14 Books Like The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Books Like The Cruel Prince

If you found yourself enraptured by the darkly enchanting world of Elfhame in Holly Black’s “The Cruel Prince,” where faeries wield power and intrigue lurks behind every corner, then you’re in for a treat. 

This captivating tale of mortal protagonist Jude navigating the treacherous politics of the faerie realm is a fan-favorite among many bibliophiles. 

Fortunately, if you’re yearning for more stories with a similar storyline, filled with cunning characters, magical realms, and unexpected twists, you’re in luck. 

Below, we have curated a list of some books that echo the mystique and world-building of “The Cruel Prince,” ensuring that the magic of Elfhame never truly fades. 

From courtly intrigues to forbidden romance, these books promise to transport you to worlds where nothing is quite as it seems and danger lurks beneath the surface. 

Let’s go. 

Books Like The Cruel Prince

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This novel is a captivating blend of romance, fantasy, and adventure, introducing readers to the mortal Feyre Archeron who becomes entangled in the faerie lands she despises. After killing a wolf in the woods, her life changes forever when it’s revealed that the animal was actually a faerie. 

As punishment, she is whisked away to a magical land ruled by the mysterious and lethal Tamlin. Throughout the story, Feyre navigates the complexities of love, power, and a looming curse that threatens the faerie realms.

Major Similarities: 

Like “The Cruel Prince,” “A Court of Thorns and Roses” features a strong, resourceful female protagonist who finds herself in a magical, dangerous world of faerie politics and intrigue. Both books offer a rich, immersive experience in a beautifully described faerie realm, complete with complex social hierarchies and dark, romantic undertones. 

The themes of betrayal, power struggles, and the blurred lines between love and hate are prevalent in both stories, appealing to fans of dark, romantic fantasy.

2. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

In “Wicked Saints,” the first book of the Something Dark and Holy series, we dive into a gothic world where a centuries-long war between countries is deeply entwined with magic and religion. 

Nadya, a cleric who can communicate with the gods, finds herself forced to ally with a group of rebels, including a morally ambiguous blood mage, to assassinate the king and end the war. The narrative is rich with themes of faith, power, and the cost of violence, all set in a Slavic-inspired fantasy world.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “The Cruel Prince,” “Wicked Saints” presents a dark and intricate fantasy world where political intrigue and the fight for power are central themes. Both novels feature a strong, young female protagonist who is thrown into a dangerous, magical conflict far larger than themselves. 

The exploration of morally grey characters, complex alliances, and the blend of magic and politics make “Wicked Saints” a compelling read for fans of Holly Black’s work.

3. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

“The Bone Season” introduces us to a dystopian future in 2059 London, where clairvoyants are hunted by a totalitarian government. Paige Mahoney, a powerful dreamwalker, is captured and taken to Oxford, a secret city controlled by a mysterious race called the Rephaim. 

Here, she is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, and must navigate her new life as both prisoner and protégé in a world of complexities and hidden agendas.

Major Similarities: 

Both “The Bone Season” and “The Cruel Prince” immerse readers in a richly built, alternative world where the protagonist must navigate a society that considers them an outcast or enemy. 

The themes of survival, rebellion against oppressive systems, and the unexpected bonds that form in hostile environments are key elements in both stories. 

Additionally, the dynamic between Paige and Warden mirrors the intricate relationships found in “The Cruel Prince,” where alliances and affections are constantly tested.

4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone” is the first book in the Grisha Trilogy, set in the Russian-inspired world of Ravka, which is divided by a swath of darkness called the Shadow Fold, inhabited by monstrous creatures. Alina Starkov, a seemingly ordinary soldier, discovers she possesses a rare power that could be the key to setting her war-torn country free. 

As she trains with the Grishas, Ravka’s magical elite, Alina uncovers dark secrets and faces a daunting choice about her power and the love she harbors for her childhood friend.

