The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I like faerie stories generally, and Holly Black's are particularly gorgeously told, and this one is no exception. I loved the dark undertones in the book, and I loved the way the main character worked with her limitation, making the best of her situations, which includes the way she played the "game". And, since this is the first in a series, I can't wait to see how it all will play out in the next one.

— Melissa Fox

Holly Black has done a great job world building, taking standard tropes in faerie tales and putting her particular spin on things with "The Cruel Prince," the first in a new series from Black, who is a seasoned writer of lore. 
I stayed intrigued by the story, compelled to continue reading how a mundane-born Jude forges her own way, wields her cunning, ferocity, and spite to  make a place for herself in her stepfather's world. All the while keeping her family safe - or as safe as she thinks she can make them. 

Along with Jude, Black infuses characters with strength, passions, and shortcomings of their own: a faerie-born stepsister who longs for the mundane world; a twin sister who tries desperately to fit in and to love strongly; a stepbrother who is young and innocent of the cunning around him in the faerie world. And the protagonist of the novel, the young prince, who seems not to care for Jude, who pushes and punishes her without relent, is one with whom readers can loathe but still sympathize with - a deft accomplishment on Black's part.

Jude learns the ins and outs, becomes a trained spy, and levels the playing field by using the faeries' words as magically as they manage, and it's the wordplay that Black employs which keeps this book building from one page to the next. 

Can't wait for the next episode in this series, one that I'm sure will be at the top of my list in 2018. 

— Shelly Walston


By #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, the first book in a stunning new series about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue.

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 years old 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.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war 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.

About the Author

Holly Black is the bestselling author of contemporary fantasy novels for teens and children, including Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale and the #1 New York Times bestselling Spiderwick series. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award and the Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award. Holly lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Theo, in a house with a secret library. Her website is

Praise For…

Praise for The Cruel Prince:

A New York Times Bestseller
An IndieBound Bestseller
A Boston Globe Best Book of 2018
An ALA 2019 Children's Notables List Pick

"Black is a master at world-building, conveying integral details without that information ever seeming tedious or encyclopedic, whether you're well versed in faerie or a newcomer to the genre....the experience of reading a novel like this is something like being surrounded by magic."—The New York Times Book Review

"Lush, dangerous, a dark jewel of a book. Black's world is intoxicating, imbued with a relentless sense of peril that kept me riveted through every chapter of Jude's journey. And Jude! She is a heroine to love--brave but pragmatic, utterly human. This delicious story will seduce you and leave you desperate for just one more page."
Leigh Bardugo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom

"I require book two immediately. Holly is the Faerie Queen."—Victoria Aveyard, #1 bestselling author of The Red Queen series

* "[S]pellbinding....Breathtaking set pieces, fully developed supporting characters, and a beguiling, tough-as-nails heroine enhance an intricate, intelligent plot that crescendos to a jaw-dropping third-act twist."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Another fantastic, deeply engaging, and all-consuming work from Black that belongs on all YA shelves."—School Library Journal, starred review

* "Jude, who struggles with a world she both loves and hates and would rather be powerful and safe than good, is a compelling narrator. Whatever a reader is looking for--heart-in-throat action, deadly romance, double-crossing, moral complexity--this is one heck of a ride."—Booklist, starred review

"This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life. Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in."—Kirkus Reviews

* "Black, quite rightly, is the acknowledged queen of faerie lit, and her latest shows her to be at the top of her game, unveiling twists and secrets and bringing her characters vividly to life."—VOYA, starred review

"With complicated characters, a suspenseful plot, and a successful return to the Faerie setting of many of her popular books, Black's latest is sure to enchant fans."—The Horn Book

"Another enthralling story in Black's fantasy catalog."—

Praise for Tithe:
YALSA's Teen Top Ten
ALA Best Book for Young Adults
New York Public Library's "Best Book for the Teenage Reader"

* "A gripping read."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316310277
ISBN-10: 0316310271
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 2nd, 2018
Pages: 384
Language: English
Series: The Folk of the Air