Book Reviews

Cruel Prince: Why the Folk of the Air NEEDS to be on your TBR

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Cruel Prince. The trilogy called Folk of the Air is a young-adult fantasy book that has captivated thousands by its charm. Holly Black, the author, wrote this in 2018 and even after 6 years its still the talk of, well, everywhere – from Booktok and Bookstagram to your local bookstore and coffee shops, you can’t go far without meeting a diehard fan. Sure, you’ve heard of it. But have you read it yet? If not… I’m here to convince you to.

A little bit about the Cruel Prince…

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.

~ Holly Black’s website (the author) –

Politics or Romance?

You jump into this book, thinking the love story will make you obsessed with the series. Nope, it’s Jude (the female protagonist) and her never-ending schemes in the court of Faerie that keep you raptured. While there is time for her story with Cardan, the Prince of Elfhame, to develop, Holly Black doesn’t forget the whole magic of a fantasy world. Think Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Inheritance Cycle… but add a bit of spice. So, essentially, it’s a political fantasy novel with a subplot of romance.

Collage on Cruel Prince

My experience…

Can you believe I read this entire series (trilogy + extra story book) in one weekend? Me neither. But since it was the series to get me out of an 8 month reading slump, I can’t complain. I find this series to be a refreshing blend of fast-paced action and betrayal to keep you on the edge of your seat, with some family drama and plenty of tension, as well as some humour, sweet heart-warming moments and satisfying character development.

More Reasons…

What’s not to love about it? In case you aren’t convinced yet, here are some extra points to help get you on board.

  • It’s diverse – in so many ways.
  • It doesn’t drag on and on about something – straight to the point or not at all.
  • Enemies to lovers to enemies to lovers? What’s not to love?
  • The fanbase is alive and thriving. Cardan and Jude are especially popular on Pinterest (check out my Cruel Prince board with over 370 pins already!)
  • It reflects our societies’ social constructs…
  • I loved trying to keep track of all of the betrayals and who was on what side – it was like a whirlwind of emotions in a good way if that makes sense?
  • One plot twist after another. Each and every one will hit when you Don’t. Expect. It.
  • Character development in relationshipsw? 1000% here. Taryn who?

Read a preview:

Other opinions on the Cruel Prince?

However, some people disagree. I mean, not every book is for everyone, that’s for sure. I reviewed this book here because it fully bewitched me and I just couldn’t put it down. One of the reasons I was silent on this website for so long was because of the lack of finding any worthy books to review – all books here on In a Nutshell are ones I adored at one point or another.

So, want to read others’ thoughts? Here:

Read everyone’s opinions…

Some said:

  • “I find a lot of people struggle to get into the dramatics of TCP, especially with Jude. But you love to hate them. For me getting into a petty headspace really helped.
  • It’s one of my favourite series ever. BUT I think it improves drastically after you get past the ‘school’ bit. The characters are fully fleshed out, the relationship development is amazing even between family members as well. It is a political fantasy with a side order of romance but for me it’s how enemies to lovers should be done.
  • It definitely gets better. I felt like the second and third books were harder to put down.
  • It’s okay to not finish a series you’re not vibing with. Personally, I did not like the Cruel Prince at all which shocked me because I typically like most fantasy romances.
  • Cruel prince is not a romance it’s a political fantasy about Jude’s relationship with her father. The romance is a subplot. It took me a long time to read the first 50% but then I loved it.
  • I liked it but it’s not a romance. And it’s definitely more YA if memory serves me. There is a love story in it and I liked the prince. I actually read through the series pretty quickly and enjoyed it but it’s not one of my favorites.”


Love it or hate it (I suggest you love it) no one can deny that Cruel Prince, Folk of the Air series isn’t iconic. What will I be doing next? Scouring the author’s website for every slightly related book to the World of Elfhame. And believe me, any book to do with the faerie I will devour read! I hope you will give this series a read (you won’t regret it!) and keep an eye out for a flood of new posts hopefully coming soon…