Major Similarities: 

“Shadow and Bone” and “The Cruel Prince” both feature young female protagonists who discover they have remarkable abilities and must navigate a dangerous and deceptive political landscape. 

The detailed world-building, the blend of magic and politics, and the exploration of themes such as identity, power, and belonging resonate with readers who appreciate the depth and complexity of Holly Black’s faerie realm.

5. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Set in a brutal, ancient-like world inspired by the Roman Empire, “An Ember in the Ashes” tells the story of Laia, a slave fighting for her family, and Elias, a soldier fighting for his freedom. 

Their destinies intertwine as they both seek to overthrow the oppressive Martial Empire. The story is gripping, with a dual narrative that explores themes of freedom, resistance, and the moral complexities of duty versus desire.

Major Similarities: 

Like “The Cruel Prince,” “An Ember in the Ashes” explores a dark, brutal world where the characters are constantly faced with life-threatening challenges and moral dilemmas. 

Both novels feature strong, determined protagonists who must navigate a hostile environment where alliances can be lethal and enemies may become unexpected allies. The themes of power, survival, and the fight against an oppressive regime are central to both stories, appealing to readers who enjoy a mix of action, intrigue, and complex character dynamics.

6. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

This novel reimagines the classic tale of “One Thousand and One Nights,” where Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, known for taking a new bride each night only to have her executed at dawn. Shahrzad’s motive is revenge for the death of her best friend, one of Khalid’s previous victims. 

However, as she survives night after night, she begins to uncover the truth behind the murders and falls unexpectedly in love with her husband, discovering that the stories of his cruelty hide a deeper sorrow and a curse.

Major Similarities: 

“The Wrath & the Dawn” and “The Cruel Prince” both feature a strong-willed, intelligent female protagonist who enters a dangerous court environment with the intention of enacting vengeance but ends up deeply entangled in romance and political intrigue. 

The themes of love, revenge, and the moral complexities of leadership and loyalty are explored in both novels, appealing to readers who enjoy stories where romance and fantasy are intertwined with darker, more complex narratives.

7. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Set in a world inspired by early modern France, “Serpent & Dove” follows Louise, a witch who has forsaken her magic and heritage to live freely among humans. Her life takes a dramatic turn when she is forced into marriage with Reid, a witch hunter with a devout hatred for all witches. 

As they navigate their forced union, they become entangled in political conspiracies, war between witches and the Church, and an unexpected, dangerous love that could destroy them both.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Serpent & Dove” and “The Cruel Prince” delve into the dynamics of enemies forced into unlikely alliances or relationships, set against a backdrop of magic, intrigue, and societal conflict. 

The novels share a darkly romantic theme, with protagonists who must navigate complex political landscapes and their own evolving feelings. The element of forbidden love, coupled with the struggle between differing moral and societal obligations, resonates strongly across both stories.

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Karou, a young art student in Prague, leads a double life as an errand-girl to a monstrous creature who raised her. She is unknowingly involved in an ancient war between angels and demons. 

When she meets the angel Akiva, truths about her identity and the war come to light, dramatically changing her path and forcing her to confront her heart’s desires and her place in the world.

Major Similarities: 

“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” and “The Cruel Prince” both feature young female protagonists caught between two worlds, each with its own set of dangers and political intrigues. 

The blend of urban and high fantasy elements, the star-crossed lovers trope, and the deep dive into themes of identity, belonging, and the consequences of war are central to both narratives, making them compelling for readers who enjoy stories that mix the magical with the deeply personal.

9. The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

In the world of Renthia, spirits wish to rid the land of humans, and only the chosen Queen has the power to control them. Daleina, a young woman with a noble heart and the desire to protect her homeland, trains to become a candidate for the throne. 

Unlike the typical heroines who are the strongest or the best, Daleina’s journey is about her determination and her understanding of the true nature of service and sacrifice.

Major Similarities:

“The Queen of Blood” and “The Cruel Prince” both immerse readers in a beautifully crafted fantasy world where the natural and the supernatural are in constant conflict. The stories explore themes of power, ambition, and the difficult choices that must be made for the greater good. 

