The Cruel Prince is the first book in The Folk of the Air trilogy by Holly Black.

The start of a thrilling new fantasy series from bestselling author Holly Black about Jude Duarte, seventeen and mortal, who finds herself caught tangled in palace intrigues while trying to win a place in the treacherous High Court of Faerie, where she and her sisters have lived for ten years.


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 Fae 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.

Book Summary

At seven years-old, Jude and Taryn Duarte witnessed the murder of their parents at the hands of Madoc, the biological father of their elder sister, Vivienne. Seeing it as his duty to take in the twin sisters, Madoc raised and trained them in the Courts of Faeries. But living among creatures who are higher, more beautiful, and stronger than her is not at all easy. Jude and Taryn are abused by the Faeries and most of all the youngest prince of Elfhame- Prince Cardan Greenbriar.

That is until, she meets his older brother Dain Greenbriar and seemingly the best among his family. Jude agrees to be one of Dain's spies in exchange for a geas Dain puts on her that protects her against all Elfhame's glamour. The first mission from Dain comes in the form of a crow telling her to go to Hollow Hall and find treason.

When Jude begins her mission, she finds out that Cardan lives with his eldest brother, Balekin, and is beaten for his inability to kill. Cardan hides any signs of the beating the next day during lessons. During this time, Jude forms a kind of bond with Locke only to find it wretched away from her since the faerie "likes a good story."

Finally the coronation of Dain is welcomed in Elfhame; however unpleasant it would be. When it's revealed that Dain is the king-to-be of the Faerie lands, Balekin massacres his family - all except Cardan who wasn't on the stage. Jude finds him, takes him to headquarters of the Court of Shadows and bargains with him that he is to be under her service for a year and a day.

Jude devises a plan to raise Cardan to the throne by Oak - a plan the young prince does not know or agree with.


Main Series Novellas
The Cruel Prince The Lost Sisters
The Wicked King
The Queen of Nothing
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories
Extra content
A Visit to the Impossible Lands
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