Smaller than it’s first book, but the book I drooled over for months. Here it is, in my hands, and having read it… I can hardly contain myself.
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
The Wicked King by Holly Black
Synopsis From The Book
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.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
I am here! I am alive! It is time for me to read the book that I have wanted to read all year. This singular book. I have no idea why I’ve wanted to read a sequel so much (maybe the hype on bookstagram) but I have it. It is time to read it. I am so excited, I’m afraid I might get sick.
IDK politics and Fae together? I just can’t. It’s like my two favorite things together in a single book (or hopefully). I could write more on how I am feeling about this, but I have decided against, for now.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
My entire body is crying, crying in the fact that I have to wait five months for the next books. How have the others done it? I am not sure. I sing praises to their hardened hearts and souls who wait on the last book. For I? I am so torn, I want to curl up and physically cry. (I am not, obviously. The book made my heart beat wildly, not drown me in sorrow). This book, perhaps from my desire to have read it, gets higher ranked than Cruel Prince. (It could also be because I knew where the major turns were coming for CP).
Either way, I loved this book.
I also realize I don’t have much about what I liked in particular, mostly because I loved it all. These are the most important details, I suppose. Wait till the series review if you want paragraphs.
Five months after the first book, Jude is struggling to keep control. The court is under her command in secret and so are the shadows. She learns that Cardan’s imprisoned brother is communicating with the Queen of the sea, as well as how the Queen of the sea wishes Cardan to marry her daughter. Jude can’t have this, for to have a new Queen would mean that she has to be removed as well if her brother Oak is to take the throne (in like ten years).
Her sister is getting married to Locke and everything seems to be in order. It is the day of a revel, when the Queen of the sea threatens them. This results in the court bracing themselves for what it could mean. Cardan and Jude become real intimate, and she starts to realize that she may be in love with him.
Locke almost kills her the night before Taryn’s wedding, and then Heather (Vivi’s girlfriend) get glamoured at the day of. During the wedding, Jude follows one of her spies (a man codenamed Ghost) to the prison, where she realizes she’s been set up. Jude is taken to the Queen of the Sea and essentially tortured for a month only to be released, and set back to land. Cardan had allowed the Queen to attack one of his allies for Jude’s safe return. Balekin, Cardan’s oldest brother, thinks he has Jude glamoured (but she can not be) and orders her to kill Cardan.
Somehow they get poison into him, Jude saves him, kills Balekin, and returns to Cardan. During this time Taryn comes to Cardan dressed as Jude and has Cardan release Madoc of his vow to the throne. Cardan convinces Jude to release him of her vow over him, and to marry him. He then shows a massive display of power to the Queen of the Sea by raising a whole new island. The Queen demands justice for Balekin’s death (who had been her “ambassador”), and Cardan exiles Jude to the mortal world for killing him. He may not be able to deny her as his queen, but he can simply not say anything.
What I Liked:
Jude; Even at her weakest, she is perfect. I fell in love with her so much more over the course of this book than I did in The Cruel Prince. Please let her ending be a happy one.
Cardan; For me, my emotions on him are complicated. One one hand he’s a bully, on the other he’s just trying his best. He wants Jude to trust him, and by being tricked by Taryn, I believe he truly wants it. I also hope he is trying to protect Jude (stupidly. She can protect herself). I really hope that he isn’t horrible. How can one who says he no longer wants death, to kill anyone or for murder to be the solution, be evil?
Expansion of the courts; To ones I’ve never seen. That was nice.
The conciseness of this story; I did like it.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Not sure, really.
Time Taken To Read
“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.” – Madoc to Jude pg 6
“Kiss me until I am sick of it.” – Cardan, pg 57
“I want to tell you so many lies.” – Cardan to Jude pg 145. <– This line is on so much merchandise that I swore to myself that I wouldn’t quote it. However it’s placement in the story is just so perfect that I have to. I love it, and I’m not even sorry about that.