I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.The Wicked King by Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #2
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Published by Hachette on January 8, 2019
Also by this author: My True Love Gave To Me, The Darkest Part of the Forest, The Cruel Prince, The Modern Faerie Tales: Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside, The Queen of Nothing
Format: ARC (336 pages) • Source: Gift
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.
The first lesson is to make yourself strong.
After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.
When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.
* No spoilers for this book, but there will be spoilers for THE CRUEL PRINCE *
Initial Excitement & Summary
There were so many moments since I finished THE CRUEL PRINCE that I just wished I had this book. It’s funny, because I was often in a reading slump this summer and I kept saying “if I just had THE WICKED KING aka the only book I want to read, I wouldn’t be in this predicament.” Needless to say, I was extremely excited and did not want to wait until January to read this.
After the events of TCP, I was ready to see what the hell was going to happen next. Jude and Cardan had gotten a bit closer, but then she screwed him over by crowning him Prince. Everyone betrayed everyone and Jude ended up as an adviser (meaning she had a spell/charm on Cardan so she could command him to do whatever she wanted him to do) to him as the king. The events of this book start out with the status of their relationship and how Jude has fallen into her position of power. Without getting too much into it, there was a lot of focus around those relationships and Taryn’s upcoming marriage to Locke.
Storytelling, Characters, and Ending
I was so eager to see what was going to happen next, after the way TCP ended! Talk about a cliffhanger. I was eager to see how Jude would grow into her new role and power, because it was something she craved so much. Would there be tension between her and Taryn as she set off to marry Locke, who had tricked Jude too much? Would there be issues between Jude and Cardan after what she did; would he forgive her? All of these questions were answered throughout the slower start of the story. I loved seeing everyone again and honestly – I don’t trust anyone at this point. Jude is SO tricky and many others around her are just as cunning. It’s fascinating because you really end up second-guessing everything.
I still loved Black’s writing and how she described this world. Looking at my review for TCP, I have many of the same feelings about it. The characters and trust issues, the setting descriptions, the twists and turns, the ending… Yes, the ending was exactly how you’d expect it to be – a cliffhanger that makes you want more. I am yet again going to be eagerly awaiting the next book.
I didn’t love this one quite as much as the first book, but that absolutely doesn’t mean this was a bad book. Obviously, you can see the rating. My bigger issue – and this goes for both books so far – is that it takes me a while to get into them. This could mostly be because it automatically takes me WAY longer to get into fantasy books than contemporary books in a general sense. It could also be because Holly Black has a really different, unique, lush? way of writing. I love it, but it might just take more getting used to than other books.
I was also slightly confused about the events at the end, but I honestly think that was just me racing to finish and being too excited. I will probably go back and read the last chapter or two. The ending was a whirlwind in general, which is to be expected!
If you loved THE CRUEL PRINCE, I would be shocked if you didn’t like this one. The writing is just as descriptive and the characters are just as… anti-trustworthy? Overall, with this series, I feel similarly to CARAVAL and LEGENDARY — the first book was a bit better, which colored my rating and expectations, but both books in these series so far are excellent.
Thoughts in a Gif