Rating: 5/5 Swords
WARNING: This blog post does contain mild spoilers since this is book two of The Folk of the Air trilogy. If you would like to read my book review on The Cruel Prince first, you can find it here. If you have plans on reading this series and haven’t yet, I would suggest you read first and then return to this blog post. 🙂
The Wicked King is book 2 in Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air trilogy, and it is fast becoming one of my favorite series in existence.
The Wicked King continues Jude’s story after she tricked Cardan into becoming King of Faerie until her younger brother, Oak, is old enough to take the throne. With Cardan as King, Jude can be the master behind all of his decisions, pulling at puppet strings and crafting her own plots for the world of Faerie. But with Cardan on the throne, there are more games afoot than even crafty Jude can imagine.
Queen Orlagh of the Undersea wants Cardan to marry her daughter or she will destroy the land of Faerie and all Cardan holds dear.
Prince Dain, sequestered in a prison cell for his crimes, has his own plot underway that Jude can’t quite figure out.
Taryn is moving forward with her marriage to Locke, although her growing closeness to Madoc is more than disconcerting. Meanwhile, Locke is trying to wiggle his way into Cardan’s good graces again and cause all sorts of trouble — trouble that Jude cannot afford to deal with, with so much political unrest in Faerie.
And then there’s her growing infatuation with Cardan, and Cardan’s infatuation with her. They say they hate each other, loathe each other even, but there are more sparks flying between them than they can count. Jude has to fight to keep her emotions in check, or she’ll fall for the Faerie king’s devilish smile and hidden agenda.
But right as Jude thinks she has finally gotten everything under control, the ones she loves most decide to betray her, throwing her off balance and causing Cardan to take the reins as king. The entire world of Faerie hangs in the balance, and if Jude cannot regain control, everything she’s worked so hard to build will be lost forever.
Oh my gosh, there is so so so so so much that I loved about this book. I was a little bit worried going into it because The Cruel Prince was so phenomenally done that I was afraid The Wicked King would suffer from second-book-syndrome. That was not the case at all — if anything, The Wicked King is even better than The Cruel Prince!
Some highlights of the book:
- Jude is still a stabby bean. Crafty and ingenious but she also has feelings and shows them, which is really refreshing since the “Oh I can kick butt so I’m not going to show any emotions and that makes me cool” trope is really overused in fiction these days.
- Cardan is cruel and sassy as ever, and his flirtations with Jude are EVERYTHING. I mean why can’t I write flirtatious scenes like Holly Black? *cries*
- There is an awkward family reunion moment in the book where Jude goes back to visit everyone before Taryn’s wedding, and it is wonderful.
- SO. MUCH. TENSION. Between Cardan and Jude. Oh my word. Will they kiss? Stab each other? Kiss and then stab each other?
- We get to see more of the world of Faerie, and that is super duper cool. Black did such a great job in The Cruel Prince showing off the world, and I was a little worried that we’d get a lot of the same details or that the world building would just fall kind of flat. But of course, Black is a Queen(TM) and gave us fresh and exciting new scenery that we get to fall in love with or fear, depending on the scenario.
However, while I would give this book a million stars if I could, and there was so much that I loved about it, there were also a few parts that I didn’t really care for. Of course, these are just my preferences! I know of a lot of people that would argue against these next couple of points. 😉
- I want to smack Locke’s head clear around. Ever since Locke betrayed Jude in The Cruel Prince, I wanted to bash his nose in. No amount of charming smiles or jokes can save that fiend. Unfortunately, he was featured in The Wicked King a lot and had a lot of tricks up his sleeve that made me wish Jude would just slit his throat and move on with it. (Is that a tad bit too violent? Oh well. *shrugs*)
- Vivi still isn’t 100% honest with her human friend over the Faerie world in this book, either. I can understand why, but it rubs me the wrong way like it does for Jude and Taryn. I know this is purposeful for the story, but it’s just one of my tiny pet peeves with the book.
That being said, there is one final thing I want to mention that’s not necessarily a good or bad point. For those of you that have read both The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, I’d love to know your thoughts on this… I ended up hating Taryn with a passion by the end of The Cruel Prince, but in The Wicked King, I didn’t find her as annoying or rude? She still wasn’t my favorite by any means, but I at least enjoyed her character a little better. Thoughts?
All in all, a fabulous addition to the series by Holly Black! Five stars all around.