Author: Holly Black
Fiction > Young Adult > Fantasy
Published/Publisher: January 8th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format Read In: Audiobook
Summary from Goodreads (GOODREADS LINK)
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.
My Review (SPOILERS AHEAD):
TW: Dubious consent, violence
After being blown away by The Cruel Prince, I needed The Wicked King in my life instantly. I was lucky enough to be able to jump from book 1 to book 2 with little pause as the second book was made available in my library really soon after I gave back the first book. Also this cover? Beautiful! Such a step up from the first book’s cover.
What I Liked
- Jude is back and more power-hungry than ever. And I love that so much. I’m glad her ambitions haven’t been tempered but have flared up more, especially after the way this book ended. I was so enraged for her; I want her to burn the whole court down around her. It would be beautiful.
- I don’t know what happened this time around, but I finally found myself warming to Caden. He’s still an asshole, and surprisingly flaky and weak despite his power, but his actions and Jude’s insight into him gave me more to work with in terms of speculating his intentions and actions.
- Once again, we get further depth and dimension in Madoc and Jude’s frayed relationship. After her betrayal, Madoc is not taking any chances and is the only character, besides Caden, wise enough to seriously consider Jude an opponent. Jude, unfortunately, underestimates Madoc in a way that totally baffles me. I know a lot was going on but he really proved himself to be a more experienced tactician. Here’s hoping Jude doesn’t make the same mistake in the finale.
- I still don’t think I hate Taryn half as much as most people do in this fandom. Again, I think she is not only trying to survive but is now essentially a victim of some gas-lighting and abuse from both Locke and, I suspect, Madoc. I maybe shouldn’t keep giving her the benefit of the doubt; after all, she has shown to be just as cut-throat as Jude, if not more so. I want to know why she took Madoc’s side, at the end.
- Somehow, I think I’ve fallen even more in love with Jude and Caden’s relationship(?). It’s not so romantic–it’s more lust-driven–but I find Caden’s struggles with his attraction to Jude coupled with his disdain for humans utterly delectable, and Jude’s own feelings for Caden morphing from pure hatred to consideration as she sees his more vulnerable sides is the kind of slow-burn I want from more books. Also the way Jude, a mortal, has such an ultimate grasp of power over Caden, the king of fae, is awesome.
- Black doesn’t shy away from including sex in her books, which is great, but I also find that she keeps the scene appropriate for the YA genre. Maybe this is an unpopular opinion but I don’t think explicit sex scenes should be in YA books, not because the target audience can’t handle them but because people may want to have a choice between non-explicit sex scenes in YA and explicit sex scenes in adult.
- Once more, the pacing and writing were amazing; the author has such a way with her scenes that you can fly through the novel easily and still retain a lot of information.
- We get to see more of the relationship between Jude and the Court of Shadows. We saw some of this in the first book but this time around, without Dain who’d brought them together, we get to see how strong their connections really are. I honestly consider them to be Jude’s true friends and that warms my heart…which only means the Ghost’s betrayal effectively broke my heart. Also the Roach and the Bomb are so cute!! Such a wholesome couple ❤
- The political intrigue was ramped up like crazy this time around! I felt like the world was more fleshed out and the players vying for the throne of all of the fae lands really stepped up out of the shadows. It was so well-written and gripping; I was on the edge of my seat with each play made!
What I Didn’t Like
- I’m getting so frustrated with the amount of times Jude is one-upped by the fae. I know it’s realistic, since these fae have been playing their games for centuries, but I just want to see Jude have, like, one win or at least start to be taken seriously! I’m getting tired of seeing her constantly humiliated, especially when she finds herself in positions of power.
- Again, I found Vivienne to be an under-utilized character. We got more from her this time around, and much like the first book, she was Jude’s voice of reason by the end of this book, too. We’ve got one last chance to see her unique position used more in the third book! Also, give her back Heather!
- I know she’s evil and if she’d won, Jude would probably be dead, but I wasn’t comfortable with the way Caden bent Orlagh, the Queen of the Sea, so easily by the end of the novel, especially since at that point he’d never shown a talent in maneuvering his enemies before. I kind of hope he pays for show offing his powers so much.
- I don’t think I mentioned this in my review of the first book but, man, I cannot stand Nicasia. She’s such a fickle character. But I think the relationship between her and her mother, Orlagh, is based in genuine care for each other, which is so rare in the fae world, and that added an interesting side to her character.
- Nothing has changed about my feelings towards Locke except that I think I hate him more now. I usually find bard-like characters like him at least fun to have around but he’s not even remotely charming so…
- I still think we would have benefited from more POVs.
Much like the first book, I gobbled up the second book. With the third and final book coming out in November, here is my prediction: either Jude or Caden is going to be killed. I would be incredibly pissed if Jude is killed and I would be incredibly pissed if Caden is killed at the hands of someone who isn’t Jude. Because how amazing would it be if Jude was the one with the knife in Caden’s stomach? I swear I ship these two, but I can’t get this thought out of my mind. It kind of makes me nervous that the final book is only 300 pages, though (according to Goodreads). I hope Black can stick the landing because The Folk of the Air is fast becoming one of my favourite fantasy series of all time.
My Rating: 4.5/5