Welcome to another book review my dear friends!! Today, we’ll be reviewing The Wicked King by Holly Black. This was so much better than The Cruel Prince. Jude and Cardan were a lot more interesting, and the plot twists were amazing.
Book: The Wicked King
Author: Holly Black
Other book in the series: The Cruel Prince (Review)
Summary: 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.
Quote: “Someone tries to betray the High King, murder. Someone gives you a harsh look, murder. Someone disrespects you, murder. Someone ruins your laundry, murder.”
*Cardan. Sassy, lazy, and an absolute jerk, but I love him! His smug arrogance and constant bickering with Jude was awesome. I also like that he is actually a broken guy with a good heart but it is the anger and blame placed on him that makes him hurt others. It makes his character a lot more complex. The things he did to save Jude, and the last few chapters made me love him – while simultaneously hating him for that ending – even more.
*Jude. She improved in this book and I felt she was more relate-able. Her struggle with power and making the right decisions were also very realistic. I think that as the story progressed, she grew more power hungry and too harsh on herself especially since she tried to solve every crisis by herself. She was also kind of an anti-hero, since her reasons for controlling Cardan are a lot deeper than just to keep the throne for Oak (that’s what I’m guessing).
*Jurdan?? Cardan and Jude were great. Their fascination with each other was amusing, and I was very happy that they were making some progress to not-hating-each-other-so-much until that catastrophic ending.
*Plot and Character. This was great. I didn’t anticipate many of the plot twists, and I didn’t guess correctly who was behind any of the betrayals. The many alliances and oaths that Jude had made were now catching up to her. The many different problems caused by Locke and Cardan was also very fun to read and I loved the other side characters. I’m not sure if it’s a spoiler to mention who was in this book, so I’ll stay on the safe side and just say they were all great.
*The Ending. The ending also took a different turn than I anticipated. I was so shocked and definitely not expecting anything like that to happen. However, it was realistic and plausible. I can’t wait for book 3!
Quote: “Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”
*Taryn, Locke, and Vivi. Taryn’s such an evil and cruel sister. I can’t imagine that she could do that to her own twin. I also passionately hate Locke, especially after the first book, and my feelings about him only intensified in this one. Vivi isn’t necessarily bad, but she made some very very questionable decisions, that I thought were cruel. I think she deserved what happened to her at the end. I originally kind of liked her, but now, not so much.
*Memorable. After two weeks, I was unable to remember the smaller bits of the story. The major plot twists and the ending, I definitely remembered, but not some of the smaller twists. I just think that is a little disappointing that it was so easy for me to forget.
Quote: “If he thought I was bad, I would be worse. If he thought I was cruel, I would be horrifying.”
Overall, I enjoyed this a lot more than book one, and I’m so excited for the third book. The characters were more likable for me, and the plot wasn’t I’d definitely recommend it, and I hope you love it if you read it!
One sentence summary: A surprising political fantasy with great characters.
Overall, 4 stars
Have you read The Wicked King? What did you think? Did you enjoy The Cruel Prince better than TWK? Are you excited for The Queen of Nothing? Let’s chat in the comments below!