Haven’t read the first novel, The Cruel Prince? Check out my review!
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: January 9, 2019
You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.
The first lesson is to make yourself that strong.
Jude 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 biddable. 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 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.
I’ve been waiting for the library copy of The Wicked King for what feels like forever. So, when I went to pick it up I was a little disappointed at how short it is. This is essentially why I rated it four stars instead of five.
I’m going to preface my review by saying that I’m only going to write about the issues I had with the novel as opposed to praising it since we all know how incredible Holly Black is as a writer.
“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”
The biggest criticism I had with The Wicked King is its length. I wasn’t expecting a 600-page book, however The Cruel Prince sets up what is seemingly going to be an intricate political novel as Jude navigates Faerie from a position of power. Black thrust readers five months into Jude and Cardan’s bargain as Jude is treading water trying to marshal alliances, control Cardan, and hide their arrangement all while trying to protect Oak and figure out a way to extend her control over Cardan. Jude has A LOT on her plate. As a result, Jude sometimes comes off as ineffective. She has her badass moments that are awesome, but most of the time it seems as if she’s out of her depth.
“Legends need not concern themselves with something as small as happiness.”
The best parts of the novel are when Jude and Cardan are on page together. Their banter is on point and their chemistry sizzles. However, I wish there were more moments of them together. There isn’t nearly enough of them. I wish we could have seen more behind the scenes of their power struggle before the climax. This goes back to the issue of it being too short.
Finally, that ending. Black sure knows how to keep her readers on the edge of their seats. January 2020 is much too far away. How are we supposed to wait a year after that ending?!
Overall, The Wicked King is a fast paced sequel that ups the ante then leaves readers gasping for more as we impatiently wait for The Queen of Nothing.