Mini Book Reviews: The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King by Holly Black

I’m still behind on book reviews so I’m doing something a little bit different today! I combined both of these books into one post of two mini-reviews. Enjoy! πŸ™‚



Jude was seven 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.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal 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.



Everyone kept telling me I should read The Cruel Prince and for some reason I kept putting it off and, as usual, everyone was right. This is totally a ME type of book. The thing with this book is that I probably should hate it–I should probably be offended at the relationship between the main characters, Jude and Prince Cardan, because it’s NOT a healthy relationship by any means–yet I can’t help totally loving this book. Let me count the reasons why.

  1. The beginning of this book was unexpected despite the summary. It starts out in a modern human world which I didn’t realize was the premise. And the violence starts very early on and is so nonchalant.
  2. These are the cruel fae and I love it. Maybe because I’ve read Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry books I’m used to the crazy, power hungry kind of fae. Of course they are portrayed that way in a ton of other stuff as well, so to see them here is not unexpected, but I do appreciate the way court life is shown. I love the rules that the humans have to live by in order to survive the fae–and even those precautions are no guarantees–a large part of what protects Jude and her sister is her adoptive father’s status.
  3. The pace of this book is great! I immediately wanted to compare this to The City of Brass as far as pacing and the build up to the ending. (And also the ‘OMG WHAT’ of the ending.)
  4. Politics, politics, politics.
  5. Jude is not always a likable character and yet, you want to root for her. She’s both tough as nails and intensely vulnerable.
  6. I loved this book, read it in a day, went out and bought the sequel (thank goodness it had just come out!)




You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.



Like the first book, I read this one straight through in a day. Couldn’t put it down, it was just that gripping. After the way the first book ended there were a ton of things up in the air that needed resolution. And the resolution is not easy (nor is everything really resolved in a permanent way). Every one is dealing with this new situation the best way they can–and for the fae that means fighting for power and master levels of deception since they can not outright lie.

  1. If the pace of the first book was good, this one was relentless. It starts off full of tension and things just go up from there. The stakes are continually raised as alliances are made and fall apart and back stab after back stab happens. There’s just SO MUCH going on in this book.
  2. All of the twists and turns the story takes! Yes, some things you see coming but others are unexpected and really blow you away. Like a magic trick, your attention is focused over here and then suddenly something is revealed from another direction. I love plot twists and they’re done well here.
  3. There is one scene in particular which I was surprised by but can’t talk about the specifics of because that would be spoilers. But my reaction was basically ‘omg are they really….omg they ARE, whaaaaaaat’. I didn’t expect things to go down that way and yet I’m not mad about it. πŸ˜€
  4. More politics! So much more politics!

Overall, I am totally head over heels in love with this series. Both of these books were addictive and I can’t wait for the next one to come out. The Cruel Prince – 4.5/5 stars. The Wicked King – 5/5 stars.

23 thoughts on “Mini Book Reviews: The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King by Holly Black

  1. Realms of My Mind says:

    I haven’t gotten into these, mostly because I’ve read the issues some people have with central relationship (which you yourself flag as unhealthy). Still, it seems to be a keystone YA series right now, so I’ll probably check it out at some point!

  2. Paige @ BookishPaige_ says:

    Ooh I’m probably the only one who thinks The Cruel Prince is way too over hyped than it should be xD

  3. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    So glad you enjoyed this too!! cruel prince was definitely a me-type book too.And I love the cruel fae too. I also liked the politics and jude was a great mc (especially cos she’s not the standard-likeable YA heroine) And I loved the pacing. Wicked king was definitely relentless- which was awesome πŸ˜€ And there were so many twists and turns- I loved it! Fantastic reviews!

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