Title: The Wicked King
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 8th, 2019
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.
“Once upon a time, there was a human girl stolen away by faeries, and because of that, she swore to destroy them.”
This book has ruined me for all eternity.
Holly Black knows how to write addictive books. The political scheming, backstabbing, and deviousness of this book managed to somehow surpass its predecessor and leave me begging for more.
At the end of The Cruel Prince, Jude tricked Prince Cardan onto the throne without his consent while also binding him to her will. She is able to rule Elfhame from the shadows through Cardan, but has only a year until the spell is broken. The clock is ticking, and Jude must find a way to remain in power and keep the careless and indulgent King under her thumb. Meanwhile, Elfhame is being threatened by neighboring courts, and enemies seem to be closing in on all sides.
“His mouth curls into a smile. His eyes shine with wicked intent. ‘Look at them all, your subjects. A shame not a one knows who their true ruler is.'”
Jude is a shining star with all her cleverness and ferocious determination. She is truly an admirable, ruthless character, and I absolutely adore her first-person perspective. Holding a position of power as a human in the realm of Faerie means that she can never show weakness or betray her fear. Her strong-will enables her to make calculated chess-board moves as she navigates the political machinations of the court
Cardan, meanwhile, has remarkable character growth in this second installment. He goes from a cruel prince to a foolish king to a clever schemer, in his own right. My only complaint is that there isn’t nearly enough of him.
“I remember what it was to hate him with the whole of my heart, but I’ve remembered too late.”
I loved diving back into the nasty, Game of Thrones-level treachery and deceit that sucked me into The Cruel Prince. The last quarter of the book was outstanding, and the way it ended left me dying for more. I would do horrendous things to get The Queen of Nothing into my hands.