Review: The Wicked King
SPOILER WARNING: This is book 2 in a series.
Title: The Wicked King (The Folk of Air #2)
Author: Holly Black
Published: 8 January 2019
Format: Hardback (owned), e-audio, and e-book.
Memorable Quote: “Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”
After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her 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.
This review is really hard to write because so much happened, and if I say too much I’ll be spoiling the book.
The Wicked King is nonstop action, faerie politics, tension, feels, and betrayal. It was a difficult read to put down, and the end just left me feeling all the feels (and wanting more). It’s weirdly fantastic how the characters are so horrible, yet lovable at the same time. Although I caught a few twists, nothing prepared me for that ending, even though I feel like I should have known. Holly Black is the Queen of Misdirection and Twists. She knows how to make sure readers, like myself, can’t bring themselves to stop reading. Reading The Wicked King was like eating faerie food, drinking the wine, or getting caught in a dance. I knew things were going to go wrong, but I couldn’t stop myself or look away from the page.
I regret nothing though. Well, I do regret how long it took me to pick up this book!
What I especially loved was how all the characters were written. I’m not sure there is a single moral or ethical character in this cast, but I especially enjoyed Jude and Cardan. They are so alike in regards to making questionable choices in regards to anything and everything, but they are very much individuals who stand out in their own regard. I wanted to cheer them on and separate them at the same time, and I think Jude is just as cruel and wicked as Cardan. She’s just not as upfront about it and tries to be more sneaky, because, as a human, she can be.
The real question….Do I ship it? Jude and Cardan. Cardan and Jude. Nothing about them is a good or healthy idea. And yet….I kinda love it?
I really feel like I can’t write too much without spoiling things, but I will also add that I really liked that there was no true “good” in this book or so far in this series. The chaotic energy is fantastic, and I am super into the fact that no one is really “the good guy”. The plot is so driven by everyone’s desires and how they try to convince themselves that the end will justify the means.
Not my best review by any means, but The Wicked King was a good sequel. There’s no second book slump here. Holly Black really ran with this story and I am equally anxious and excited for the third and final book, Queen of Nothing.