by Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #2
Published on January 8, 2019 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
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I made a terrible mistake when I decided to read The Wicked King early. In fact, if I had been smarter (and had some semblance of self control), I would have waited until the entire series was over so there was no waiting in between.
Clearly that isn’t what happened.
I thought The Cruel Prince was good but it pales in comparison. This book DESTROYED me and articulating this into words is really freaking difficult, y’all.
First. Jude. I love you Jude. You are amazing and so terrifyingly human that it hurts. She’s on the go the entire book, trying to keep a kingdom together and manage her own feelings and keep on top of schemes and, well, it’s no wonder she faltered at times. She reminds me a bit of Mia Corvere from Nevernight (another character I adore) in that she can be utterly ruthless but also soft in the thick of things.
Which, let’s just take a moment to appreciate some of those “softer” Jude moments, particularly the ones with Cardan. Because these two together are brutal. This is the kind of ship that hurts to watch but you can’t get enough. The ebb and flow of their love/hate relationship only served to make me want more because it was executed so well. And made the ending all the more terrible (good terrible, the kind where I’m slowly dying from anticipation for the next book).
And Cardan was just. . . I don’t ever really know how to describe him because he is so many things at once, but you only catch a glimpse of one facet here and there until WHAM everything falls into place and you’re left standing there with your mouth open and The Wicked King falling from your hands. His character arc was perfect. There’s no other way to say it.
All the characters from The Cruel Prince return once more and I never realized how much set-up was in the first book to prepare us for The Wicked King. Little details, seemingly unimportant at first, suddenly come to light. I recommend a re-read of book 1 (as well as the in-between novella The Lost Sisters from Taryn’s point of view) before reading the sequel so everything is fresh in your mind.
The attention to detail is amazing. I’ve always loved Black’s faerie world so every time I return I feel like I’m an explorer making a new discovery. And the more that unravels about Faerie, the more anxious I get for The Queen of Nothing (Folk of the Air #3) because there can’t possibly be more to learn, but I know there is and I want to know it all!
Every piece of the story fits together like a puzzle, and this book amps up the scheming and plotting and disaster-making to a whole new level. The political intrigue is real and, combined with fascinating characters and a captivating world, you’ll be hard-pressed to put this book down.
Without repeating myself over and over THIS BOOK IS A LITERARY MASTERPIECE AND EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT. Unless you don’t like faeries, then there may be a slight problem. But otherwise yes, everyone. I don’t think I’ll ever stop gushing over how amazing The Wicked King is and I am entirely okay with that!
NOVL is hosting a pre-order incentive campaign for The Wicked King! If you submit your proof of purchase, you can get a bookmark with an enamel pin (similar to the one offered for The Cruel Prince in the past).
Restrictions apply. Details from the publisher here.
Pre-Order The Wicked King:
I’m giving 2 lucky winners a chance to get a copy of The Wicked King for themselves!
One winner (US/PR only) will win an ARC of The Wicked King.
One winner (INTL) will win a pre-order.
Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Blog rules apply.
Giveaway ends December 26, 2018 @ 11:59pm EST
Please note that prizes will not be ordered/mailed until after the winter holidays.