Friday, December 21, 2018

Book Review: The Wicked King

Title: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Source: Publisher
Format: e-ARC

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 (goodreads). 

Holly Black doesn't hold back and I am dead. 
Plot: If The Cruel Prince was surprising, The Wicked King was mind-blowing. Where The Cruel Prince was a lot of set-up for the political alliances and motivations behind the characters, The Wicked King led us through the dangerous betrayals and non-truths that we associate the fae with. Holly Black's long game was so impressive because I could never predict which direction the story was going in. You would think that you had a handle on the alliances and motivations behind Jude and the rest of the fae and Holly Black thew in another scheme you never would have seen coming. 

Characters: Jude was everything I loved in a main character, she was determined to rise above her station and had a permanent chip on her shoulder. The Wicked King allowed her to try her hand at shadow-ruling the fae which both gave her experience and showed her vulnerabilities. She was placed in a lot of hard positions, from negotiating with Balekin, controlling the unpredictable High King Cardan, and understanding her relationship with Madoc. She had a lot to learn and more trials to overcome and I worried for her every step of the way. 

Now let's get to the heart of the matter: Cardan and Jude. Watching Cardan and Jude interact was much like watching a dance. They were inexplicably drawn to each other no matter how the other pulled, and it was always a surprise to see how they would navigate each situation. In The Cruel Prince, we saw a snippet that Cardan's cruel aloofness may haven been in retaliation to how his family treated him, and his past was further explored in The Wicked King. Both characters discovered something new about themselves in the sequel and I can't wait to see how it's all pieced together in The Queen of Nothing. 

Worldbuilding: Holly Black is an actual queen. Where I thought I knew all there was to know about the world, Black added more layers to the world. We learned more about the Undersea Court and their enduring rule which added more texture to this world. Like The Cruel Prince, Jude and company traveled to the mortal world as well and it was such a treat to see how the fae navigated the mortal world. 

Short N Sweet: The Wicked King is a must-read. If you can help it, don't read it all in one day because we've got a long wait until The Queen of Nothing. 


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