Thursday, 23 January 2020

Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black (The Folk of The Air #2)

Minor spoilers ahead for both The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King!

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.


~ 336 pages.

First person, single pov.

You need to have read The Cruel Prince.




I immediately began reading The Wicked King upon finishing The Cruel Prince as I don’t like cliffhangers and being a procrastination queen, I had the entire trilogy at my fingertips when I began this mad journey into the land of the fae. (Which was, with hindsight, a masterstroke of bookish brilliance, btw.)

After the epic ending of the last book, I had high high hopes for this one and, once again, I wasn’t left disappointed!

Cardan is king and Jude has reached a position in fae society she never dared to dream was possible - that as his seneschal, the right hand of the king. But, Cardan never wanted to be king and Jude never really intended to let him. He’s a placeholder and they’re both all too aware of this throughout the book and it made for pretty uncomfortable reading. Enjoyable but… yeah.

I liked Jude in The Cruel Prince. I understood her motivations and believe I said something about her being painfully human even with her fae-mortality but in The Wicked King… I liked her much less. She goes power mad. She becomes obsessed with maintaining power. Of maintaining her position. Of controlling Cardan and the world of the fae. Yes, it’s all with the goal to put her little brother on the throne when he’s old enough but I feel that she often lost sight of that. Not to mention the fact that her little brother doesn’t want to be king either!
It made Jude a power-hungry puppet master and it rubbed abrasively against the tired, scared, scarred, young woman she was. I didn’t like it and just wanted her to either let Cardan in or to walk away from the world of faerie all together.

Cardan, however, went up in my esteem in this book. I understood why he was acting the way he was. I understood his frustration and his pain and when push came to shove, with rival monarchs and his corrupt brother, I understood his actions. Seeing Cardan accept who he is, accept the position he never wanted and find a way to take back control felt good.
Seeing Jude get more than she bargained for, felt good. I squeeed in happiness when she finally seemed to have come to an understanding with Cardan! I was so excited to see what they could become, what they’d do together, because they made quite a team! But then… That freaking ending!!!!

I almost died in despair of that ending! It was epic and then it sucked! Why?! Why Cardan, why?! I mean, I can’t completely blame him but jeez…

I felt like there was a lot more scheming in this book. More betrayal and much more politicking.
Jude’s sister. Her step-father. Cardan’s friends.  Ex-lovers. Allies. Friends. Jude. Cardan. It never ended and came from every direction and from everyone! It was a lot to absorb at times but it kept me tirelessly turning the pages and desperately seeking more!

I wouldn’t say I particularly liked this book but since I'm apparently a twisted bunny I thoroughly enjoyed it regardless... Maybe even kinda loved it. I know, it makes no sense to me either!

I have no idea where the story is going to go next but I’m super excited to find out!

I love the cover and I love how it ties into events in the book... It's not just aesthetically pleasing! 😉

“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”


“He looks up at me with his night-colored eyes, beautiful and terrible all at once. “For a moment,” he says, “I wondered if it wasn’t you shooting bolts at me.”
I make a face at him. “And what made you decide it wasn’t?”
He grins up at me. “They missed.”


“The Folk doubtlessly learned this lesson long ago. They do not need to deceive humans. Humans will deceive themselves.”



  1. It's always fun when a sequel delivers!

  2. Woot! Wonderful review! I'm excited to start this series!

  3. This one is my favorite in the series!

  4. Sure sounds like you liked this one except for that ending.

    1. The ending is a KILLER! I dont know how people handled the year wait on the final book back when it first released!

  5. Sounds good and that's a wonderful cover!

  6. Great review, Nicci! Jude did change in this one and I agree that her focus seemed to become selfish in that she was consumed with maintaining her position and garnering power. Cardan impressed me along the way but that ending! Gah! I guess I couldn’t blame him... after all he was The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King... but I was so shocked!

    1. Totally couldn't blame him! But still! WHY?! *sobs*

  7. This book was my favorite of the three. You are SO lucky that you don't have to wait over a year to read #3. Have you read it yet? I wonder if not having to wait changes you're opinion of it. I was kind of disappointed. But I had time to build it up in my mind.

    Karen @ For What It's worth

    1. Nope, I took a break! I wanted to jump straight in (especially since I got a copy for Christmas) but I decided to pace myself. I'm ready for it now though!

  8. I loved this book too and can't wait to see how the series ends!

    1. I took a break after this one but am ready to read it now!


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