The Cruel Prince

By Holly Black,

Book cover of The Cruel Prince

Book description

"Lush, dangerous, a dark jewel of a book . . . intoxicating" - Leigh Bardugo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Six of Crows

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…

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Why read it?

11 authors picked The Cruel Prince as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Jude Duarte, a human girl living in Faerie, is a cold-hearted ball of ambitious rage. Never have I rooted for a character so much.

Although picking fights with the clever and cruel Fair Folk is not pragmatic – on the surface – when the choice is between waiting for a random death on a bully’s whim or fighting back with every weapon at her disposal, Jude will always fight. I may have cheered out loud when she stabbed an enemy who broke into her bedroom and then stuffed his body under her bed until she could bury him. She does…

Holly Black has taken me into the world of fairies—not Disney’s sparkly version of fairies, but a darker world of fairy lore that stems back into our ancient past time and time again.

With this book, I immediately fell in love with the blending of dark magic with a modern, sassy twist. Two human girls are pulled into the fairy world when their parents are murdered, and they are adopted by the killer, who also happens to be a fairy.

Jude, one of the adopted girls, is bullied all through school in this magical land for being human. She must…

Basically, I’d recommend the whole Folk of Air series, but you should start with The Cruel Prince, as they build upon one another.

Jude is the definition of a kick-ass heroine. She takes absolutely no prisoners, even in a setting where she seemingly has less power than those around her. She will fight tooth and nail to get the respect she deserves, and I love that about her. Also, Cardan. Cardan.

I don’t even know what else to say about him without starting a whole different review thread, but specifically, Jude and Cardan’s interactions. Just read it.

From Maxym's list on fantasy with kick-ass heroines.

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

Book cover of Ballad for Jasmine Town

Molly Ringle Author Of Sage and King

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Editor Sociolinguist HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) Good witch

Molly's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A human child raised by the fae is an uncommon thing. But Rafi was such a child.

Now grown, half-fae but mortal, he lingers on the edge of human society in Miryoku, a nearby town sharing a border with fae territory. He doesn’t want to join the human world properly; he just wants to play music with a local cover band and avoid the cruelest members of his fae family.

Then, he meets Roxana, and his world shifts. She’s a human metalworking witch, up for a friendly fling with Rafi before she and her twelve-year-old daughter move away from Miryoku…

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

What is this book about?

A law-abiding metalworking witch and a form-shifting half-fae musician embark on a secret romance, but soon become caught in escalating tensions between fae and humans that threaten their hometown. The second story after the popular Lava Red Feather Blue comes alive in Ballad for Jasmine Town.

The town of Miryoku has ocean views, fragrant jasmine vines, and a thriving arts scene, including a popular nineties cover band. It also sits on the verge, sharing a border with fae territory, a realm of both enchantments and dangers.

Rafi has been unusual all his life: a human born to a fae mother,…


The Cruel Prince is a master class in world-building, and Holly Black does it with flare unlike anyone else I’ve ever read.

Her world is vibrant and unusual and bold, and her characters break with traditional norms – and yet are relatable and lovable all the same.

Cardan and Jude will forever be one of my favorite fantasy couples. 

As a Human in Faerie, Jude Duarte immediately intrigued me. Her differences made her stand out, so from a young age, she learned how to blend in, making her the perfect spy. I loved how smart she was, and how she didn’t let her weaknesses in Faerie define her or hold her back. I already knew I loved her as a character… and then she became a spy.

I loved that she wasn’t fearless. She was terrified of the world she had been raised in, but she didn’t let anyone see that—especially not her enemies. She let everyone underestimate her,…

From Aly's list on young adult for spy lovers.

If you want to read a book with a strong female character, this is the book for you. It’s a fun read with enemies that you find yourself secretly wishing to get together. The ending was something I lived for, making me read the rest of the series, and I have no doubt you’d be interested in staying for the rest of the ride as well.

From Austea's list on falling in love with a villain.

It is so rare to find a novel that lets the female protagonist be power-hungry, vengeful, and unlikeable. I would follow Holly Black’s Jude to the ends of the earth. My heart hammered the entire book: I never knew which way it was going. The Cruel Prince has so many elements I would usually dislike in a book, but in Black’s deft hands it was intoxicating. Everything worked beautifully.

Confession: by the time this book came out, I was no longer a young adult by even the most elastic definition of the term. So I wasn’t the intended audience, but I fell in love with it anyway. What’s not to love? It depicts the world of Faerie perfectly: not gentle or kind but glamorous, cruel, and full of tricks. To survive in such a world, a human girl would need to be fierce indeed. Enter Jude Duarte, a sword-wielding spy who succeeds largely through her own stubbornness and refusal to give in to fear. Even when her plans fail,…

The Cruel Prince has that perfect blend of drama, danger, and destruction that tends to grab my attention. Not only is there the inherent danger of being part of a family that is protecting an heir to the throne, but there is no end to all the scheming by all parties to put themselves on the throne at any cost. Add to that a richly developed setting and culture in the faerie world with powerful beings who seem to delight in violence, and I’m sold. 

From Jodi's list on fantasy featuring drama and danger.

The Cruel Prince is a deliciously dark fae novel. Jude is a human living in fairie land and all she wants to do is belong. Cardan is the youngest prince and despises everything about Jude. Or does he? I love the development of Jude's character and how strong she is despite having Cardan be one of the worst bullies. Jude will not be broken and declares she will become “so much worse” than the fae that torment her. And she does. And it's lovely.

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