The Wicked King
Author: Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air, #2
Length: 10.5 hours
Narrator: Caitlin Kelly
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Original Publication Date: 2019
Genre(s): Young adult, Fantasy
Cardan is now High King of Faerie, with Jude by his side as seneschal. But Cardan doesn’t want to be King, so while he enjoys the luxuries like wine and merriment, Jude is the leader in the shadows, able to guide and command Cardan as she pleases. But Jude learns that someone she trusts has betrayed her, and it’s a race against time to figure out who will strike against her and when. All the while, Cardan continues to give Jude mixed signals, humiliating her and infuriating her while simultaneously desiring her. And Jude finds the more time she spends with Cardan, the more she grows to like him. She thinks that’s the worst thing he can do to her, but is she mistaken?
The Cruel Prince ends with Jude tricking Cardan and crowning him King, against his own wishes. The Wicked King picks up shortly after that cliffhanger of an ending, and luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait because the whole series is already published. Book 2 is again told in first-person POV from Jude’s perspective. Though I still can’t understand some of the decisions she makes, or the way she sees things, or the way she neglects to tell people really important information until it’s too late, I grew to like Jude a lot more this time around. Frustrations aside, Jude is one of the most badass heroines, and I love that she’s so much stronger and smarted as a mortal than the faeries. She’s growing on me, guys. I can’t help it.
And yes, I am still obsessed with Prince Cardan, now King Cardan. If I were Jude, I wouldn’t have been able to resist him even for a second. That shows how weak I am compared to her. The romance is definitely upped in this book, and I devoured it. I devoured the entire book, really, finishing it in less than a day. Only work and sleep delayed me from finishing it sooner. Sequels tend to disappoint, but The Wicked King is a beautiful exception, promising to be just as interesting as, if not more than, its predecessor. Where The Cruel Prince sets the stage for the High Court, shows the transformation in Jude from mortal girl to spy, The Wicked King delves deep into the politics of Faerie, shows us Jude’s thirst for power and her unflinching resilience, and also kicks up the heat between the King and his right hand. I was hooked from page one until the end, which had me screaming.
If you loved book 1, you’ll no doubt consume book 2. It’s a rare sequel that demands to be read, because it’s just so good. I kept reading and reading and thinking about the title of the book, and that ending had me shook even though I should have expected it. This YA fantasy is all about twists and turns and emotional turmoil. I cannot wait to see how Black ends her magnificent series. The Queen of Nothing, here I come…