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Book Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

Hello Readers & Friends,

I finished The Wicked King last night and... just need to take a little minute.

What. an. emotional. ROLLERCOASTER.

Okay, so at first I wasn't really digging it. I think what I enjoyed the most about The Cruel Prince was Jude's outsider status, the way she was always fighting to fit in and the kind of relatable way of life she led what with school and the bullying etc. This book, with her now in the palace and right-hand to the King, I lost my interest quite a lot. In fact, for the first half of the book I really wasn't enjoying it in comparision to the first. Not enough to put it down, of course. I still would have given it 3 stars. (Find out how I rate my books here.)

But by the time it finished, I was back on a 4/5 star basis. Let's chat about it.


- The dark, disturbing world that I loved so much from the first book very much continued in this sequel. Perhaps even more so. Certain phrases describing the folk's reactions and attitude even gave me shivers.

- There is constant tension and strange deceptions happening between characters, which keeps the plot running smoothly and the reader constantly on their toes.

- There are some things I don't really care about either way. E.G The Bomb and The Roach's almost-relationship.

- I know a lot of people really love Jude, but I'm neither here nor there with her. I just don't really care that much. She's a bit nothing to me.

- I LOATHE Taryn. Like I have never hated a character so much. I hated her in the first book, I thought what she did to Jude was despicable and disgustingly unforgivable. And then the end of this book?! Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. SHAME ON JUDE. I hope someone kills Taryn in the next book she's a two-faced little social climber.

- Her prose and descriptions are beautiful. She makes me want to drink every scene in.

- I know I'm probably in a minority, but I really don't like the Jude Cardan romance. I think it's really unhealthy and toxic and volatile. Cardan doesn't just betray her in the end, he's also so cruel about it and I think no amount of make-out scenes or moments where he begins to soften and become more empathetic detracts from his core personality, which is nasty, fickle and selfish.

The end really blew me apart. I love an ending that leaves me thinking about it for ages after, and the injustice Jude faced just really boiled my blood. I hated Taryn, I hated Cardan and I just wanted her to sack off all of Faerie and live with Viv.

I never understood why she clung so desperately to this world where everyone has either tried to break her, betrayed her or belittled her. Why she wanted to fit in so much rather than just move away and reinvent the life she wanted? Viv and Oak are the only family worth having, and yet she never wanted to be with them. I know it was supposedly to protect Oak, but was it really? She could have done that from the mortal world. She has a stepfather who murdered her parents, a stepmother who doesn't care about her, and a sister who is constantly abandoning and betraying her. I think her being in the mortal world is the best thing for her. It's not only where she belongs, but where she could build a happy life for herself if she just gave it a go.

I'll be interested to see where the next book in the series takes her.
I gave the book 4 stars on GoodReads as my final review.


Here are some of my favourite quotes:

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

“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.” 

“Kill him before he makes you love him.”  

“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.” 

 “A king is a living symbol, a beating heart, a star upon which Elfhame's future is written. Surely you have noticed that since his reign began, the isles are different. Storms come in faster. Colors are a bit more vivid, smells are sharper.... When he becomes drunk, his subjects becomes tipsy without knowing why. When his blood falls, things grow.” 

I have heard that for mortals, the feeling of falling in love is very like the feeling of fear. 

What did you think of it?
C x


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