Book Review: The Wicked King 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.

Firstly I just want to thank Readers First for my copy of ‘The Wicked King’ and also apologize, once again, for my review being so late due to illness. Thanks again for being so understanding.

  ‘Fighting was chess, anticipating the move of one’s opponent and countering it before one got hit.
        But it was chess played with the whole body. Chess that left her bruised and tired and frustrated with the whole world and with herself, too.’

The Wicked King picks up several months on from where The Cruel Prince left off, following Jude as she struggles to keep hold of the power that she managed to scheme her way into. Betrayal after betrayal tugged and tore at my heartstrings, whilst more shocking twists and turns left me racing through Holly Black’s beautiful words, eager to see what would happen next. It was a dark and often heart wrenching joy to dive back into Holly Black’s world of Faery with its intoxicating cruelty and savage allure. 

Once again I felt that Holly Black managed to perfectly capture just how dark, devious and brutal Faery can be whilst also showing how mortals are helplessly drawn in by it. Truthfully I think it’s a hard balance for an author to find – beauty, desire, fear and danger, merging so seamlessly – yet this author does it exquisitely. The world is addictive whilst the plot is ripe with twists, turns, shocks and action that makes it impossible to tear your eyes from the page. 

Predicting what any one of the many characters will do is probably as hard as striking up a deal in Elfhame that favors a mortal but they always still act in a way that fits what is previously established of them. Jude has to be one of the most brutal protagonists that I’ve ever come across but her actions are quite understandable when you see the level of fear that she’s been raised in. It’s fascinating to see her try and juggle everything, not knowing who to trust or where to turn; especially when her own feelings start to torment her too. Cardan frequently surprised me throughout this book, his drunken antics as High King probably being the least unexpected of his actions whilst several members of Jude’s Court Of Shadows managed to worm their way into my heart. I’m not going to say too much else about individuals as I want to avoid spoilers but what I will say is this: guard your heart. Certain characters managed to break mine once more whilst others startled me in new and unexpected ways. 

Altogether I can easily say that I highly recommend this book. It’s got to be one of the best takes on Faeries that I’ve ever came across and is easy to get sucked fully into. Pick up this book, you won’t regret it; although the wait for book three will surely be trying. 

Check The Wicked King out on Goodreads here.

If you enjoyed The Wicked King I also recommend: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr and Graceling by Kristin Cashore.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (or just give me an excuse to gush about it) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.


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