Triple C’s Book Review #6: The Cruel Prince

Triple C’s Book Review #6: The Cruel Prince

We’re Triple C: a dynamic trio of juniors (Kavya, Kailyn, and Anoushka), bonded by both a shared passion for literature and the coincidental charm of all having last names starting with the letter C. Our book review promises a diverse and engaging exploration of exciting books, and we invite fellow book lovers to join us on our literary journey!

I have passed by this book every time I’ve walked along the quiet shelves of Barnes and Noble. I have heard my friends gush over the plot and the characters. But for some unknown reason, I have never cared to pick up The Cruel Prince by Holly Black until now. I’m guessing most people have already read it as it is not too hard of a read and is relatively light in content. However, this fantasy fiction novel now stands as one of my top favorites, and the fact that this is a series makes it even more exciting. If I were to record all the books I’ve read in my lifetime, I would guess that the majority of books would fall under the category of fantasy fiction in one shape or another. You can rarely go wrong with it as the imagination of the author can completely take over. The reader is just there for the ride.

The Cruel Prince follows the story of Jude Duarte, a normal human girl who becomes entangled with the realm of the Faries. After watching her parents’ murder as a young child, Jude and her sisters are taken to live in the land among the fey, where Jude grows up combating prejudice built against her for not belonging there. Fey society is not kind to mortals, and Jude is outcasted for her differences, most especially for her mortality. Prince Cardan, the youngest fey prince, especially loves to haunt Jude’s childhood, taking joy from her misery. 

The amount of twists and moments of surprise that this book has taken me down truly makes this read a journey. I cannot even give a good premise of this novel because of the amount of spoilers that will come out of it. However, let’s just say the plot is a lot deeper than just some human girl getting bullied by immortal beings. There are secrets, betrayals, promises, and more, especially as tension is continuously built throughout the story. 

One aspect of this novel that I especially applaud Black for is the creativity of the characters. Jude Duarte, the protagonist of the story, is witty, and, despite having decisions that border between good and selfish, she is still one of my favorite characters. Her schemes and quick thinking never fail to surprise me, and I like this cunning edge that she has as well. I love when authors create characters that truly connect with raw emotions, and Black does just that with Jude. However, as the the author gradually develops the personalities and roles of her characters, she ultimately saves some big surprises for her readers who won’t know what hit them. Especially for Prince Cardan, while he seems to be evil and the obvious antagonist of the story, his character becomes more elevated throughout the story, and without revealing too much, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not a fan of shallow characters who are just there to take up space, but each character in this novel had special weight to them. 

Overall, I highly recommend this novel. I did find the start to be a little slow, but I promise that if you stick with it, this book will be a rollercoaster of a journey for you. I was also really happy to discover that this series is a trilogy, and you will definitely be seeing me reviewing the sequel to this novel. 

Be on the lookout for the next Triple C book review!

 <3 Kay

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kailyn Cho
Kailyn Cho, Senior Staff Writer
Kailyn Cho ('25) is excited to be a Senior Staff Writer for The Echo. She enjoys playing tennis, traveling around the world, and chasing sunsets.