BOOK REVIEW: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

BOOK REVIEW: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly BlackThe Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)
by Holly Black
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


The enchanting and bloodthirsty sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Cruel Prince.

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.
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It seems hopeless to fight something so vast. It seems ridiculous to believe we can win.

Traps are set, plays are made and so much is shrouded in shadows.  The Wicked King was a fabulous follow up to The Cruel Prince and I couldn’t put this book down!  I would feel giddy one moment and terrified the next, I was constantly left reeling with my thoughts and emotions.  With traitors, tricks and betrayal cutting deep into the pages, this book was a fabulous addition to this series!

“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.”

Jude had to use blood, sweat and tears to survive in the world of Fairy.  So of course I loved the fight and fire within her!  She went on so many times when others wouldn’t.  But at the same point, she had her limits.  So I was cheering her on when she would take a stand against Cardan and the others, I loved that she refused to be controlled.   But I also loved that Jude was smart and cunning.  As she slowly started putting pieces of the puzzle together, I was terrified what would become of her.  Because even when the odds were against her, she was brave, true to herself and fought like a warrior!  She did not back down.  In some situations, she had to play along with their deadly games just to survive.  And my heart felt like it was cute open and bleeding for her.  I just wanted her to have allies.  But most of all, I wanted that allie to be Cardan.  Yet I never truly knew where he stood.

Our eyes meet, and something dangerous sparks.
He hates you, I remind myself.
“Kiss me again,” he says, drunk and foolish. “Kiss me until I am sick of it.”

Months later of Cardan being High King, he still tried to hurt Jude with his words.  With partying and not seeming to take his job seriously, he could be such a little shit.  But at the same point, he wasn’t.  So while I didn’t always understand the meaning behind his actions, many of them still made my heart happy.  Like when he would stand up to someone for Jude, or put someone in their place or even when he was training and learning tricks from the Roach.   Because so much of Cardan seemed like a facade.  And underneath it we saw that he could be sensible and logical.  We saw that he could be loyal.  So some of his sacrifices brought me to tears.  He slowly grew into someone that I not only loved but respected.  And I didn’t think respect and Cardan would ever go together after how he was in The Cruel Prince.  But regardless of whether Jude wanted to acknowledge it or not, Cardan always seemed to be thinking about her.

I hate you,” I whisper before he can speak.
He tilts my face to his.
“Say it again,” he says as the imps comb my hair and place the ugly, stinking crown on my head. His voice is low. The words are for me alone.

So many times when Jude and Cardan were together, they made me smile, laugh and feel giddy.  Yes they both tricked the other.  But it was almost the nature of their relationship at this point in their story.  And while he did try and help, Jude was overcautious.  In Fairy words could always be seen in another light, and so much could not be trusted.  But as the story unfolded, so did their relationship. Things changed. Even when he spoke to her, it felt as though each word was coated with so much emotion. He had her and my full attention. And I loved their moments together. Their stolen kisses. Their ability to try and build trust. Even though they still stood on such shaky ground. But underneath it all, they had a common enemy. The Queen of the Undersea who was a threat to the both of them. And I held my breath over what would come of it.

“You can take a thing when no one’s looking. But defending it, even with all the advantage on your side, is no easy task,” Madoc told her with a laugh. She looked up to find him offering her a hand. “Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”

Something else continued to pull at my heart, and that was Jude’s relationship with her twin, Taryn and her surrogate father, Madoc.  I wanted to find redemption with Taryn, but it was so hard to unearth.  From the very beginning of this series I was leery of her, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Jude and Taryn can mend their tattered relationship.  And Madoc?!  He treats Jude as his own.  He took care of her even though he murdered her parents.  And he didn’t have to raise her or treat her how he did.  Yet he did.  And I feel messed up respecting how protective he could be and how much he cared for Jude, but I couldn’t help how my heart felt. Because while Madoc was such a grey soul, I still cared for him.  Call me crazy, because I know that Madoc had evil in him, yet I couldn’t bring myself to hate him. I desperately wanted to find every single drop of goodness in him that I could.

I keep thinking of the steady way he looked at me when we were both naked, before he pulled on his shirt and fastened those elegant cuffs. We should have called truce, he’d said, brushing back his ink-black hair impatiently. We should have called truce long before this.
But neither of us called it, not then, not after.

Traitors, liars and cheats…there were so many that I hated within these pages.  But with Cardan and Jude, my heart beat strong for the two of them.  And with the requests that seemed impossible, the debts that were called, and all of the political intrigue, it made this book impossible to put down!  The Wicked King definitely did not suffer from middle book syndrome and I can’t recommend this series enough!

Our eyes meet, and the odd smile on his face is clearly meant for me. I remember what it was to hate him with the whole of my heart, but I’ve remembered too late.

PS I want the Bomb and the Roach together please!

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  1. Theresa

    This sounds sooooo good! Adding to my TBR

    • Jen

      Yes! This series swept me away so easily!

  2. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    I’m so glad you loved this one, Jen!! I am not a fantasy reader (at all) but this series called to me and I’m so glad I decided to try it. I loved all the machinations and the political intrigue. The way everyone had their own endgame. Everyone was playing both sides and in the midst of it all were Cardan and Jude and their feelings for one another. Gah! Your comment about the Bomb and the Roach has me in my feelings because… book three. Ugh!
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: I Can’t Even | Books Too Good To ReviewMy Profile

    • Jen

      I’m so glad that you gave it a try too! I’m over here nodding my head yes to everything you wrote! It was such a well crafted series! Ohhh right?! The Bomb and the Roach, I can’t even!!

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