When Jude was seven years old, a strange man came to her house, murdered her parents, and
took her and her siblings with him to a mysterious new land. Now, they live in the High Court of
Faerie, a magical place separate from the mortal world. Unfortunately, due to being human, Jude
and her sister are often treated harshly and discriminated against by the folk that live there. And
there’s no one Jude despises more than Prince Cardan, her main tormentor. All she wants to do is
compete in the Summer Tournament to finally prove herself against him and reach her goals of
becoming a knight. As Jude is offered a life-changing opportunity and becomes more involved in
the affairs of the High Court, she’ll have to test loyalties, lie, trick, and kill. If she succeeds, she
could help her sisters and Faerie. If she fails, her world could crumble before her.
Jude - Jude is one of my favorite main characters I think I’ve ever read. She’s smart, cunning,
and doesn’t go down without a fight. She’s kind when she needs to be, but will raise hell if you
threaten her family or the people she loves. She was also practical and driven. Her two sisters
and family situation greatly influence her behavior/decisions, which is why she can be described
as “morally grey.”
Cardan - Cardan is extremely rude and cruel (hence the title). He has a reputation for being
wicked and always getting his way. Jude absolutely loathes him for various reasons, and her
hatred is definitely warranted. I will say, I loved his character development throughout the book.
I still don’t like him, but I think he can be a redeemable character. One of my favorite things
about this book is the slow-burn between him and Jude.
I’ll preface this by saying I think Holly Black is one of my favorite authors now. 11/10 for the
worldbuilding, as I greatly enjoyed reading about Faerie, Elfhame, and the other kingdoms. The
folk characters were also well-developed and thought out, and I loved her descriptions of the
variety of folk/fey in Faerie. Perhaps the best part of this book, however, is her writing. Holly
Black has such a way with words, which makes for a beautifully crafted, lyrical story that is as
haunting as it is enjoyable. The plot was also wonderful, filled with dramatic twists and reveals. I
loved the ending! In addition, all of the characters feel very real. The only issue I had with this
book is that the beginning was a bit slow, but the pacing is better throughout the rest of the book.
Overall, I would recommend this book to those (specifically teenagers) interested in fantasy. 4/5.
I can’t wait to read the next book!