The Wicked King by Holly Black – REVIEW
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.
“The three of you have one solution to every problem. Murder. No key fits every lock.”
My very kind younger sister bought me the Barnes & Noble edition of The Cruel Prince when she was in New York last year. I decided to wait until nearer the release date of the sequel to read it though as I’m quite impatient, especially when I’d heard it had a huge cliffhanger. I’m so glad I did as it meant I could dive straight into The Wicked King thanks to Readers First sending me an early finished copy.
I now understand why people are so obsessed with this series. I fell in love with the world-building, characters, and political machinations. It was fast-paced and kept me engaged from beginning to end; I read it in a few hours I was so engrossed. One of my favourite aspects was the ambiguous motivations of all the characters. You don’t know who to trust which only increases the tension as you’re constantly questioning each character. It’s like a life-size game of chess played by masters.
“Kiss me until I am sick of it.”
Jude Duarte has quickly become one of my new favourite characters as I love how ruthless she can be. She’s not someone you want to cross yet she remains relatable due to her desperation to retain her fragile place in Faerie and prove herself worthy despite being a mortal. Her intelligence and political manoeuvring demonstrate the strength needed to be the person behind the throne, juggling numerous roles whilst hiding their true power.
I was surprised by the character growth of Cardan in this book as he was quite static in the first one. The slow reveal about his harsh upbringing explains some of his behaviour, although it obviously doesn’t excuse it. I completely ship Jude and Cardan as they’re so similar. Both have done horrible things to each other yet they recognise this similarity. The sexual tension between them was absolutely simmering in this one and I can’t wait to see how it progresses.
“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”
I loved Holly Black’s writing style as it evoked the land of Faerie in such a way that I felt part of the action. The relationships between all the characters remain my favourite part as I don’t think there’s a single unconditional relationship between any of them which makes it so interesting. The reader never knows what will happen next as those final pages proved. Honestly, how are we expected to wait another year to find out what happens next?
I’m seeing Holly Black at a signing next month and can’t wait to get both my special editions signed. I’m sure it will be a very interesting talk as Cassandra Clare is also going to be there. Hopefully, we’ll get some hints about the next book which is worryingly titled The Queen of Nothing. Overall, I adored these books and would recommend them to any lovers of YA Fantasy.