Book Review – The Wicked King by Holly Black

Genre: Young Adult; Fiction; Fantasy

Note: There are NO spoilers in this review. When discussing in the comments, please provide a spoiler warning if needed.

If you haven’t read The Cruel Prince yet, go check out my review. And be warned – there are some spoilers for the first book in this review, so proceed with caution.

Now … onto The Wicked King by Holly Black.

This book really screwed with my emotions. 

After reading The Cruel Prince, the first book in The Folk of the Air Series, I was ready to jump into The Wicked King. The main differences between the two – first, this book was definitely a time for character development. 

You get to know the characters intimately. They make you smile, piss you off, and ultimately make you want to yell and scream. I fell in love with Jude, Cardan, and (some of) the other spies. I developed a deep hatred for Madoc, Locke, and even Taryn at times. 

Second, Holly Black was trying to trigger me with the ending of this one. 

This novel revolves around Jude trying to keep the heir to Faerie safe. In the first novel we learn that Jude’s step-brother Oak isn’t really her brother at all, but the rightful heir to the throne. To accomplish this – she takes control of the one person she (thought) she hated most – Cardan.

As she gains power, things escalate quickly, but we all love to see our Jude rise to the top, despite her constant battle (slash romance) with Cardan. 

“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”

I have never cheered more for a character to be successful in scheming and manipulation than I have for Jude. She is my hero, girl crush, and ultimate idol. Even as we begin to see her weaknesses (ie: Cardan), I am cheering for her to kick some ass and take over the world. 

That’s where we get to the ending. 

Without spoiling the ending – I will just say the end of this book pissed me off so much I refused to pick up the third novel in the series for months. It took some convincing for me to even consider reading The Queen of Nothing (review coming next week). 

One of my favorite elements of this novel is our adventure to the sea and how we begin to learn more about other parts of Faerie outside of Elfhame. Holly Black has built an extraordinary world, equal parts beautiful and terrifying. She captures the essence of Faeries perfectly. I haven’t met another author who does it quite like she does. 

I could not recommend this book and series more. The next chance you get – head to your local bookstore and go ahead and buy the entire series. You won’t regret it.

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