“It occurs to me that maybe desire isn’t something overindulging helps. Maybe it is not unlike mithridatism; maybe I took a killing dose when I should have been poisoning myself slowly, one kiss at a time.”
I was soooo excited for this book!! Right after reading the first book in the series, The Cruel Prince, I searched for this one and was devastated when I realized it would be a whole year before it was released. Well now I have read it and I am in the same damn boat waiting for the third book! The Wicked King was so good, a little short, but still extremely enjoyable!
The book starts off five months past the explosive, bloody finale of The Cruel Prince. We catch up with Jude as she struggles to maintain control over the land of Faerie, and of Cardan. The story jumps right into the plot and shows us the new order of the Faerie Court. I enjoyed the time jump, as it left us with a few questions right from the start. How was Cardan reacting to being King? Where did that leave his relationship with Jude? Where was Madoc on all of this? How is Jude handling her newfound power?
The answers unraveled for us slowly, organically, and not without suspense. While I appreciated this slow burn as we watched Jude juggle her new responsibilities, I did feel that the start was a bit too slow. I just wasn’t gripped in the beginning like I was in The Cruel Prince. However, once the action began to pick up and the scheming started to come together in the middle and especially the end of the book, I was one billion percent on board again.
I was genuinely shocked by some of the choices the characters made and the turn of events throughout the novel. That ending was crazy! I did not see it coming at all and I am not going to reveal spoilers, so that you too can experience it like I did. But holy crap, did it play with my reactions and emotions!
There was definitely some character development with Jude, Cardan, Taryn, Madoc, Nicasia, and others, but I liked how none of them became completely different people. They were still the morally complex, ill-tempered, deceitful characters from before that I, for one, love reading about. Some of the development might have been a ruse all along anyway! I cannot wait to see how the familial relationships progress from this point forward, as those are some of the most compelling. Jude is one of my favorite female protagonists because she is selfish, ruthless, persistent, and cold. She never seems like a pseudo badass; she just is one. Ughhhh I love how brutal and evil these books can be 😈! It makes for such an interesting read. Oh, and I am still LOVING the cameos from the Tithe characters!! Roiben will always be one of my favorites.
There was also some development regarding Jude and Cardan in particular, and their complicated feelings for each other, but it was by no means fluffy or heartwarming. The scene where they (spoiler) most likely had sex was literally fueled by lust and hate, which is just so satisfying for my twisted heart. I wish that scene was a little more detailed, just because true fade-to-black scenes are always irritating 😂. But, I understand why Holly Black did it, and I am used to it from her. I can’t wait to see how the next book plays out and what will happen between Jude and Cardan.
I have long been a fan of Holly Black’s writing and I again adored her style here. She is a great writer, lush and creative without being too purpley. Her scenes are concise and effective. Her dialogue is realistic, sharp, and not too drawn out. I really admire how she crafts her stories! So, I know that it was probably in the best interest of the series to make The Wicked King the length that it was, covering only a few months of time during the duration of the story, but it did still seem a little short to me. Maybe if there was a bit more action in the beginning as well, as opposed to only the slow buildup, it would have felt more balanced. Overall, though, I trust Black to create the best possible series she can.
This book was great and I am already suffering from the long wait until book three, which I believe is titled The Queen of Nothing. Love, love this series!! What do you guys think?
Thanks for reading!