ARC review: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black👑

Expected publication: January 8th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


The enchanting and bloodthirsty sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel 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.

My rating:

Once upon a time, there was a girl. She didn’t particularly like Faery stories, but then one day she came across a book called The Cruel Prince, and from that moment her life was never the same…

If you asked me what specifically I like so much about these books, I wouldn’t be able to answer unhesitatingly. There’s something undeniably addicting about the way Holly Black writes that it feels like magic. She makes you believe in impossible worlds, black-eyed wicked princes, and reckless but brave mortal girls you can’t help but wish to be similar to.

The Wicked King picks up after four months from The Cruel Prince’s events. Jude seems to be juggling the crown, Cardan, the Shadow Court and her father, but barely so. Cardan manages to find ways to contradict her even under the command of the wow, and Jude is desperate to come up with some solid idea how to chain him to herself for longer than one year and one day and not a moment longer. But on the horizon there’s a new threat, one that just might be the last straw on the pile of troubles Jules is trying not to crumble under.

What I absolutely adore about this book are political intrigues. I have a blasphemous idea to include The Folk of the Air in the mandatory reading list for future strategists.. or villains. Because the amount of backstabbing and manipulations in this series is epic. The best (or the worst?) part of it every time you try to guess the next move of any of the characters, you simply fail. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Holly Black is a part-time spymaster in real life. She played us all. What is her ultimate endgame I don’t even want to guess because I know all my theories will be crushed under her genius toes.*

Let’s talk about the characters. My lovely wicked Cardan. I have an abduction plan in mind for you to be all mine, so no one could touch your precious villainous self, and so we could plot against humanity together an–
Yeah, you get the level of my fangirling now. Cardan outdid himself in The Wicked King; deservedly so of the book’s title. Cardan opened up from different sides. We saw him vulnerable, we saw him angry, we saw him tender, we saw him plotting. Can I insinuate that we saw all of him? *wink* Well, I think there’s much more to see yet. Mommy approves. But if I am being serious – I am trying real hard not to show too much of my moony eyes – I didn’t know how Holly Black would find an excuse for Cardan being the way he is, with all his cruelty and disregard for other people’s feeling. Well, she didn’t. Cardan is the way he is, and the author just showed us more of his character, without making him into the Holy Martyr with a noble heart. Cardan’s wickedness is complex; it’s layered and those layers have more layers. I just want him to never stop being wicked!

Jude, oh my poor silly girl. In another book, with a different story, the type of personality Jude has would annoy me to no end. But here Jude fits perfectly with all her insecurities, bad decisions, arrogance and many many more flaws. She is perfect for the Fae world and I absolutely loved her! If you want to acquire power, you need to be strong and merciless, but if you want to keep it – you have to become worse. That is exactly what Jude succeeded in doing. She is more ruthless than ever, but, at the same time, she is alone and vulnerable. And I loved Jude even more for admitting her weaknesses.

The romance in The Wicked King is just heartstopping:

I want to tell you so many lies.

I don’t know how Holly Black did it, but she created one of the most searing in its intensity relationships in young adult – heck that – in literature, I’ve ever read before! The dynamic between Jude and Cardan is just crazy. I had to stop every time I read a dialogue between them to take a breath because I was holding it without me noticing. Yes, some books make you turn into a cliche. I just can’t express how much I want Jude and Cardan to be carved into the stars and ballads to be created about their undying love. Wishful thinking. I believe the allure is in the way they keep wanting each other, but not really trusting each other thus denying their feelings. And there are so many feelings! Moreover, they are similar in so many ways: the history of their pasts and present; they were destined to be pulled to one another like magnets. I just hope they won’t destroy each other in the end.*

All in all, I am just dying to find out what happens next. Offer is the same as usual: my firstborn, all my money, a human sacrifice… You know, anything to get me to the world of changeable Fae Folk, of fickle promises, searing kisses and magic: the type that makes you feel a part of something bigger than you.

* – This part will contain spoilers on page 2 of the review.


One thought on “ARC review: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black👑

  1. Pingback: Most anticipated YA releases of 2019: down the rabbit hole🐰 – One Thousand and One Book

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