The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – ARC Review

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*All quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change*

Release Date: January 8th, 2019
Overall: 5/5 Stars
Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing:
5/5
Plot and Themes: 5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review In A Nutshell: The Wicked King was everything you could ever want in a sequel. The stakes have risen and you will be hooked by the political intrigue, action, and betrayal in this amazing novel.

“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”

// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Abuse (Mention)//

“I want to tell you so many lies.”

– Premise –

The Wicked King takes place six months after the events of The Cruel Prince that led with Jude having more power than she ever imagined. But the clock is ticking and in order to secure a future for her brother, Oak, she must figure out how to get Cardan back on her side. Everyone is still vying for the crown and Jude must learn balance protecting the High King from the various outside threats to his rule.

“It’s easy to put your own life on the line, isn’t it? To make peace with danger. But a strategist must sometimes risk others, even those we love.”

– Setting –

I love the world Holly Black has built. Elfhame is a fascinating setting with so many rules and so many ways to get around them. The Wicked King delves further into the politics around the world and the powers of those in control. It is absolutely fascinating to see how this fictional world works. There are plenty of new and interesting things introduced in this novel, building onto the world previously introduced, but it never is overwhelming or too much.

“‘Kiss me again,’ he says, drunk and foolish. ‘Kiss me until I am sick of it.'”

– Writing –

Holly Black is clearly skilled at writing fey. Her experience and knowledge about every detail shows in this series. Her writing style perfectly balances beautiful atmospheric description with realistic dialogue that feels genuine yet has disconnected enough to work for the magical world these characters reside in. While the tension in this novel is high, and it definitely is a very dark book, there was also plenty of funny dialogue I absolutely loved and felt the need to mention.

“’Your ridiculous family might be surprised to find that not everything is solved by murder.’ Locke calls after me.
‘We
would be surprised to find that.’ I call back.”

– Plot-

The Wicked King continues to take everything I loved from The Cruel Prince and brings it up a level. This book has so much political intrigue and scheming and I was living for it. You never know who to trust, and who will become a traitor (or what traitors may prove useful). This book is deliciously dark and devious.  The plot never slows, with action and mystery to keep you glued to the pages. The constant twists and reveals add magnificent layers to the story.

“For a moment,” he says, “I wondered if it wasn’t you shooting bolts at me.”
I make a face at him. “And what made you decide it wasn’t?”
He grins up at me. “They missed.”

– Characters – 

Perhaps what I love most about this novel, as well as the first, is that there are no good characters. There is no one you can trust completely, and everyone is so terribly flawed and inherently selfish that whenever someone makes a good decision I feel like a proud mother. Jude is an amazing protagonist, a true Slytherin at heart, however, Cardan once again stole the show for me. I love this mess of a person. You learn a lot about his background in this book and see sides of him the first book only hinted at.  The majority of this book deals with Jude’s inability to trust Cardan, and his weariness in trusting her again. Their relationship was so perfect (and by perfect I mean they really have communication issues but its okay because I loved it). The romance wasn’t the focus of this book, but I absolutely adored every aspect of it. 

The rest of the characters were equally compelling. I really love Madoc, whether antagonist or not, and his father/daughter and equal opponents relationship was so complicated but so fascinating. He is probably one of my favorite characters. Taryn, Locke, and Nicassia also had large roles in this book, and I really love how their characters are explored.

“You are my dearest punishment.”

– Conclusion –

Pros– This book had the perfect balance of drama, political intrigue, character development, action, and romance
Cons– I read this in October. It should be illegal to make me wait this long for Queen of Nothing. I didn’t learn my lesson after reading The Cruel Prince in October 2017. This is only a fault on me.
Overall- 5/5 stars.
The Wicked King is a fantastic novel that will captivate you from the first page and have you willing to make a bargain with a fey for the next book.

“Look at them all, your subjects. A shame not a one knows who their true ruler is.”

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