Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

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Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

I had to write The Wicked King review right after finishing reading the book. Mind blown.

The Wicked King by Holly Black is filled with magic, love, betrayal, temptation and so much more.

Reading this book was a rollercoaster ride.

This is one of my first ever fantasy reads. I have seen so many book reviews of this book but they were all from the perspective of readers who read fantasy regularly. 

Since I’ve read 2 out of 3 of the books in this YA fantasy series, I can say that this is a pretty good series for beginner fantasy readers to get into. 

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Book Information:

the wicked king review
Image from Amazon

Title: The Wicked King (Book 2)

Author: Holly Black

Book Series: The Folk Of The Air Series 

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Pages: 322 pages (paperback)

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Amazon Rating: 4.7

Goodreads Rating: 4.3

The Wicked King Read Online: Amazon Kindle Edition


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The Wicked King Summary:

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her 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.

Amazon | Book Depository | Kinokuniya MY

What I Liked About The Wicked King (Review):

the wicked king review
Image by @soniasingh_

Jude Duarte, Enough Said.

Let’s talk about Jude Duarte. If you think she’s your strong and badass protagonist in The Cruel Prince, wait till you read The Wicked King.

This girl has so much courage. She is so brave, so strong (she kinda forces herself to be strong), vulnerable, smart and she never gives up.

Her thoughts and sayings in this book resulted in many thought-provoking quotes that I just had to compile for future references.

It has been a long time since I’ve read a book with a protagonist like Jude. She exhausts me yet inspires me.

Crazy right?

FOR YOU: 30 Thought-Provoking Quotes From The Cruel Prince

The Wicked King Characters Are Complexed (And They All Need Therapy)

The characters in The Wicked King are not easy to understand. 

To be honest, a beginner reader (not a beginner fantasy reader) may find it a bit difficult to understand the emotions and reasoning behind the character’s actions. 

I do feel most of the characters in this book have endured some sort of trauma which causes them to act a certain way. 

Fae or not, pain is felt and when not dealt with properly, manifest in the weirdest ways, cruel too perhaps. 

There is no black and white. Only grey areas. 

  • Jude – gains strength from being vulnerable.
  • Cardan – wicked because he is weak? 
  • Taryn – clearly craves for comfort.
  • Vivienne – is in denial most of the time (LOL). 

Don’t want to spoil it further! Although these characters are mostly “magical” they are very much like humans. 

Readers will hopefully be able to relate to the characters in one way or another.

The Writing Style

the wicked king book review
Image by @soniasingh_

Poetic, dramatic, thought-provoking. 

How else do I describe it? 

There’s a nice ring to the way Holly Black writes this book. 

For some reason, the writing in this book seems better than the first book in the series, The Cruel Prince. 

Pair the physical book with an audiobook or listen to The Wicked King audiobook alone, you’ll understand what I mean by poetic.

Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (Beginner Fantasy Reader Friendly)

Plot Twists, Schemes and Trickery 

Faes are known to trick and scheme so that things often go their way.

This was perfectly portrayed in The Wicked King and even more so better when compared to The Cruel Prince.

In this book, the reader will be fooled multiple times. Every time you think you understand something, you’re proven to be wrong. 

This is why the book was a page-turner for me. I could not put the book down. I stayed up till 5 in the morning to finish the book. 

It was puzzling and satisfying. 

Amazon | Book Depository | Kinokuniya MY

What I Did Not Like About The Wicked King (Review):

Cardan: Wicked Or Weak?

Cardan – The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King.

But I honestly fail to see the brutality in him until the very end of the book. I guess the titles are a little misleading because his friends are way more cruel.

To be honest, Jude is way more cruel than him.

This is my personal opinion that Cardan is not as wicked or cruel as I would like him to be. 

Because a lot of readers were fangirling over Cardan on bookstagram, my expectations of his wickedness were too high.

However, this does not mean I do not like Cardan. I do like his character but I’m not in love with him (I do fall in love with fan arts though, LOL).

Pin to read later!

Enemies To Lovers Transition 

This is a personal opinion, I think the hate to love transition in this book was very blurry. 

There wasn’t a clear distinct moment where Jude felt she loved Cardan or the other way around. 

I do think that there’s affection, some romance, sexual tension, but love? Can’t say.

Maybe this is something that will be clearer in the third book, The Queen of Nothing.

And honestly, that’s it. I don’t have much to dislike about this book.

More things to like than dislike!

FAQ On The Wicked King

the wicked king review
Image by @soniasingh_

Here are some frequently asked questions about The Wicked King and The Folk Of Air Series

Is The Wicked King The Cruel Prince Book 2?

Yes. The Cruel Prince is the first book in this trilogy (The Folk Of Air).

The second book is The Wicked King.

And the third book is called The Queen of Nothing.

Is The Wicked King An Enemies To Lovers Trope?

As mentioned earlier, yes it is.

However, I do not find the transition from enemies to lovers to be smooth in this book. I am hoping for it to be clearer in the third book.

Is The Wicked King Appropriate?

Age rating for The Wicked King is 14-17 years old. The book has romance, some making out but no sex scenes. 

So if you’re looking to purchase this book for someone within the above age range, do take note of the above.

Is The Wicked King Better Than The Cruel Prince?

Here’s my verdict – yes.

There’s definitely more to look forward to in The Wicked King. More romance, schemes, clever quotes and plot twists!

This book had way more action when compared to The Cruel Prince. It was fast paced but not too fast that a beginner fantasy reader cannot keep up with.

Like I’ve mentioned in my The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – Book Review, the book is an introduction to the series. 

The first half of The Cruel Prince was focused on world-building and character introduction. Which was necessary in my opinion.

Amazon | Book Depository | Kinokuniya MY

Final Thoughts And Rating

I really enjoyed reading this book.

Jude is a fierce and strong character to embrace, while Cardan isn’t as Wicked as I would like him to be, his character was enjoyable.

The plot had me hooked and the writing reinforced that feeling of not being able to put the book down.

Would I recommend this book to beginner fantasy readers? Or to anyone at all? YES.

Special shoutout to @zarareadshere, @thebadassreader and @whatafireads for discussing this book with me and encouraging me to step out of my reading comfort zone.

Feel free to comment below or reach out to me on instagram to fangirl about this book!

Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

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