Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

5:30 AM

I've never been so happy to give into hype until The Folk of the Air came into my life. 


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.

Rating: ★★★★★

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

Am I absolutely obsessed with this series, now? Yes. There's something so irresistible and surprising about the world that Holly Black's created and I honestly can't get enough. The Wicked King is the sort of book you want to read in one sitting, but try to draw out the experience as long as you can because you don't want it to stop.

Something about this series is so captivating and unforgettable, it wraps itself around every inch of you as you read it. It's delectable, enthralling, a little horrifying and maybe a little romantic. If you can call its "romance", ah, romance. Which I can't, because the main dynamic is intriguing and awful all at once.

Picking up nearly half a year after the events of The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King wastes no time in gripping its audience and holding them firmly in place. Being thrust back into the thick of it all is an indescribable treat. Mostly, it struck me just how much I missed these characters within the first few pages of the book.

While there are many sequels suffer the second book fate in which it's just not as good as book one, The Wicked King never allows this to happen. Holly Black is far too much of a talent. Every page is filled with luscious detail, betrayal, scheming, action and angst. If you loved to hate these characters in The Cruel Prince, you'll love to hate them even more in the events of this installment.

For a refresher (turn back now if you haven't read The Cruel Prince!) the book opens with all the aftermath of the previous: Jude has successfully made her power play and is busy with the intrigues that come with Cardan, the new High King of Faerie. Taryn is playing a very different game than her twin and preparing to wed Locke. Madoc and Jude are dealing with the repercussions of The Cruel Prince, and the plays they've both made. Vivi and Oak are hidden away, safely, amongst the mortals and Vivi's girlfriend.

Most importantly, the storm that began brewing previously continues to grow. AND THAT CLIFF-HANGER. Boy. Oh, boy. If you love morally gray characters, you'll love this series. If you love being knocked on your ass every few pages, this series is for you. If you like despicable casts of characters who you, somehow, still root for, you'll DEVOUR these books.

Seriously: everyone is a different brand of AWFUL and I would definitely die for them.

As a whole, this was a brilliant sequel. A lot has changed, yet a lot stays the same. By the time you're done reading The Wicked King, you'll feel breathless and a little unsettled. One thing is certain, you'll be wishing for the third book to hurry up--because that ending? THAT ENDING?????? Holly Black, I think you've just killed me.

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