Book Review: The Wicked King By Holly Black

Warning: This review may contain spoilers for the first book in this series: The Cruel Prince. You can find my spoiler free review here. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you do. It’s fantastic!

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Find it on Book Depository

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

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This book is going to give me such a hangover.

Have you ever had a book lull you into a complete sense of security only to have it rip it out from under you like some old woven rug with the very last page? BECAUSE I HAVE AND I AM NOT OK! This book wrecked me. To say I loved it just doesn’t feel like enough! I want to go back in time and stop myself from reading The Cruel Prince so that I wouldn’t have to deal with waiting a whole year for the last book to come out. The Wicked King was everything I had hoped for and maybe a little more.

The Wicked King picks up five months after the events of The Cruel Prince. Cardan Greenbriar, High King of Elfhame now resides on the throne. However, it is Jude Duarte, his mortal seneschal, who holds all the power! Jude has become increasingly distanced from her family and is well and truly caught up in the power she has over the King and his court. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is vying for the throne, while Jude and her Court of Shadows continue their scheme to keep Cardan on the throne until Jude’s younger brother, Oak, is old enough to take over.

This book was absolute perfection! Holly Black has such a knack for story telling that she honestly makes you feel that if you were to look up from the page, you’d be in Elfhame along side Jude. She takes the term “twists and turns” and knocks it out of the park! There were schemes on schemes on schemes and I was living for it. Jude and Cardan where EV-E-RY-THING! Their love-hate relationship  had me completely enthralled. The snide banter, sexual tension and slow unraveling of feelings was amazing. I quite honestly, wouldn’t have minded more of their interactions throughout the book. It was that slow development of trust for each other over time that was my undoing when I read those last few pages.

I am wholeheartedly invested in these books and it is going to take everything in me to not wail at the thought of having to wait another year to read The Queen of Nothing. So until then, you’ll most likely find me rocking back and forth, a copy of The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King in my arms, muttering hysterically about how much I love Cardan Greenbriar despite him being, in fact, rather wicked.

This book is very easily a 5 star read for me. The whimsical nature of the world of Faerie, the snarky, sexy character interactions and the seamless extension and execution of the plot all come together to create a truly incredible read. I need the last book, like, yesterday please.

Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Find it on Book Depository

Goodreads Synopsis:

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

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Oh. My. Gosh. How do I even begin to describe how much I fell in love with this book!? I was blown away! I couldn’t put it down! I finished it and immediately purchased The Wicked King. The author truely out did herself. I was completely immersed in her world and characters.

This. Book. Was. Fantastic. It was right up my alley in terms of genre, I adore YA fantasy. Not only was the story itself beautifully done, the art work within the book was gorgeous as well, fitting to the story and adding another layer to the magic of the whole reading experience. The world building was phenomenal, I could feel the magic of Elfhame leaping off the pages, it was so intently described. Not only did I get that sense of mortal terror with the characters, but the world itself is even described as though it wants nothing more than to devour you whole. Enchanted drinks, poison fruit that makes you feel utter joy to the point of making you completely and utterly compliant and of course, beautiful, cruel fey all come together to create an incredible otherworldly story that sucks you in completely.

The characters were perfection. Even when I found myself disliking, or down right hating a character, it was very hard not to enjoy reading about them and their backstories. We get an incredibly smart and headstrong main character in the form of Jude, a mortal girl who, after seeing her parents murdered, is taken away (by said murderer), along with her half sister Vivi and her identical twin, Taryn, to Elfhame, the land of Faerie! Some characters were wonderfully frustrating, showing character depth and personality differences. I was also pleasantly surprised that not once did I feel bored or annoyed while reading from Jude’s perspective. Occasionally with YA novels I find the main character’s decision making something that really irks me! But not so with The Cruel Prince! The fey themselves are described as having the potential to be down right diabolical and cruel (and handsome! Oh heeeeeyyy Cardan), which is something I really enjoyed. It’s not often you get to read a more traditional take on fairies!

The plot of this book was so well done. There were twists and turns that kept me guessing and revelations I did not see coming! The overall story arc was incredibly gripping and I cannot wait to get my hands on The Wicked King and continue Jude’s story! Until then, you’ll find me at my post box over the next few weeks, waiting impatiently for the next book to arrive! Because of this, I am giving this immersive read 5 stars!