Wicked King Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Holly Black

Genre: Fantasy

Published January 8th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 336

Rating – 4/5

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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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WHOA. Talk about major politics! When most sequels fall into the “second book syndrome,” I felt that Wicked King was a great follow up to the series. While I will say it was not as addicting as the first book, it still kept me intrigued with it’s mystery, character schemes and motives. With the second book, Holly Black expanded on the world but it was not too much that it become confusing. In fact, it actually did the opposite! The characters were always a strong point to these novels since they are very different from any other book series I have read. They are not entirely black/ white or good/bad but I think that is what makes them fascinating to read about. I also expected this sequel to be a long read but I was surprised to find out it was only 336 pages so I ended up flying through it!

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Jude DuarteCunning, Determined, Power Hungry – In the first book, we seen Jude struggle with her status in the faerie world and she wants nothing more to move up the ladder. Now that she managed to outsmart everyone with her schemes, she has to face the harsh realities of being in power but more importantly, how she can still hold onto that power. The aftermath of the first book does leave her questioning where her loyalties should lie and this is what makes the plot so endearing.  We also see her struggle with her conflicting emotions for Cardan but she can’t help but place barriers due to her past experiences with him.

CardanCold, Aloof  – I am a bit on the fence about Cardan at the moment. While it is clear that he is a bit different from his cruel behaviors in the first book, I am not sure whether I can fully be onboard with this character. Again, it may be due to the fact that Holly Black’s characters are not fully black or white so its difficult to classify them as good or bad; yet, there were occasions where I did feel for his character. Holly Black definitely brought a lot more background into his past and I am curious to learn more.

tae cardan

*Side Note – Well Dayumm. Taehyung seriously gives off major Cardan vibes here*

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Power. Politics.

The major themes within this novel have to be power and politics. While the first book dove into the struggles of acquiring power, this sequel deals with the struggles of maintaining that power, which as we read through the novel we find it is not as easy as it may seem. I think Holly Black did a great job delineating this theme as its not something that is talked about in many novels. For example, a lot of the YA novels talk about the journey in which a main character travels in order to reclaim the power of a nation from a corrupt individual but never fully talks about the aftermath or the struggles that one has to endure within politics. This something I can truly appreciate from this novel.

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As soon as I picked up this book, I knew I was in for a wild ride. This is partially due to Holly Black’s talent for transporting us into worlds which are sure to fascinate us. Is there some world expansion from the first book? ABSOLUTELY! And Holly Black is able to do this which such ease that it doesn’t become too complicated as I have seen with other fantasy series. In fact, it provides us with enough that it keeps us intrigued with  the plot and curious as to what will happen next. This is one of the high points of the novel. The politics and character schemes always keep you on the edge of your seat!

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Overall, I though this was a brilliant follow up to the first book of the Folk of the Air trilogy and I am so curious to learn what happens in the final book – especially with THAT ENDING!! I need to know what happens! How can you just end it like that Holly Black??? Why must you do this to me? While I will say that it was not as much as an addicting read as the original, it definitely peaked my interest in terms of its politics and characters. I believe these two are the main highlights on the novel and it is done so well!

Have any of you read The Wicked King? What were your thoughts on it? Let’s chat!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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