Audio Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

Posted August 16, 2019 by Lillian in Reviews / 7 Comments

Audio Review: The Wicked King by Holly BlackThe Wicked King by Holly Black
Narrator: Caitlin Kelly
Series: The Folk of the Air #2
Published by Hachette Audio on 2019-01-08
Length: 10hrs and 21mins
Reviewing Audiobook from Audible
Reading Challenges: 2019 Audiobook Challenge, 2019 New Release Challenge

The enchanting and bloodthirsty sequel to the New York Times best-selling novel The Cruel Prince.

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.

I can’t y’all! I can’t even….The Wicked King by Holly Black is the brutal sequel to The Cruel Prince. Every word lives up to its name. The twists and turns, the hate-love-hate relationship, and the machinations of the Fae court left me gutted. I need a bottle of wine or two and several nights to recoup. I also need The Queen of Nothing like yesterday. Argh!!! Let’s recap shall we? If you have not read the first book in this series, there are spoilers ahead to that book. Read at your own risk. View Spoiler » Okay, now you’re caught up.

Jude is one of those characters that I pity. She makes all the wrong decisions for all the right reasons. Rather than trusting those around her she tries to do it all herself. This is her first mistake. Those that she does trust (who are VERY few) aren’t exactly the most trustworthy. That is her second mistake. Taking Cardan’s will….that is her final mistake. Her heart is in the right place, however in fairy human emotions have no place. That is her biggest problem. Her feelings govern her, and she wears her heart on her sleeve. No matter how much she tries not too.

Cardan is the ultimate is-he-trustworthy-or-isn’t-he character I’ve ever read! He is an enigma. He says one thing and does another. Fairies can’t lie, but oh man can they deceive. You never know the meaning behind the truths Cardan speaks. I want to love him (and I do), but do I trust him? I’m still on the fence there.

“Tell me again what you said at the revel,” he says, climbing over me, his body against mine.

“What?” I can barely think.

“That you hate me,” he says, his voice hoarse. “Tell me that you hate me.”

“I hate you,” I say, the words coming out like a caress. I say it again, over and over. A litany. An enchantment. A ward against what I really feel. “I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.”

He kisses me harder.

“I hate you,” I breathe into his mouth. “I hate you so much that sometimes I can’t think of anything else.” 

The tension is real between these two. It bleeds off the pages (or I guess since I listened to it, the words bleed). I found myself fully engrossed in their interactions, trying to read between the lines and pick up on any deception and half-truths. Cardan doesn’t question Jude when she gives an order, and eventually she stops ordering and starts counseling as required by her position. A tenuous trust develops between them and I have to say I loved it!

The plot of this story revolves around the alliance between the sea and land. The sea queen Orlagh features in this book. She is the unknown enemy, and her motives are questionable. What she does however turns my stomach. A normal person would come away crying and with some serious PTSD….I leave it there 😉

Caitlin Kelly is a fantastic narrator. I found myself completely engrossed, unable to tear myself away from the story as she narrated. Her different inflections and tone make it easy to read into what the characters are thinking and feeling, adding more to the story than what’s on paper. 

Overall I really loved The Wicked King! I couldn’t listen fast enough and finished it in two days. That ending though….gah! I need the next book ASAP. I need to know what will happen to Jude and Cardan and Oak. I need to know Taryn’s motives yet again. And I need to know where Madoc is. Y’all I could predict what I think will happen, but I won’t. I did that going into this one, and they all came true. However the second they came true Holly Black pulled the rug out from under me with these crazy plot twists that I did not see coming. So I will not predict this time and let myself be shocked and awed at her brilliance. If you enjoy fantasy and dark romance (if you can call what Jude and Cardan have romance), I highly recommend it!

About Holly Black

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare) and The Darkest Part of the Forest. She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.

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7 responses to “Audio Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

    • It’s so good Carla! I’ll be honest though. The first time I read The Cruel Prince, I DNFed it at 60%. I decided to give it another try and I’m so glad I did. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read!

  1. YESSS! I loved this book so much. Both it, and The Cruel Prince, really exceeded all my expectations for it and consumed me. I’m completely obsessed. Realistically, I’m not great at staying focused on audiobooks BUT I think you’ve just sold me on giving it a go with The Wicked King. Since I’ve already read it, maybe it’d be easier for me to focus on something familiar! Great review.
    Jessica at Booked J recently posted…The V.C. Andrews Experience Tag | (Badly) Describing V.C. Andrews Novels I’ve Never Actually Read All the Way ThroughMy Profile

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