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The second book in the series The Folk of the Air by Holly Black is called The Wicked King. Similar to the first book in this series, I couldn’t set this book aside and ended up reading it in one sitting. I can’t remember if I mentioned that in my previous post where I reviewed The Cruel Prince. If you want to see my thoughts on that book or get a sense of the series, I would recommend checking out that post as I went more into Holly Black’s style in there as well as the world as a whole.
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 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.
The story takes place five months after the events of The Cruel Prince, and like the first book this book is told from the first person point of view of Jude. She reflects on her foster father’s lesson at the beginning of the book about how it’s far easier to obtain power than it is to keep it. Which becomes the main theme throughout the book. As she has to figure out a way to maintain control and extend her bargain with Cardan until her little brother comes of age for the crown that she gave to Cardan rather than placing a regent on the throne.
Similar to the previous book, there are twists and betrayals however some of these are slightly more obvious than others. Which made for an interesting reading experience of trying to figure out where the story would go. Especially with the fall out from Cardan being crowned the High King versus his brother or his nephew.
This book explores more of the political side of Faerieland, since Jude is more or less in charge due to her bargain with Cardan. And there’s more romance in this book as the two spend more time together. As well as Taryn (Jude’s twin sister) getting married to Locke, whom was more of the relationship focal point in The Cruel Prince. But in this book, the relationship between Jude and Cardan takes more of a focal point as Jude is trying to figure out where that leaves her in terms of their power dynamic. Not to mention Vivi’s relationship with her human girlfriend, Heather, and how an outsider views the Faerie that didn’t grow up in their world.
Overall, I enjoyed The Wicked King and as I stated at the beginning I couldn’t put it down and read the entire thing in one sitting. I would recommend this series to anyone who is interested in enemy to lover romances, darker themes, and faerie. I would give this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars rating, as while I loved the book, I can’t see myself constantly reaching for this series nor would put it in my all time favorite lists over what’s already there.
If you’ve read The Wicked King what did you think of it (without giving away any spoilers for those that haven’t read it yet)?
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