The Wicked King
Author Holly Black
Publisher Little, Brown Books | 2019
young adult | fantasy
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. (from Goodreads)
UHHHHHHH, I’M DEAD. I’ve been waiting for this book for almost a year and I’ve honestly never had a more stressful and impatient wait for a book in my LIFE. It was made especially hard given the fact that it seemed like everyone on planet earth had gotten their hands on an ARC months ago! Plus, I had to endure the evil force of Tumblr which went ahead and spoiled the two BIGGEST PLOT POINTS of the entire book for me a couple months ago so yeah, that was swell. I read this in four hours after getting the eBook on Monday night and even though I knew the ending, I was still SO STRESSED. IT WAS SO GOOD.
In the wait before the book was released, I was initially really mad that this book was going to time jump 5 months because I didn’t want to lose ANY time with them, but I actually thought it worked out really well. Jude and Cardan already had a routine down and it was amazing to see how Jude was acclimating to her newfound power. Though it might have not felt that way to her, she seemed to really have a handle on how to best work her position and it was great to see how she was pulling all the strings behind the throne. I love Jude so much because of how fascinating she is as a character and she really had some badass moments in this book. I mean, “you’re a good little murderer”???? THAT MOMENT WAS AMAZING. JUDE IS AMAZING. She knows what she wants and she gonna get it!!! My lil murder babe.
There was a lot of development in the relationships between the characters in this. I really like reading interactions between Jude and Madoc because I really had no idea what their relationship would be like after what happened in TCP. Let me say, I was actually hoping that I might like Taryn a little more than I did in TCP (which was not at ALL) but HEY, jokes on me because guess what- SHE’S THE WORST. Also Locke too, he can die. I didn’t really like Vivi in this one too much either. I DID really like the Roach and the Bomb and they’re definitely my two favorite supporting characters.
Getting to know a little more about the Undersea was cool, but in all honestly all I really care about is the dynamic between Jude and Cardan. There were points in this that I was just like, WHERE IS CARDAN?! WHY have they not had a conversation that’s lasted more than five seconds in like, 3 chapters?! WHAT IS GOING ON!! So that was the one thing that bothered me a bit. Honestly, just give me a bunch of Jude and Cardan sitting around talking or arguing or doing literally anything and I’ll be completely satisfied.
SPEAKING OF JUDE AND CARDAN- OH BOY HERE WE GO. I’M OBSESSED WITH THEM. Even though I didn’t get quite as much interaction as I wanted, what I did get was INCREDIBLE. The tension between them was literally sky high every time they so much as LOOKED at each other and uhhh CHAPTER 15????? I still haven’t recovered. I’m writing this review from another plane of existence. There was great banter and arguing and strategizing and some actual, sincere moments where I had to stop and SCREAM because I LOVE THEM and seeing them just talk to each other is so so captivating. I would write down all the many quotes I highlighted but I don’t want to spoil them! Their relationship grew a lot and even though there’s that little, tiny thing that happened at the end (ya know, probably not important), it’s set up book 3 to be TRULY FANTASTIC. I cannot wait.
OK, THE ENDING. I mean…..WHAT. W H A T. I KNEW what was gonna happen and I was still reading it in complete shock because it all happens SO FAST. I saw that I only had 10% left in the book and none of the spoilers I knew were gonna happen had actually HAPPENED yet so it’s all just- a lot. It’s literally like getting punched in the gut repeatedly and ENJOYING IT. Holly’s so good with hitting you with the twist right at the end when you think things might actually come together. Buuuut I recently read a theory about the end that I am 100% on board with so I’m really excited about that! 😀 AND NOW, WE WAIT. AGAIN. I pray that the wait for The Queen of Nothing is not as excruciating as this one was, but I very much doubt it because I NEED ANSWERS NOW.