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The Wicked King

Review

The Wicked King

Get ready to jump back into Holly Black's faerie world in THE WICKED KING, the astounding sequel to the instant bestseller THE CRUEL PRINCE.

It's been only a few days since Prince Cardan's bloody and anarchic crowning as High King of Faerie took everyone by surprise. With Jude now secretly controlling the Prince's every move, the fate of the entire kingdom rests on her shoulders. And things are looking grim. Courtiers are taking advantage of Cardan's lax attitude to be wilder and more rebellious than ever. Jude's father Madoc still feels betrayed by Jude, who picked Cardan over her brother, and seeks revenge. Her sister Taryn's wedding is only weeks away, and Taryn's fiancée is maliciously planning Jude's demise. If that isn't enough, tensions between the Fae and the underwater world are growing, and soon there will be nothing to stop the merpeople from invading the land. Jude tries to handle all of the threats, but it is only a matter of time before everything will collapse. And amid all the chaos, Jude will learn to trust no one. Secrets, lust and violence all await you in the High Court of Faerie.

"The lush descriptions of this fantastic world and its inhabitants once again made for a magical and almost realistic experience. The narrative and character development were exceptional."

I loved the first book in this series, THE CRUEL PRINCE, and the sequel, THE WICKED KING, exceeded all of my expectations. I have to admit that it got off to a bit of a slow start. But looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. A slower pace helped readers like me who had forgotten most of THE CRUEL PRINCE to re-immerse themselves gradually in the dense plot. Holly Black expertly weaves in a recap of past events while laying the stage for future intense plot twists.

If you loved THE CRUEL PRINCE, don't worry because Black retains all of the best elements of the story. The lush descriptions of this fantastic world and its inhabitants once again made for a magical and almost realistic experience. The narrative and character development were exceptional. Jude is one of my favorite female protagonists because she's so strong. She's a mortal surrounded by people with magic power and yet she's basically rules the kingdom by outsmarting and physically beating everyone. I also appreciate how all the characters including Jude are multidimensional so that there are no good or bad guys. Anyone can turn on you at any time, making the story so much more exciting. I found myself trusting characters without realizing it, making betrayals all the more brutal and surprising. Even the friendships and romances that are developed further in the sequel aren't straightforward. You won't find any fairy tale endings or gushy love stories here.

Black is truly a mastermind and her talent shines through. I was so shocked after the first book that I didn't think it would be possible for her to create a better plot twist but she did and there were even more of them. What I love most about this series is that Black builds the plot twists into the story and makes them believable without you ever seeing them coming.

Overall THE WICKED KING is a thrilling adventure for all CRUEL PRINCE lovers. And if you haven't read the first book, it's a must-read, especially for fantasy lovers. It's like nothing you've ever read before.

Reviewed by Alice D., Teen Board Member on January 16, 2019

The Wicked King
by Holly Black