Young Adult Literature

THE CRUEL PRINCE and More: 25 Holly Black Quotes to Make You Swoon

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Namera Tanjeem

Staff Writer

Namera is currently an English student at the University of Cambridge who loves romance novels, Harry Potter, true crime stories, and cats. You can find her over at her blog, The Literary Invertebrate. She can be contacted by email at

There aren’t many YA authors as awesome as Holly Black. Her books tend to be dark, lush, and beautifully worded, and her portrayal of the faerie world is second to none. (There’s a reason Victoria Aveyard calls her the Faerie Queen). And so, here’s an article solely devoted to Holly Black quotes!

25 Holly Black Quotes to Make You Swoon

Her earlier faerie books (Tithe, Valiant, Ironside, and The Darkest Part of the Forest) are definitely great. But it’s her newest series, The Folk of the Air (consisting of last year’s The Cruel Prince and this year’s The Wicked King) which has really cemented her status as the best YA authority on the fae.

Here is a collection of some of the best things she’s written – whether they’re inspirational, relatable, romantic or just plain pretty.

25 Holly Black Quotes

  1. “If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.” —The Cruel Prince 
  2. “If she was going to die, she might as well die sarcastic.” —The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
  3. “I am conscious of my skin, of the sweat beading on my lip, of the slide of my thighs against each other. I am aware of the warmth of his neck beneath my twined fingers, of the prickly brush of his hair and how I want to sink my hands into it. I inhale the scent of him – moss and oakwood and leather. I stare at his treacherous mouth and imagine it on me.” —The Wicked King
  4. “If you hurt me, I wouldn’t cry. I would hurt you back.” —The Cruel Prince 
  5. “What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.” —The Cruel Prince
  6. “I need to stop fantasizing about running away to some other life and start figuring out the one I have.” —The Darkest Part of the Forest
  7. “But now I wonder – what if everyone is pretty much the same and it’s just a thousand small choices that add up to the person you are? No good or evil, no black and white, no inner demons or angels whispering the right answers in our ears like it’s some cosmic SAT test. Just us, hour by hour, minute by minute, day by day, making the best choices we can. The thought is horrifying. If that’s true, then there’s no right choice. There’s only choice.” —Black Heart
  8. “The more powerful you become, the more others will find ways to master you. They’ll do it through those you love and those you hate. They will find the bit and the bridle that fits your mouth and will make you yield.” —Ironside
  9. “That’s what comes of hungering for something; you forget to check if it’s rotten before you gobble it down.” —The Cruel Prince
  10. “But kissing Locke never felt the way that kissing Cardan does, like taking a dare to run over knives, like an adrenaline strike of lightning, like the moment when you’ve swum too far out in the sea and there is no going back, only cold black water closing over your head.” —The Cruel Prince
  11. “I hate you,” I breathe into his mouth. “I hate you so much that sometimes I can’t think of anything else.” —The Wicked King
  12. “I remember what it was to hate him with the whole of my heart, but I’ve remembered too late.” —The Wicked King
  13. “We don’t need to be good. But let’s try to be fair.” —The Cruel Prince
  14. “Ah, coffee. The sweet balm by which we shall accomplish today’s tasks.” —Ironside
  15. “The easiest lies to tell are the ones you want to be true.” —White Cat
  16.  “Life is like licking honey from a thorn.” —Ironside 
  17. “I promise I will repay you…[with] jewels, lies, slips of paper, dried flowers, memories of things long past, useless quotations, idle hands, beads, buttons, and mischief.” —The Coldest Girl in Coldtown 
  18. “Before, I never knew how far I would go. Now I believe I have the answer. I will go as far as there is to go. I will go way too far.” —The Cruel Prince 
  19. “I am tired of caring,” I say. “Why should I?”
    “Because they could kill you!”
    “They better,” I say to her. “Because anything less than that isn’t going to work.” —The Cruel Prince 
  20. “I like all the things that make you monstrous.” —Valiant
  21. “Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin. It rested right on the ground, and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives.” —The Darkest Part of the Forest
  22. “Faeries make up for their inability to lie with a panoply of deceptions and cruelties. Twisted words, pranks, omissions, riddles, scandals, not to mention their revenges upon one another for ancient, half-remembered slights. Storms are less fickle than they are, seas less capricious.” —The Cruel Prince 
  23. “I wonder about death, I who may never know it. It looks much like ecstasy, the way they open their mouths as they drown, the way their fingers dig into your skin. Their eyes are wide and startled and they thrash in your hands as though with an excess of passion.” —Tithe
  24. “I am going to keep on defying you. I am going to shame you with my defiance. You remind me that I am a mere mortal and you are a prince of Faerie. Well, let me remind you that means you have much to lose and I have nothing. You may win in the end, you may ensorcell me and hurt me and humiliate me, but I will make sure you lose everything I can take from you on the way down. I promise you this…this is the least of what I can do.” —The Cruel Prince
  25. “The truth is messy. It’s raw and uncomfortable. You can’t blame people for preferring lies.” —Red Glove 


I’ve tried very, very hard not to show any biases here…but yes, nearly half of these 25 quotes are only from The Cruel Prince. That was me restraining myself, by the way. Really that entire novel is just one big quotable quote.

If you’re new to Holly Black, I hope I’ve made you intrigued enough to pick up one of her books! And if you’re already a fan, I hope you enjoyed the selection. Check out this article for some more YA book quotes!