The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Wicked King
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Panda Rating:

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.

3.5 stars for that pre-epilogue ending! And just when I thought that things were turning around and I’d like this newly established alliance, that ending had to go and happen! I’m shook but also angry? But also, I get it too? This seems to have really messed with my feelings (of which I thought I didn’t have many of for this series) 🤣

The Cruel Prince: ★★★½ – ★★★★☆
The Wicked King: ★★★½
The Queen of Nothing: ???

I was a little underwhelmed when I re-read TCP earlier this year, especially with all the hype surrounding the series. I think the main reason was the lack of connection to the characters and I realised the same thing when reading TWK. I liked the story, I thought the characters were interesting, but I also found myself not really caring about what happened to them, especially Jude. And let me tell you, it’s underwhelming to not feel for the characters especially when there’s a lot that happens to and around them — betrayals, chemistry, scheming, fights etc. It takes a lot for me to enjoy a story when I don’t connect with the characters, but I kept plodding along because I wanted to know if my opinion would change.

TWK is once again told from Jude’s perspective and only her perspective. Just like in book one, I didn’t really like her character much more in this one (although I didn’t hate her). Yes, I admired her bravery and ability to keep pushing on despite her fears and being surrounded by literal monsters. I liked that she didn’t let anything stop her from going after what she wants. There’s no doubt that she’s calculating, merciless and fierce, and to a point I really admired that about her too. I also enjoyed seeing a little more vulnerability from her, especially when it comes to Cardan and their chemistry. I found these parts of the story the most enjoyable because it deviated from the very ‘one-dimensional’ tone that her character and plot line took on; which was basically scheming, fighting and scheming some more. I really wish the story was told through different POVs because it would’ve changed that dynamic up a lot more. I wanted to know what Cardan, Madoc and other members of the Shadow Court were thinking and experiencing. I think that maybe would’ve made it easier for me to connect to the story.

I’d now like to take a moment to mention how much I HATE TARYN. Because she just needs to die and I’m not even sorry about putting that negativity into the universe. Lol I mean, WHY? Why must she be such. an. awful. character?! (it was legit the biggest insult getting her as my result when I took that character quiz for this series. Yeah, I’m still salty about it 🤣)

That said, the world building continued to be done well. The different lands, politics, and intricate details of faerie relations and customs, were as well written as in the first book. However, I found the majority of the pacing a little on the slow side although the final chapters really picked up speed. Faerie is a world that I’m crazily still tempted to want to experience for myself, but I would realistically die or unwittingly strike some kind of horrendous bargain (that would probably end with me dead) within the hour! 😂

After that slight sucker punch of an ending, I’m now eagerly looking forward to picking up QoN as soon as possible. There were also questions about certain characters that weren’t answered yet at the end of TWK so I’m hoping that we’ll finally know all by the end of QoN! 

Have you read The Wicked King or is it on your TBR?

17 thoughts on “The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – #BookReview

  1. I also wasn’t a fan of both books either. I still can’t care about Jude and maybe the main reason why I haven’t picked up The Queen of Nothing yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel that. I don’t know if I care about what happens to any of the characters but I’m still curious to find out what happens next in QoN! I think since I’ve invested so much time in this series already I just need to know how it ends 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I was a bit underwhelmed with this book, too. I enjoyed it more than you did, but definitely not as much as the first one. Plus, it was super frustrating that I called ALL the major “twists” ahead of time and they kept coming as a surprise to Jude and I’m just like … how have you survived this long?! How did you not see all this coming, you silly coconut?! *pats head* You are definitely not Taryn, my dear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I don’t know why I feel basically nothing for any of the characters. I mean, I don’t think I’d care if anything bad happened to them? Except maybe for Roach and Bomb but everyone else I’m a little “meh” 🤷🏻‍♀️ about. I have to say I didn’t see the twists coming (like I said, I’d probably die in faerie within the hour or maybe even the first five minutes LOL) but yeah, sometimes I think about Jude and wonder the same thing. It’s hard to believe she’s survived for so long! And OMG. Taryn. The one character I feel so many strong emotions for in this book and it’s defo not positive 🤣 Have you read QoN yet? Will you?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t understand why she’s still alive. I mean, I love my siblings, but if I were in that world and they pulled something like that? no hesitation in pruning the family tree, thanks.

        I haven’t. I’m still sort of hoping the library will come through and order the book, but maybe I shouldn’t hold my breath at this point lol. Will you be reading the third one?

        Liked by 1 person

        • ME NEITHER. What is her purpose but to make Jude more miserable!? Like, who needs that kind of heartache in their life?! Defo feel the same about your re. pruning the family tree after all the damn betrayals. Jeez.

          I’m about to start reading QoN now. I just need to know how it ends. I’m hoping I’ll like it more than the first two? But let’s see! Hope it comes into your library (or you could make a case for them buying it 😆)!

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think I’ll be able to finish the book tonight! I hope that means I’ll get the review up by tomorrow or… something? Haha why am I so bad at writing reviews?! I still have to write my review for Darkdawn 😂
            What other series are ending?! But… There’s always gonna be new ones coming out and I’m keen for quite a few!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Umm … I’m, like, still trying to catch up on reviews of books I read at the end of October into November, sooo … I feel you. xD

            I guess maybe not 2020, necessarily. I just think, like, Nevernight ended, Arc of a Scythe, Folk of the Air. Those were the big series I was following. Empirium is ending, but after book 2, I’m a little lukewarm on it.

            The series I started this year, though, are basically on their second books, so that’s exciting. Still got some time for those.


  3. I have heard of the wicked king and was thinking of picking it up!! I still will tbh. I loved this review lmao you had me cackling the entire time. i’m sorry it wasn’t exactly what you were hoping for my dearest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you enjoy the series, Amanda! It has some murdery business about it and faeries, so maybe it’ll be to your liking? Lol looking forward to hearing what you think if you pick it up 😉


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