The Wicked King
Review,  Fantasy,  YA

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

I never enjoyed a middle book in series but The Wicked King was jaw dropping and simply amazing. I read this with Toni and we both loved this and found this more unpredictable. It was brilliant, fascinating, captivating and a wicked YA fantasy that highly recommend.

The Wicked King

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

Publication Date : January 8th 2019

Publisher : Hot Key Books

Pages : 322

Genre : YA / Fantasy

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Previous Book in series –

Cruel Prince (Book 1)


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 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.

Review of The Wicked King

The Wicked King was an amazing sequel to Cruel Prince, an intriguing YA fantasy that revolved around trying to keep her control over Cardan and fighting the trouble brewing in court. The story was about deceit, mind games, trust, betrayal, court politics, game of power, secrets, cruelty, and love.

The writing was as good as the first book, vivid, engaginging and steady to fast paced. The story was written in first person narrative from Jude’s perspective. Most of the chapters ended with quote worthy lines.

Plot was more tense, dark and filled with mind games and politics. It started five months after the end of the Cruel Prince with Jude managing her new position as seneschal, basically running the kingdom while Cardan continued being lazy ass, constantly engaging in ravels that didn’t end, and kept humiliating Jude. Even with her control over Cardan, it wasn’t easy to keep things in check and throne safe for her brother when he becomes of age but when Cardan was attacked it was clear someone has already betrayed her. And then there was threat from the Queen of Undersea and Jude’s complicated feelings towards Cardan.

It was interesting to read who betrayed her, what Balekin and Queen of Undersea were planning, how Jude would protect Cardan, her brother, and throne, and what would she do about her attraction towards Cardan.

First half of the book was a bit steady paced with all political things, managing meeting, ravels and Court of Shadows with attack that kept things spiced up but as Taryn’s wedding neared things became exciting and the second part of the book was just brilliant with so many twists and turns.

Characters were as interesting and complex as first book. There was a good development in Jude and Cardan. I enjoyed reading more about Cardan and also Jude’s parents. Most of the characters were unlikable and I didn’t trust any of them which made plot tense and tight.

You might remember me saying in first book I hated Locke and Taryn but in this book I more than often wished they were killed. Taryn was super annoying twin. I still don’t understand why she was determined to make Jude’s life difficult. I bet she doesn’t have a mind or she wouldn’t marry Locke. I never trusted her even with her sweet talk and she proved me right. She said to Jude in first book. “She is Jude’s mirror” but I wonder it’s other way around, jealous of Jude and wished to be like her. I can’t wait to see how she will realize her mistake or would die in next book (With all the killing going on around it shouldn’t be big deal but alas, I have to wait for that.). Let’s not talk about Madoc, Balekin, and Orlag-Queen of Undersea. They turned out formidable villains. They all kept Jude busy and made her already difficult life worse. Hats off to Jude for standing alone against all of them.

Jude was amazing throughout the book. She was becoming brilliant at the royal politics. It was great the way she learned things was managing court even though no one took her seriously. She was damn strong and resilient. She made herself formidable and someone who should be feared even though she constantly dreaded about her control over Cardan and her position. I admired her courage, tenacity, her will, and how much she suffered and tolerated in this book. She had strong appetite for power and it was interesting to see how she felt about it now that she could wield it and see the downside of it too. But of course she worked hard to gain it and it was going to break her when her fears will come true. I was expecting that and when that time came, I felt sad for her. I can’t wait to see what she would do about it in third book. I liked her even with her flaws.

Cardan was even more interesting. He was hard to understand and unpredictable. After reading about his childhood, his vulnerability I could see why he was the way he was, cold, unforgiving, and cruel and yet I liked him when he was around Jude. He showed his rare caring, kind, and understanding side but of course, it was overshadowed by his cruel side. He surprised me by showing how perfect he was at being High King. He was much better than first book and I can’t wait to see what he is up to in next book.

There was some progress in romance. Finally, Jude and Cardan gave in to their feelings. But it’s still complicated, fragile, filled with lack of trust, betrayal. (Me and toni both agree that it can’t be love if they don’t trust each other fully but we are curious how it’s going to develope. It’s not normal kind we see in other books.)

The world was great. Apart from the description of Elfhame islands, high court drama, ravels, and also weddings, I enjoyed exploring the undersea and knowing more about how the power of High King actually works and what Cardan can do with it.

Twist and turns were brilliant. This time I couldn’t predict anything. I loved getting answers as they were revealed and there were many surprises. Climax was interesting. I was expecting some scheme but it wasn’t as I have thought and what happened after that was jaw-dropping. End was sad. I’m glad I already have third book.

Overall, Wicked King was brilliant, fascinating, captivating and wicked YA fantasy filled with bloody politics and amazing twist and turns.

I highly recommend this book if you like,
Royal politics and political intrigue
power game
complex characters and plot
cruel and twisted world
enemies-to-lovers arc
Blood-thirsty YA fantasy

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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