Both Daleina and Jude are characters who rely on their wits and determination rather than innate power, navigating treacherous political landscapes to protect what they love.

10. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

In a world where the cast system divides the population, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed. Kidnapped by the royal guard, she becomes one of the King’s Paper Girls, concubines chosen annually to serve him. 

Lei finds herself drawn to an unexpected romance that becomes a source of strength and rebellion against the oppressive regime. Her journey is one of discovering her own power and fighting for love in a world that seeks to deny her both.

Major Similarities: 

Like “The Cruel Prince,” “Girls of Paper and Fire” presents a dark, lushly imagined world where young women must navigate the dangers of a court that sees them as pawns. Both novels feature a strong, resilient female protagonist who must use her intelligence, courage, and heart to challenge the oppressive systems around her. 

Themes of resistance, the quest for autonomy, and the power of love to disrupt the status quo are central to both stories, offering a compelling narrative for readers interested in fantasy that also tackles deeper societal issues.

11. The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

In “The Red Queen,” Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the elite, possessing Silver blood and god-like superpowers. Mare, a Red, discovers she possesses a deadly power of her own, a rarity that thrusts her into the center of the Silver court. 

Pretending to be a lost Silver princess, Mare becomes engaged in a dangerous game of survival, deceit, and rebellion against a kingdom that sees her as a threat to their power.

Major Similarities: 

Like “The Cruel Prince,” “The Red Queen” features a strong, determined protagonist thrust into a world of intrigue and danger within a royal court. The themes of deception, political intrigue, and the struggle between different social classes are prevalent in both novels. 

Both stories also explore the development of the protagonist’s powers and their role in challenging the existing order.

12. Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

“Ash Princess” tells the story of Theodosia, whose country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, killed before her eyes. Renamed Thora by her captors, she is kept as a trophy of the Kaiser’s victory, enduring years of humiliation and abuse. 

When her last hope of salvation is destroyed, Theodosia decides to reclaim her name, her identity, and her kingdom through cunning and a will of iron.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Ash Princess” and “The Cruel Prince” revolve around young female protagonists who are initially powerless but grow to challenge the cruel rulers of their worlds. 

Themes of survival, the reclaiming of power, and the complexities of court politics and personal revenge are central to both narratives. The journey from victim to leader, using intelligence and political maneuvering, echoes strongly in both books.

13. Furyborn by Claire Legrand

“Furyborn” follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, whose fates are bound by a fear of magic and the power to save or destroy the world. 

Rielle must endure seven trials to prove she is the prophesied Sun Queen, while Eliana, a bounty hunter in a morally gray world, discovers her own mysterious power and the truth behind her role in the world’s salvation or its doom.

Major Similarities: 

“Furyborn” and “The Cruel Prince” share the theme of young women facing incredible trials and dangers in worlds rich with magic and political intrigue. Both stories are told through the perspectives of strong female protagonists who must navigate complex relationships and moral dilemmas. 

The intricate world-building, coupled with the blend of magic, mystery, and a fight for control, makes “Furyborn” resonate with fans of Holly Black’s work.

14. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

“Strange the Dreamer” is about Lazlo Strange, an orphan and a dreamer who has always been fascinated by the lost city of Weep. When an opportunity presents itself for him to journey to the city, he discovers a world of wonders and nightmares, including blue-skinned goddesses and unresolved traumas of the past. 

His journey intertwines with that of Sarai, one of the godspawn struggling with her own powers and the fate of her city.

Major Similarities: 

While “Strange the Dreamer” focuses more on a male protagonist, it shares with “The Cruel Prince” a beautifully crafted fantasy world filled with wonder, dark secrets, and complex political and emotional landscapes. Both books explore themes of identity, belonging, and the impact of past conflicts on the present. 

The lush, descriptive prose and the emphasis on dreams, magic, and the power of stories are appealing to readers who enjoy immersive, fantastical narratives.

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