A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Cruel Prince is the initial volume of a new fantasy series by Holly Black, author of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and many other books. Based on Celtic folklore, it presents an original new take on Faerie and its inhabitants, the fey. The threat of violence permeates the plot, which includes stabbings (fatal and otherwise), poisonings, and deadly magical spells. Swearing is infrequent, with a handful of "hell" and "damn." Sexual content is limited to some flirting and a handful of scenes featuring passionate kissing.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
As THE CRUEL PRINCE opens, mortal twin sisters Jude and Taryn have spent much of their lives in Faerie, but they are not accepted by the magical denizens of the land. Jude wants a position in the High Court, but it seems as if her every move toward that goal is thwarted by Prince Cardan and his dangerously annoying fey friends. When Jude is hired as a spy for one of the top contenders for the crown, she's put on a collision course with Cardan -- one that might prove deadly. Nothing, however, prepares either of them for a stunning act of betrayal that changes everything in the Royal Court.
Is it any good?
Some stories downplay the ruthlessness of Faerie, but this action-packed, twisty tale of magical intrigue makes it clear that members of the fey can be ferociously deadly. The Cruel Prince quickly sets up the conflict between Jude and Cardan, and author Holly Black finds numerous ways to keep the narrative exciting and unpredictable. Readers may foresee that presence of a cliffhanger ending, but most will be caught off guard by other surprises scattered throughout the book. The dialogue is droll, the characters vibrant, and the action near-constant. Only the first volume of a new series, The Cruel Prince is already a solid winner.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Cruel Prince uses Celtic folklore and mythology. What is it about these ancient stories that resonates with modern readers?
Fairies cannot tell lies. Would such a prohibition be a good thing in real life? Are lies ever preferable to the truth?
Prince Cardan and other members of the fey harass Jude and Taryn. What are good strategies for dealing with bullies? Which strategies make things worse?
- Author: Holly Black
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Brothers and Sisters, Great Boy Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publishers: Little, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: January 9, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 15 - 18
- Number of pages: 380
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: May 03, 2020
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love fantasy
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.