The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Details

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: January 8, 2019
Genres: YA, Fantasy
My Rating: 5 Stars

NOTE: This is a sequel, so if you haven’t read The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, do not continue. *Spoilers*


GoodReads Blurb

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.

My Review

Again, spoilers for the Cruel Prince if you haven’t read it.

To start, I’m not a big fan of faerie books; fantasy books aren’t my cup of tea, but there is something about this series that is too good to not read.

The first book, The Cruel Prince was in my top 5 of last year, and I know it’s early, but I  think this one might be up there too. The characters are amazing, the setting is beautiful. Honestly, I think I liked to first book more, but the middle book in a series can be a bit difficult.

The hate relationship between Cardan and Jude is so great. This also isn’t really the kind of relationship I love to read about, but the two of them are built so well and even though they hate each other I couldn’t help but root for them. I’m excited to see how that plays out after the end of this book. Hearing Jude learn how to control Cardan with the bargain she made at the end of the last book was great. That relationship makes the whole book. Learning how to trust each other neither does was a fun dance.

I listened to the audio of this book, which had the same narrator as the first book, a talented woman named Caitlin Kelly. She did an amazing job with the voices and tone. How she creates Jude’s moods and tones is outstanding. I recommend listening to the audio for how she creates emotion in everyone’s voice, but how she does Jude and Cardan is great.

Plot-wise, this book moved pretty quickly for me. If I’m remembering right, with the first book, the first half was slow for me, this one was high energy from the start. There was the great scheming Jude does with the rest of the spies brought me into the first book. I love schemes and secret plans, having my attention brought to something else only to find out I missed a big thing. This book has a couple of those moments. I’m always worried about giving too much away in my reviews, but this book has a couple spin on your heels moments of betrayal.

The ending was great, I cannot wait for the third book. If you’ve read this book and want to talk about it, please find me on Twitter (I’m @decoolz). This series is brilliant. As a person that’s not into the magic aspect of it, it’s easy to forget that Cardan has a tail, or everyone is some kind of magical creature until it’s mentioned. It can read like a messed up kingdom. I think if you’re into fantasy books those elements are well done.

These books are well done, I don’t think you’ll regret picking them up.

Until next time internet,


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