The Wicked King by Holly Black
Publication: January 8, 2019 by Little, Brown Books
Find it on Goodreads: The Wicked King
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.
Much like my review of The Cruel Prince, I don’t want to give too much away—I would rather you read the book and found out on your own.
I give this book 5/5 stars. I love fae stories, and Holly Black is so good at writing them. The world-building in this series makes me feel like I’m right there in Faerie. This story in particular is all about court politics. Shady backroom deals are happening around every corner in this series and it stresses me out to no end. Jude is one of the most ambitious and tenacious protagonists I have encountered. She has spun herself such a massive web of lies that it was hard to keep track at one point. Ethics and morality went out the window with this book and I’m not mad about it. Here are my two favorite quotes from this story:
- “Your ridiculous family might be surprised to find that not everything is solved by murder”
- “Someone tries to betray the High King, murder. Someone gives you a harsh look, murder. Someone disrespects you, murder. Someone ruins your laundry, murder.”
There you have it folks. The story is summed up right there. Murder. Murder. Betrayal. And to top it off, more murder.
Readers, myself included, really must be a sadistic bunch. Why do we enjoy putting ourselves through the torture of letting authors rip our hearts out over and over again? Holly Black did just that to me at the end of this one. This book was like a roller coaster for me; just when I thought the events were going in the direction I wanted, she said “SIKE” and ripped me a new one. I feel betrayed. I think I might have a book hangover after reading The Wicked King. If you have no idea what a book hangover is, it can be classified as a few things:
- When you finish a book that had you so enraptured, that you just stare at the wall wondering what you are supposed to do with your life now that it’s over.
- The inability to function the day(s) following the completion of a book because you stayed up all night immersed in the story and forgot to eat, sleep, breathe, etc.
- The hollow feeling you get when looking at other books because you are too heartbroken by whatever cruelty the author has put you through. (Usually results in a loss of faith in mankind and trust in other people.)
For me, most of these result in a lack of reading for a few days. Even though Holly Black betrayed me with her words, I still feel the need to explore more of her books. Just as I said in my Instagram post, Holly Black can take all my damned money. I am giving it willingly.
I was able to guess a few of the plot twists in this book, but I was not disappointed. They still hurt just as much. But the twists I didn’t expect, all I could say was “wtf”. The ending had me staring at the wall, struggling to process the turn of events. Cardan definitely surprised me in this book. He was pretty weak in The Cruel Prince and he showed his true colors in this one. To say that I am anticipating the release of the next book, The Queen of Nothing would be a big, fat understatement.
Let me know if you’ve read this book and if there are any books that have given you a book hangover!
Next, I’ll be posting my February Wrap-Up/March TBR and attempting to get through the behemoth that is The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon.