The Cruel Prince – Book One in The Folk of Air Book Series
The Folk of Air series (The Cruel Prince, Wicked King and Queen of Nothing) is an intriguing enemy to lover’s romance written by Holly Black. The book has been listed as a favourite bookish romance among many bok readers. It’s a slow burn romance with a strong albeit flawed female character- Jude and a dark, brooding male fae- Caradan
The Cruel Prince
The Cruel Prince is the first book in The Folk of Air book series. The first book follows the story of Jude, along with Taryn (her twin) and Vivi (Vivienne her older sister and a faerie). Three sisters who discover the world of fairies after seeing their parents killed. The murderer (their mother’s previous husband) Madoc, brings them back with him to the fairy world to raise them.
Jude is the main character and a human who lives with the fae in the woods. After being kidnapped to Fairyland with her two sisters, she grows up wanting to be like the wicked fae she lives with.
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 more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
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.
The Cruel Prince Book Review
If you like ACOTAR ( A Court of Thorns and roses) you’ll probably love A Cruel Prince. The Cruel Prince has many similarities to A Court of Thorns and Roses- such as fae, a strong female lead and enemies to lovers’ romance.
This series is incredible and there is so much to love. Jude is an incredibly strong female lead and an absolute badass. I love how she was different from everyone and especially her strong will to get what she wants. We see her grow regardless of all the odds. Jude only gets stronger each page that passes. All of the shenanigans , and lot to make her weak only ends up making her stronger and her resolve to win a place in court resolute.
Jude I loved her as a character. She’s such a complicated person, born fully human and living among the fae in faerie. Jude has been raised in the fey world and no matter what she does she will always be despised for her mortality. Especially Prince Cardan one of the Princes of the Faerie Kingdom.
Unlike most enemies to lovers, Jude and Cardan were actually enemies in this book you could tell.
In adulthood, humans can stay in Faerie if they fall in love and marry (Taryn’s choice). Otherwise, if they show a skill (Jude’s choice—to serve as a knight after proving her fighting ability in the Summer Tournament).
Madoc Jjude’s foster dad her parent’s murderer (who is also her human mum’s ex-husband says Jude can’t compete in the Summer Tournament.
Jude and Cardan torture each other back and forth. One day, he nearly drowns Jude asking her not to participate in the Summer Tournament. But she defies him and trains to be better and win the tournament taking her closer to her goal.
The intrigue in court is perfectly executed. And the world-building of this book was imperfectly beautiful such that the actual construction of the world is a little more vague and mystical.
The main locations of the books have a solid presence, but the actual landscape of Faerie isn’t as concrete, leaving room for the reader’s imagination to fully bring the setting to life. This gives the readers to expand their imagination and take the story where they want to.
Is the cruel Prince Worth Reading?
The cruel prince is definitely worth reading. The book is as magical and whimsical as it could get. Filled with enchantments, schemes, politics, potions, torture and massacres, plot twists, and conniving characters. It is well paced and keeps you turning the pages, that once you start, you don’t want to stop.
You barely know what’s going on. And I enjoyed it. It has every quality of a fairytale story.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Cruel Prince and definitely recommend it to anyone itching for a good, dark fairy tale. My only complaint was that it probably wasn’t dark enough.
- Jude says of the Courts of Faerie, “I know I shouldn’t love it as I do, stolen as I am from the mortal world, my
parents murdered. But I love it all the same” (p. 17). Why does Jude want to belong in Elfhame? Even though
she’s constantly surrounded by creatures that want to kill her, why does she fight so hard to be accepted?
- At the beginning of the story, why do you think Cardan hates Jude? Jude seems to think that Cardan simply
despises humans at first, but is there more to his hatred than what meets the eye?
- Do you think Madoc is a good father? From his perspective, Madoc has done the honorable thing by raising Jude,
Taryn, and Vivi and protecting them in Elfhame, and that he’s owed their loyalty because of it. Would Jude,
Taryn, and Vivi agree? Why or why not?
- On page 31, Jude says, “I live with that fear, let it settle into my bones, and ignore it. If I didn’t pretend not to
be scared, I would hide…. I refuse to do that. I will not do that.” How does Jude’s fear of faeries transform her
character throughout the story?
- When Jude asks Locke why he’s friends with the fey despite their awfulness, Locke responds, “There is a
pleasure in being with them. Taking what we wish, indulging in every terrible thought. There’s safety in being
awful” (p. 101). What do you think he means?
- Why do you think Cardan writes the note on page 140? What does it reveal about his complicated feelings
- Why do you think Taryn betrays Jude? It’s clear Taryn never wanted to hurt Jude out of malice—so why does
she continue to deceive her? Would you forgive your sibling if they did what Taryn did to Jude?
- Throughout the book, Jude makes several drastic choices, like stabbing her own hand for Prince Dain and
slowly poisoning herself. What advice would you give her if you were her friend?
- Do you think gaining power is a good thing? Power in Faerieland would protect Jude, however, her pursuit for it is
often dangerous and challenges her morality. How do you feel about Jude’s obsession with power?