Title: The Wicked King
Author: Holly Black
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publishing date: January 8th 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy
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 Wicked King is highly entertaining, full of twist and turns, and brimming with complex and compelling characters and relationships. As with the first book in this series, the tension is high, there’s never a moment of peace because the feeling that somthing is about to happen, most likely something bad, is always present. This is full of angst, betrayal, deceive, lust, murder, mind games, viciousness and wit, all of it is so enthralling and intoxicating and Holly Black’s writing works perfectly to reflect that.
Jude has made it to my list of favorite main characters, she is cunning, coldhearted, strong, and even when she’s outwitted and undermined and even plain defeated, she’s always scheming and getting back up and finding ways to beat everyone and keep her power. At the same time, she loves her family and she’s conflicted between her love for her family and her love of power, which makes her motives and reasonins more complex. She’s a three dimentional character and I liked that we get to see her afraid, sad, furious, desperate, vulnerable; we get to see so many sides of her.
When it comes to Cardan, I liked seen him grow as a character even if there were only glimpses of it because the story is told from Jude’s prespective. By the end of the book, Cardan is a more confident, clever, strong, powerful, cunning character and it’s so good to see that. The whole storyline about the lands of Fairy being connected to the ruler is great and the direction in which Holly Black takes that in this book opens so many posibilities. I also enjoyed the glimpses we get of the relationship that Cardan is building with The Roach and The Bomb. Their ideas about him definitely change and there’s loyalty and trust being built between them and I’m so happy Cardin is starting to have the right people on his corner.
Now, let’s talk about my favorite part of the book, which is, the relatinship between Cardan and Jude. The dynamic between them is messed up, I’m not gonna deny that, but I still love them together. Cardan and Jude have this angsty, spiteful, deep, complicated relationship, that is the epitome of the friends to lovers trope and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the next book.
In terms of Jude’s family, Madoc is such an interesting character, as soon as he’s on the page he comands attention and I love how complex his relationship with Jude is, full of love, hate, cunning and betrayal. I can’t wait to see where it goes. Now, when it comes to Jude’s sisters, I’ll say that Vivi is exaspering, oblivious and a bit selfish and she annoys me a bit. As for Taryn, she is the worst character in this series, not only because she does things that make me dislike her, but also because she manages to be boring while doing them. I mean as much as Locke is terrible, he is at least interesting and I’m pretty sure he’s gonna be a bigger player in this series than he has been so far, when he actually puts his mind to it.
Nicasia, Orlagh and Balekin were the most obvious antagonist and the first to make a move against Cardan’s rule, but honestly, I feel like they worked mostly as a distraction, because the fight for power is a long one and there’s other people scheming and biding their time to win the long game.
The one negative things I’ll say about this book is that one of the big plot twists relays on Jude overlooking something that was a bit obvious and it’s a bit hard to believe that she would miss that. There’s a partial explanation because she was putting her body and mind through hell by not resting, not eating, consuming poisons, between other things. So, it could be all of that that lead her to overlook some things, but it’s never point out in the book and I don’t entirely buy that explanation. But overall, it didn’t really diminish my enjoyment of the book.
The ending was fantastic, infuriating but fantastic, and I can’t believe we have to wait a year for the next book. Honestly, if you haven’t started this series yet, what are you waiting for?! I know the hype can be scary, but get over it! You will be happy if you do.
Rating: 5 stars
Have you read this series? Are you planning on reading it? Are any fantasy books similar to this series that you would recommend?
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