Elizabeth's Reviews > The Wicked King

The Wicked King by Holly Black
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2019-releases, winter-2019

Yeah, this installment blew me away. I'll have a review as soon as I get my breath back.

REVIEW

Remember where The Cruel Prince left off? Jude had plotted and planned and schemed and all her work paid off. Cardan was now the High King of Faerie, sworn to obey Jude’s every command for a year and a day. Jude is now the power behind the throne, determined to keep the throne secure for her little stepbrother.

Only problem? In scheming to get the throne, Jude tricked her Fairie stepfather, Madoc, who also happens to be the general of Faerie. And Jude’s twin sister is engaged to the lying trickster faerie, Locke. Fun times.

The Wicked King starts five months after the end of the Cruel Prince, and I actually really liked how the plot worked this way. We weren’t bogged down describing those first few chaotic days after Cardan took the throne. And of course, it’s pretty quickly evident that Jude is frazzled and constantly surrounded by enemies.. But I mean, she’s a mortal in a faerie world, of course things are not going so splendidly for her.

This book really explored how Jude’s decisions impacted her relationships with her family. Vivi will never understand why Jude chooses faerie when she can have a safe, normal life in the mortal world. Tayrn is still clinging to Locke, and Jude can barely tolerate him, so that’s fun. And of course, my favorite murdering stepfather, Madoc.

Why do I love Madoc so much? I don’t know, I just do. Everyone needs a stepdad who totally killed your parents, adopted you, and taught you how to play faerie strategy chess. Right?

“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.”


From the very first few pages, you realize what’s going to be Jude’s problem this book – holding unto her power. I mean, it’s not easy. She’s constantly warned by the old king’s advisor, Madoc, her sister, and her enemies, that she is in a super precarious position.

And while I disagreed with some of Jude’s choices, she does a super good job of playing the game of thrones. (okay, yeah, that’s a reference to a totally different series. But I think it totally applies!)

I will say this about both the Cruel Prince and The Wicked King. The writing is fun and engaging, and the descriptions are easy to fall into. But the plot, the characters are they exactly new? As in, Cardan, our wicked prince, is very similar to a lot of bad boy tropes.

Cardan has had a horrible childhood and a very cruel family. To some extent, I think knowing this played against Jude’s emotions. She wants to hate him, but finds himself falling for him. And still hating him.

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


I just don’t think I can ever get behind a true Cardan/Jude pairing. No matter what happens with the story, these two are toxic for each other. They constantly devise ways to emotionally hurt each other. I think they need therapy and should never, ever date.

Do I think the author is going to do that with these two? Nope. Reading the story, the two are paired, in a feisty, fun hate to love relationship.

But I still think they’re very, very toxic.

Now, I’ll probably always contest that Cardan feels very tropey. But Jude, Jude doesn’t feel like a trope at all. Which is part of the reason why I love these books!

Jude is the Slytherin queen we don’t deserve. She isn’t afraid to know what she wants and go out and just get out. I love how she’s written on page, full of rage and sarcasm and violence.

One of my favorite things about both The Cruel Prince and The Wicked Prince is how the story doesn’t just tell me that Jude is a badass. It shows her fighting skills. She spies and duels and threatens and kills. When she’s in actual danger, she’s openly vulnerable and when she’s in command, she terrifying.

Jude is one of the best written YA heroines I have ever read.

Despite how much I loved this book, I will say, it wasn’t as completely magical as the Cruel Prince. I think it’s because we were already familiar with the world of faerie. It didn’t feel as though I were falling in head first. The writing was just as engaging, but it just missed that entrancing touch.

And I was disappointed that the Undersea narrative wasn’t more developed. Yes, the conflict between the Undersea and the Court of Elfhame was a major narrative. But I felt like it was very rushed. It’s like the Undersea was just a subplot to the overall Jude/Cardan story. That was disappointing, because I felt like the Undersea could be such a compelling story. And when I’m talking about the enchanting aspect that I missed, I felt like it really could have been built into the Undersea story.

Of course, there were several major twists along the way, especially in the last few chapters. the ending made me rant and rave at a certain character. I cannot wait for Queen of Nothing. Maybe someone will send me an ARC for this next book? please?

“If he thought I was bad, I would be worse. If he thought I was cruel, I would be horrifying."
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Reading Progress

March 8, 2018 – Shelved
March 8, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
November 5, 2018 – Shelved as: 2019-releases
November 5, 2018 – Shelved as: winter-2019
January 9, 2019 – Started Reading
January 9, 2019 –
page 28
8.33% "Can Jude please stab me? K, thxs."
January 10, 2019 –
page 216
64.29% "WHAT IS HAPPENING?!!!! Also, yes, I have a slight obsession with Madoc. why is he my favorite?"
January 11, 2019 –
100.0% "ok, i'm screaming. That's all"
January 11, 2019 – Finished Reading

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