You might know we are doing a bit of a readalong for the Folk of the Air series by Holly Black. The Cruel Prince is such a hyped book and it took us this long to finally read it. Two weeks ago we shared our buddy review for The Cruel Prince and today it’s time for The Wicked King. Let’s get into it!
Warning!! There will be spoilers for 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.
The Wicked King by Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #2
If he thought I was bad, I would be worse. If he thought I was cruel, I would be horrifying.
Candyce I actually think I like this cover a bit more than the cover for The Cruel Prince. The colors really pop and I love the meaning of the elements on this cover after you read this book! I can really appreciate when authors and publishers do this.
Isabelle I quite like the cover for this one! You get some royal fantasy vibes from it, it has nice colors and I especially like the details. The cover is even better after you’ve read the book and you can fully appreciate how well it fits the story.
Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.
Candyce After finishing The Cruel Prince I needed to know how Jude’s story would continue. The Wicked King starts off a few months after the ending of the first book. It took some getting used to the time jump, but it didn’t bug me. I think it was a good choice to start a bit after everything played out in The Cruel Prince. The first half of the book is a lot of politics and Jude trying to keep Cardan in check and hoping no one will find out her secret. I have to say this did go a bit slow even if I thought it was really interesting. I’m the kind of person that likes reading about plotting and such while reading a story.
Around the halfway mark things get really interesting though. There were so many twists and turns that made it impossible to put this book down. Let’s just say I was very happy I could finish reading it in one sitting. If I had to stop in the middle, I would’ve been thinking about it until the moment I could pick it up again. The Wicked King keeps you hooked because of all the betrayal and evilness the characters have inside of them.
Jude has become a really interesting character to me. She may be less evil than other characters, but she has a lot of reasons to be the way she is. It’s her way of protecting someone she loves in a world that isn’t really hers. I think she learns a lot about herself in this book. One thing I still haven’t figured out yet is Cardan. Everyone loves him, but in all honesty I don’t feel like I know him at all. That definitely helps the mystery in this story, but doesn’t really make the hype understandable.
The characters in this book are evil, but that makes the story amazing! Madoc is a character I’m still really curious about. I want to hate him, but I think there are more sides to him than we know. Also, Taryn is so evil. I really don’t like her, but I would love another novella from her POV. It seems like she’s up to something. I have to say that everyone was saying that book ended with a cliffhanger, but I don’t completely agree. Yeah, we get a big shock, but I’ve had worse, haha. I definitely plan on reading the third and final book soon though. I need to know how it ends.
Isabelle The Cruel Prince ended on such a high that I was super excited to read The Wicked King. We start off with an prologue but the first chapter jumps to a couple of months after the events of The Cruel Prince. I liked this time jump, it made for a bit of a new situation and felt very natural. Jude managed to crown Cardan High King and is able to command him, at least for a year and a day. The first half of the book really focusses on Jude trying to command Cardan without anyone finding out. She also has to come up with a way to extent her control over him for longer than that year. For me this first half was a bit slow. I was interested, but didn’t want to binge read it and that was a bit disappointing.
The second half of the book however was amazing. I kept on reading until I finished the book in the middle of the night haha. We get the twists and turns we are waiting for, there’s betrayal, a lot of wickedness and one hell of an ending! I really enjoyed the ending and have a lot of respect for Jude. For me she still isn’t that unlikeable, she’s definitely a product of her upbringing and environment. Vivi was a favorite in the first book, but she behaved very disappointing in this one and I’m mad at her haha. Cardan remains a bit of a mystery, I did get to understand him better but I hope we get all of him in the last book.
The familial relations are so interesting in this story, the girls grew up in such a twisted environment but I still really enjoy Madoc. It’s going to be so interesting to see what happens next, I did not see everything involving him coming. Everyone seems to hate Taryn but I have to say I’m intrigued by her. She has found her way to deal with living in Faerie and I honestly can’t hate her for it. I agree she made some horrible decisions, but don’t all characters in this story do so?
All in all this might be one of my favorite middle books in a series. The first half was a bit slow but the second half definitely made up for that. I couldn’t put the book down and was very much tempted to start The Queen of Nothing right away. The ending wasn’t as cliffhanger-y as everyone made it out to be, but it was a great ending!
If you’re the sickness, I suppose you can’t also be the cure.
We’re both still very happy that we’ve been enjoying this very hyped series. The twists and turns are making it so good!! What was the last book you read with twists and turns? We would love some more recommendations!