’s always the question.” - Drix

Drix and Elle may have come from different worlds but on the inside they are both struggling to find their own way. Elle is chafing at her parent’s control and the knowledge that their love seems to come with strings attached. Drix confessed to a crime he didn’t commit to protect his family, but he’s come home to a new set of problems and an uncertain future. As they spend time together on the campaign trail they both find what they need most: total acceptance. But in the eyes of the world around them, Elle is the pretty and poised media darling and Drix is the guy with a criminal record from the wrong side of the tracks. Neither wants to walk away from the one person with whom they can be their best selves.

It’s no secret that when it comes to contemporary YA, Katie McGarry is at the top of my list. She consistently delivers characters that I come to know and love and stories that have an emotional impact. My heart ached for Elle and it broke for Drix. Elle perfected smiling on the outside while screaming on the inside for the chance to simply be herself. She’s also looking at her parents with new eyes and questioning if they are the people she has always thought them to be. McGarry gave an achingly realistic portrayal of Elle’s perception of her father go from hero worship to the understanding that he was all too human and flawed. In Drix, McGarry created a sensitive, mature young man who was loving and loyal despite a childhood deprived of caring parents or a sense of stability. My heart broke again and again for Drix as he struggled to find his place at home and a new sense of self. While riddled with guilt and pain over his past, he showed who he had become with every selfless decision and every act of redemption.

“It’s an awful place to be, the person responsible for someone else’s happiness, 
because being human, we’re going to fail. And by being human, 
we’ll take the lashing when we never meet expectations.” - Drix

I could rhapsodize about my feelings for these two special characters and how well they supported and comforted and championed one another. And I could go on and on about my love for the richly drawn cast of secondary characters, particularly Drix’s family and friends, that added insight and drama and humor. Instead, I’ll simply tell you that Katie McGarry has once again created an unputdownable story with real heart. 
Say You’ll Remember Me is not to be missed.



Holiday smacks my arm and wrath owns her eyes. “Why didn’t you talk to her?”

I glance around at my family—Axle, Holiday, my best friend, Dominic, and his younger sister, Kellen.  I’m searching for at least one of them to have my back and tell her to step off, but instead they’re curious for the answer. Even Axle’s giving me a questioning gaze, and the last thing my womanizing brother deserves is an explanation from me in my decisions regarding women.

Last time I was home, his reputation was as bad as Dad’s, minus the progeny. There are three siblings in this family, and we have three different birth mothers. Dad not only didn’t know how to use a condom, but he didn’t know how to stay true to one woman.

“I talked to her.”

My younger sister throws her arms out and drops her voice to what I’m assuming is to mimic me, but I don’t sound like an idiot. “You’re good at this.” She resumes her normal tone which is entering high-pitched. “Seriously? That’s all you’ve got? Did you get some sort of amoeba that eats your brain while hanging out in juvie?”

I fold my arms over my chest and wonder if my sister can read pissed-off body language.

“You can still catch the girl and talk to her,” Holiday continues, proving she doesn’t care I’m silently informing her to quit. “Don’t make me chase her for you because that would be embarrassing. Embarrassing for you. Not me. I’ll have to tell her you sent me, and because you’re a wuss, I’ll have to ask her out for you like we’re in sixth grade.”

I find myself missing the middle of nowhere. Trees, bonfires, mosquitos, mud, bears…. company that didn’t talk.

“She’s out of my league.” I haven’t spoken truer words in months. She was beautiful. She was poised. She was a cool breeze after a hot humid rain. She was that first ray of sunshine in the dark woods. She was the smell of honeysuckle in bloom. She was the first damn thing that made me forget who I am and what I’ve gotten myself into over the past year. That means she was out of my league.

Granted, she was out of my league before I was arrested. Everything from her manicured nails, to her brand-name clothes, to her high-end purse, to the way she held herself said she was about a hundred times higher on the social and economic spectrum than me, but the person I was before would have made the play because I was smooth—just like my father.

“She is not out of your league.” Holiday hounds me. “She smiled at you. I know when a girl likes what she sees, and she liked what she saw in you.”

Tension builds in my neck. Yeah, the girl smiled, but she didn’t know what she was smiling at. I’m a pretty fa├žade on the outside. On the inside, I’m a house of cards teetering on a bad foundation. 

Pre-order SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME, register your purchase and you will receive AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER, a novella that features your favorite Pushing the Limits and Thunder Road characters!

From the Pushing the Limits series, Noah, Beth, Isaiah, West and Logan are all grown up. Catch up with your favorite characters as one of them finally says, "I do."

Pigpen, Eli and Addison from the Thunder Road series: Three separate personalities who still needed to find love…and still had someone important to meet.

This is a limited time offer! So hurry! Registration ends on February 3, 2018! You must register your pre-order to receive AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

Katie McGarry Bio: Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, NOWHERE BUT HERE and WALK THE EDGE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

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The Sunday Post #91

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • It's cold, it's warm. It's cold, it's warm. Is this winter crazy or what?

  • I've been reading The Cruel Prince for the last week. While I'm enjoying it, it was moving a little slow. Not sure if it's the lingering reading slump or just a slightly slow start to the book, but I decided to switch to the audio version and it's making all the difference! Holly Black has created such a rich world of Faerie and I'm totally hooked on the story.

  • Our Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Steelers last week and are now in the AFC Championship! Crazy to think we're one game away from the Superbowl!! We're facing the Patriots today and I'll be cheering on the Jags from home. It's exciting how it seems like the whole city is so behind the team. I saw this video this week and thought it was funny. :)

Wednesday, January 17
Top 5 Wednesday:
Forgettable Books

Thursday, January 18
Throwback Thursday Review:
Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Still reading The Cruel Prince...

 The Cruel Prince - Holly Black

Forget Me Not - Willow Winters
Currently free on Amazon!

The Cruel Prince - Holly Black

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!