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


Title: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)

Author: Holly Black

Pub. Date: January 8th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Pages: 336 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

Fan art credit by Monolime (click on image)

This sequel is one I’ve had on deck for a very long time simply because I knew I’d want to binge the rest of the trilogy after that EPIC ending in The Cruel Prince. We pick up right where we left off with Jude as the new Seneschal to the newly ordained King Cardan. Jude has bound Cardan for exactly 1 year & 1 day to serve as the King while Oak the real heir is sent to the mortal world. This of course places Jude in a position of power where she can pull strings & eliminate any threat to the throne. This time the world of Fae is more expansive with the inclusion of Princess Niccasia & her mother Orlagh who is Queen of the Undersea. We see tension build up between land & sea which strains the long standing peace treaty forged between the two. All the while, Jude and Cardan walk a fine line between hate & want for each other. Cardan bids his time in service to the crown by training with The Court of Shadows, growing stronger as the days go by & he is further connected to the land. Jude knows the time is running out & pretty soon Cardan will be liberated. She knows he has no desire to rule over the land but feels she can convince him to renew their bond in order to keep her in control until Oak comes of age.

Jude I still haven’t come across another fictional character more strategic, intelligent and downright cut throat like Jude. She continues to impress me with her thirst for power & ability to think ten steps ahead of the game. Jude is truly a great example of the student overcoming the master. She is still dealing with deep emotional issues with regards to Madoc who is her adoptive father of sorts. This is one complex character ou can’t help but admire.

Cardan I wasn’t completely sold on Cardan when we first met him in The Cruel Prince but here he had my FULL attention! it could have been his training with The Court of Shadows or the fact that he never truly submits to Jude even though that’s what it may appear to be. Theres more than meets the eye with Cardan who we learn has had a pretty messed up childhood & has been prophesied since birth to be the ruination of the land. By far my favorite character in this installment to the trilogy.

Taryn Continues to be as unlikeable as ever, Taryn is honestly the sister I’m glad I never had to deal with. Superficial and motivated by all the wrong reasons, Taryn is the complete opposite of Jude. We do get more understanding on her character but it’s just not enough to redeem her as a person to me & that’s ok we don’t have to love them all *shoulder shrug*

Vivi/Heather/Oak These characters I’ve bunched together since they move as one single unit in the mortal world. Vivi is Jude & Taryn’s fae sister entrusted to care for Oak until he comes of age. Vivi has no desire to live in Fae especially now that she has her girlfriend Heather in the mortal world. This is a cute trio who we also see encounter issues since Heather doesn’t know Livvy & Oak are Fae.

Maddoc Ruthless as always Maddoc has FINALLY learned to stop underestimating his adoptive daughter Jude. The master is seeing first hand how well his student has learned & adopted many of his tactics. Still, Maddoc has an agenda of his own & he’s still much peeved at having the crown stolen from right under his nose by Jude when she had Oak crown Cardan. Maddoc is someone I’d love to hate but find myself fighting my inner feelings for. I should despise him but “it’s complicated” to say the least.

Nicassia & Orlagh The Princess & Queen of The Undersea had much bigger roles in this installment & I quite enjoyed seeing their Kingdom & Mer-folk. Nicassia is still Queen B or rather Head Mean Girl In Charge. She had her eyes set on a marriage with Cardan until Jude showed up & ruined that. Out of all the parent/child relationships we see play out in this trilogy, much respect goes to these two because it is the healthiest of them all. Orlagh loves her daughter & has her back just as Nicassia goes hard for her Mother.

Fan art credit by Melie Scribbles (Click on image)

If you’re a fan of smart political cut throat stories set in fantastical worlds, then this is in my opinion top tier in YA Fantasy. Other than Oak who is still pretty young to be anything other than innocent, all of the characters are morally grey. I LOVED seeing Holly Black expanded Fae to include the Undersea & its key players. It’s a massive world open to many possibilities if they wanted to continue writing stories set in this world. I continue to enjoy Jude & Carden as main characters with many layers. These characters hold their cards close to their chest giving them an air of unpredictability I’ve come to appreciate and enjoy.


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