The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is a young adult fantasy fiction novel set in the world of the Fae. The story follows Jude Duarte, a human girl thrown into the world of Faerie after a tragic event as a child. She is accompanied by her twin sister Taryn and their older sister Vivi, who is part Fae. Jude and Taryn are ridiculed throughout the novel for their humanity, and Jude has a strong desire to prove her power and worth to the Faerie. She is motivated by her search for power and it has a huge influence over the decisions she makes within the story. Jude learns that she has the potential to be powerful, so long as she is willing to do whatever is necessary going forward.
I rate this book a 3 out of 5 for its entertaining qualities and compelling storytelling abilities. However, I do think that the most compelling part of the book happened way later than it should have, and it made the pacing of the book slower. I was disappointed by the build up to the climax, because I think that a lot of the events became repetitive, and they established context and points that were already established earlier on. I do think that Black did a great job of tying up loose ends, but in the process of doing so she had to include a lot of extra events and information that was not needed, which slowed down the overall pacing of the book. Black did a great job of capturing the world of Faerie in a way that allowed the readers to feel as though they were actually there with Jude. The world-building at the beginning of the book was easy to follow and helpful for the readers to understand how the Fae worked and the certain ideologies that they held. The characters were complex and had unique backgrounds that explained why they acted the way that they did, and the development of Jude was well thought out and executed. Overall, I think that the book’s greatest weakness was the organization of events and the pacing, however, the worldbuilding and the characters were extremely compelling and made the story easier to appreciate and follow.