Political intrigues and betrayal: A book review on The Wicked King by Holly Black

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 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.


The Wicked King is the second book in the Folk of the Air series and it is as intriguing as the first. In the very first chapter, you are thrust into a scheming court of fairies and Jude has nothing but her wits to help her navigate through court politics. As the seneschal to a reluctant king, Jude does almost all of Cardan’s work and a majority of what she does in the book is related to running a kingdom. She attends his meetings, accompanies Cardan in important functions and she also oversees the safety of both Cardan and the kingdom. Personally, because her role is so defined in The Wicked King, I felt that it restricted a majority of what Jude could do as most of her activities were either focused on the court or the crown. This is unlike the first book, The Cruel Prince, where there was a certain degree of mystery as to the steps that Jude could take to bring her closer to her goals.

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

Holly Black, The Wicked King

The most popular highlight in this trilogy is the love story between Jude and Cardan. Frankly, I am not a fan of their pairing, it doesn’t give me butterflies because I think that their relationship is rather toxic. However, in The Wicked Prince, Cardan is not as Cruel to Jude as he used to be. Their relationship somewhat improves and it does manage to grow. However, a series of events put a dramatic stop to this budding relationship. It comes unexpectedly that it leaves you wanting to read the third book, Queen of Nothing, ASAP just to satisfy your curiosity because you cannot help but want to know what is going to happen next!

Another factor that kept me reading was the curiosity as to who the traitor would be. I was dying with curiosity and I found myself flipping through the pages, trying to figure out who the traitor was. I had so many guesses in my mind o who the traitor was that I was caught off guard when the traitor was finally revealed! Of all the characters in the book, I did not expect it to be that character! 

 Overall, The Wicked King by Holly Black is a good read. It is beautifully written with a powerful plot. It may not be my favorite book in the trilogy but it is important to read it to prepare yourself for the third book. This is because the events are closely interlinked, you have to read the books to fully appreciate the story. 

Quotable Quotes

“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”
― Holly Black, The Wicked King

Pain makes you strong, Madoc once told me, making me lift a sword again and again. Get used to the weight.
― Holly Black, The Wicked King

“Better she never be a bride than wind up a widow”
― Holly Black, The Wicked King

“Just because I am bitter about romance doesn’t mean everyone else needs to be.”
― Holly Black, The Wicked King

The synopsis is from goodreads.com

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