November 22, 2019

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

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.

I’ve been on the edge of my seat and quite literally dying ever since I finished The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. I’m a huge sucker for an enemies-to-lovers romance and Prince Cardan and Jude gave me everything I could have ever wanted from such a trope. The ending of The Cruel Prince was full of tension and possibility—I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. So, when I got my hands on The Wicked King, I proceeded to finish the novel in exactly 24 hours and realized what a big mistake that was. Why was it a mistake? Because now I’m exactly where I was before I started reading: longing for the next book in the series.

                Readers of The Cruel Prince are in for a lot when it comes to the novel’s sequel. Everything has been upped. The stakes are raised. The steaminess is steamier. The game of chess being played within the Faerie Court between Jude and her Faerie counterparts is suddenly all the more complicated. And, of course, Cardan is even more pragmatic and freaking sexy. I mean seriously, every scene he’s in is just so unfair. The imagery? The attractiveness? The oh-my-god-that-was-so-smooth one-liners? If you loved him in book one, you’re going to be obsessed with him in book two.

                I don’t think that there was ever a moment with The Wicked King where I knew what to anticipate from the plot. The last third of the novel had me on the edge of my seat and reeling. I would say that if there’s one things readers have to be ready for it’s the unpredictability of the storyline. And, of course, that ending is freaking insane. The ending of this novel was everything I wanted—up until it wasn’t. Oh my goodness, the plot twists!

                All in all, I don’t have any complaints from The Wicked King. I really can’t say too much about the plot without spoiling major events. If you know anything about Holly Black it’s that her writing is always quite good, and her imagery is always vivid. That doesn’t change with this novel. The pacing is intense. The story is awesome. This is another one of those books that you put down and wish you could go back to for the very first time over, and over, and over again.

                My only wish was that there was more Cardan. Because honestly? You come for Jude’s badassery, but you stay for everyone’s understandable thirst for the Faerie King. Yenno?

                I would recommend The Wicked King and The Cruel Prince to readers who are already fans of Holly Black’s previous works (you won’t be disappointed). Any readers who are looking for a seductive novel that is full of plot twists and dark magic, this is the series for you.

Holly Black is the bestselling author of contemporary fantasy novels, including Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale and the #1 New York Times bestselling Spiderwick series. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award and the Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award. Holly lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Theo, in a house with a secret library.

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