Book Review: THE WICKED KING (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

Jude learns that power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.


You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself that strong.

Jude 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 biddable. 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 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.



Title: The Wicked King

Series: The Folk of the Air #2

Author: Holly Black

Publication: January 8, 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Fantasy

Target audience: Young Adult

Book Depository | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon DE

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Rating: 🌵🌵🌵🌵 ½

Do you remember my review for The Cruel Prince? I was kind of ‘meh’ about the book and I fucking hated Jude and Cardan’s relationship.

Oh, how the tables have turned.

“Kill him before he makes you love him.”

I really enjoyed this book. Holly Black’s writing was just as nice as it had been in The Cruel Prince, but this time I was completely hooked. It took me only one day to finish this book. I started reading it and got halfway through, but then I had to meet with a friend and oh boy, I did not want to leave the house. I just wanted to stay in my room and keep reading. I couldn’t, unfortunately. But the moment I came back home, I was back to reading and raced through the rest of the book.

“The three of you have one solution to every problem. Murder. No key fits every lock.” Cardan gives us all a stern look, holding up a long-fingered hand with my stolen ruby ring still on one finger. “Someone tries to betray the High King, murder. Someone gives you a harsh look, murder. Someone disrespects you, murder. Someone ruins your laundry, murder.

I don’t know how Black did it or why she didn’t do it sooner, but I actually liked Jude in The Wicked King. That is one of the reasons why I enjoyed this book a lot more than the first one. Not liking the protagonist just makes it hard to enjoy a book. I suppose I loved how Jude craved power, and that she was aware that power held such a sway over her. It made her do immoral things but she was willing to sacrifice part of her humanity – which, reallly, seems to be necessary in Faerie – to achieve her goals. Also, she was just so annoying in The Cruel Prince and here she wasn’t lol.

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

Not only did my feelings towards Jude change, but also my feelings towards Jude and Cardan’s relationship. In The Cruel Prince, I really didn’t want Jude and Cardan to end up together. Cardan was such an asshole to Jude and I really didn’t feel the romance at all.

The thing is, their relationship is not that different in The Wicked King. Jude and Cardan still constantly bully and humiliate each other. What’s changed now though, is that Jude is not a powerless nobody anymore. In the first book, their relationship felt too much like high school bully and loser kid. That is not sexy. In the sequel though, Jude has power and authority, and their backstabbing feels a lot more equal – back and forth, rather than just Cardan hurting Jude. And somehow that made the whole ‘hating each other’-thing a lot sexier.

“Kiss me again,” he says, drunk and foolish. “Kiss me until I am sick of it.”

I was hooked by the story. Where The Cruel Prince was a bit boring, The Wicked King just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. And the ending! Oh boy, the ending. I did not see that plot twist coming. My copy of The Queen of Nothing took over a week to arrive and it almost killed me, guys. The second I finish writing this review, I’ll start reading it, no doubt.

“Your ridiculous family might be surprised to find that not everything is solved by murder,” Locke calls after me.

“We would be surprised to find that,” I call back.

Have you read The Wicked King? Which one did you like more, The Cruel Prince or The Wicked King? Let me know down below in the comments!

6 thoughts on “Book Review: THE WICKED KING (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

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