GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Book Review: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black | I Smell Sheep

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Book Review: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)
by Holly Black
January 8th 2019
ebook, 336 pages
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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.

Sometimes, you need a fantasy. Something otherworldly, but relatable. Something with engaging characters. Something with hints at romance. Something with political scheming, intrigue, the thin line between love and hate, and possible death around every corner.

Oh, *what*?

Obviously, I've been reading The Wicked King by Holly Black. The sequel to The Cruel Prince, this book picks up five months or so after the events in the first book. Jude is now seneschal to now King Cardan, and let’s just say events haven't turned out quite like she expected. Not only is she fighting her own family to keep him on the throne, but she has to manipulate Cardan to keep the kingdom running. More interested in revels and surrounded by bad influences, he isn't about to make things easy on Jude. There are also potential consorts looking his way and a favor she owes to a neighboring royal. Not to mention her sister's getting married to someone she doesn't trust. And then there's the little fact that as much as she hates Cardan, there are also other feelings there.

It’s a lot.

It’s *magnificent*

Seriously, I read this in a day.

The faerie elements are equally beautiful and dangerous. I had wondered how the theme of alienation in a strange worked would continue, and it’s handled beautifully with Jude trying to manage everything as a human in a faerie world, but still not feeling like she belongs. There’s a sequence at s revel where it's front and center that many still don't appreciate her but being there. She uses everything. Everything, everything is a strategy. It’s a book filled with constant energy and changing dynamics.

I love that we get to see the underwater kingdom. Those sequences also show Jude’s vulnerability in grim detail without going over the top - they were hard to read but so well done.

I love that there are still strained family tensions between her, Taryn, and Viv. She's still trying to out-pace Madoc, still trying to out-think everyone.

Which is what makes the ending so jarringly perfect.

Her relationship with Cardan is also much different than typical YA fair. This is enemies to lovers in all its messy, tangled, conflicted glory. There’s not any real romanticising - they both still actively dislike each other for most of the book and you never quite know what motives are in play.

The world building is exquisite. Equally lovely and vicious, every character feels real and every corner lived in.

If you liked the first book, you'll love this sequel. If you haven't read the first book, you need to. This is complicated, messy, bloody fantasy and I’m so excited that it exists.

5 Faerie sheep 

Selah Janel

About the Author:

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare) and The Darkest Part of the Forest. She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. 

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