[REVIEW] The Wicked King by Holly Black

img_8999Title: The Wicked King
Series: The Folk of The Air (Book 2)
Author: Holly Black
Release Date: 8th January 2019
Publisher: Hot Key
My Rating: 5 Stars!

“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”


Does anyone know that GIF of Captain Holt shouting ‘HOT DAMN!’? Yeah? Well that’s me about this me. HOLY CRAP, was this worth the wait! Holly took this book new places, places I did not expect at ALL. This book was full of politics and angst. I finished it yesterday and I still don’t feel like I can form an sort of cohesive review, but you all need to know how great this is, so heck I’m going to try!

I was one of the huge number of people who really fell in love with The Cruel Prince at the beginning of last year, and with them (excluding those pesky US bloggers who got ARCs… I’m still bitter) I waited a full year to get me hands on the sequel. Holly Black was one of my favourite authors as a child, I loved her Spiderwick Chronicles so much and endlessly read it, so the fact at she had developed and is now writing some of my favourite YA makes me super happy. She’s taken all of that faerie goodness and created this beautiful, yet terrifying world full of politics and betrayal. All of that development from the first book carried wonderfully through to this next book where Black developed even further.

Throughout the first book, the Undersea and it’s evil queen Orlagh is referred to often but it’s only in The Wicked King that we visit this place first hand and meet the fabled queen. The Undersea was like Atlantica from The Little Mermaid turned on its head and made into something of nightmare. Queen Orlagh was beautifully described and thrillingly conniving. The exploration of this world was a real asset to this book and really advanced the world.

One of the big things in this book that I loved was the development of the characters. The first book focused on the lead up to putting Jude and Cardan in a position of power, but this second book flips that power dynamic on its head and focuses on Jude’s struggle to retain power and Cardan’s struggle to accept that he no longer has power over Jude. This completely changes their relationship, especially with the growing tension from what happened between them in the first book. Cardan is the type of person to try and belittle and control people because of the lack of control over his own life and he finds himself unable to make Jude his target in this book, but also struggles with how much he is attracted to her. Cardan is the ANGST king. I know some people hate him for his behaviour and the way he treats Jude, but I love this character because Holly so clearly sets up his motivations and his backstory. I just LOVE a morally grey character. There is so much heat brewing between them from both the hatred and love they share with each other. Let me tell you, it is H O T. I’ve never read a dynamic like this before, it’s so much more extreme than in the first book and it is fascinating and frustrating all at the same time. LOVE LOVE LOVE. There is this line that Cardan says and it goes something like “kiss me until I’m sick of it” and UGH. I died. The

The Wicked King is so thick with plotting and betrayal, honestly it is so unpredictable. As soon as you think its heading one way, we’re taken somewhere completely different and it was WILD. I literally don’t know how to express my thoughts on this book except from using too many capital letters. If you loved the politics of The Cruel Prince then you have a treat coming for you, because this takes it all to the next level. The worst part about it was the end – I LITERALLY DO NOT KNOW HOW I AM GOING TO WAIT ANOTHER YEAR. Prepare yourself for an evil cliffhanger, the climax of this book was crazy.

All in, if you were a fan of The Cruel Prince, then you are going to be in for a great time. You’ll love it. If you weren’t so much of a fan, then maybe it’s still worth a go. The character development and world building has really come on and the whole vibe of the sequel is really different – I’d definitely say it’s worth trying, but then again, I’m ridiculously biased. I cannot wait to personally reprimand Holly Black next month for the trauma she has caused me.


I was kindly sent a copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in this review.

One comment

  1. […] Oh lordy, this book was wonderful. It does start off pretty slow so I was a bit worried it wouldn’t live up to how much I adored The Cruel Prince, but I was wrong. It was full of even more politics, tension and betrayal than the first book! You can read my full review here. […]

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