Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

Posted November 15, 2019 by Amanda in Reviews / 4 Comments

Review: The Wicked King by Holly BlackThe Wicked King by Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #2
on 2019-01-08
Length: 336 pages
Reviewing Hardcover from My Book Shelf

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.

YOU GOT SOME NERVE HOLLY. Destroying my inner peace like that…in one fell swoop, this book got me turnt. Imma need you to pay for some personal leave so I can figure out how to live my life after finishing this book. And again with the chapter title page illustrations – cute little bits of seaweed, coral, tiny bubbles and a wee dragonfly. Sheโ€™s keeping it whimsical to throw me off. Itโ€™s personal now. ๐Ÿคช ๐Ÿ˜‚

Where we left offโ€ฆ

When we open The Wicked King we pick up five months after the conclusion of The Cruel Prince. Our stalwart protagonist, Jude, is now seneschal to the high king. The advisor, the second, the first mate…or is she? High King Cardan has promised to live under her command for a year and a day. Her will compels the king, leaving him to play the part of king while she runs Faerie. 


We jump right into the intrigues, flying through the game of the spymaster at work at a very quick pace. Jude must be two steps ahead of everyone, must know her opponents and their motives. The only strength, the only ally she has, is herself. I love her arc, how clever and strong she is. (And, call me crazypants, but I love Cardan, too.) 


Jude and Cardan (Judan? Carude?) have some togetherness. And Iโ€™m here for it. A fae king and a mortal girl, who hate each other but donโ€™t? Yes, thank you. The themes of this book are a little darker, lusher, and lustier. The stakes are higher, the schemes are…schemier? With the fickle and changeable alliances forged in Faerie, there is no telling where they will end up. (But Iโ€™m hoping โ€œtogetherโ€ is it.) Cardan really seems to come into his own in this part of the story. He begins the book behaving at the behest of his seneschal, and he ends it a high king with the upper hand.


We also see a new setting – we finally make it to the depths of the Undersea kingdom. My heart loves the Undersea, even if it is cruel. I mean – mermaids AND sushi. Stop it right now. I feel like itโ€™s all an inky navy, purple, and teal, with splashes of pink and pearl. Take me there. Immediately. This isnโ€™t a romantic setting for the storyโ€™s sake, but I love it anyway. 


Can we just talk about how weird Jude and Madocโ€™s relationship is? I have no idea what to do with them. Itโ€™s so complicated. Madoc killed Judeโ€™s parents, but he loves her, might possibly respect her? But also will oppose her if she gets in his way, or in the way of his wars. I do not like him. I hope that he either gets redeemed or shows his real self to be cruel. Iโ€™m tired of flip-flopping on my opinion. Lol. โ€ฆ..glad I got that off my chest.

The End

I canโ€™t with the end. I just canโ€™t. Just rip out my heart and feed it to me, whydoncha. ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Yaโ€™ll, just go read this book so we can talk about the new one, coming out SUPER SOON. I donโ€™t think Iโ€™ll be okay until I read the conclusion, however, I have a stack of Christmas/Holiday books to gobble up before then.

Check out Lillian’s audio review of this book here.

About Holly Black

Holly Blackย 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,ย 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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