Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black



Title: The Wicked King

Author: Holly Black

Pages: 322

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Published: 2019

Source: Bought

Rating: ★★★★.5

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.

This review is a little bit late as I read The Wicked King almost immediately after it came out in January. If I’m honest, I’ve struggled to write this review because I really enjoyed it and I couldn’t really say much else other than ‘I LOVED IT’ for a good while.

I really enjoyed The Cruel Prince, which I reviewed here, and so I just had to read The Wicked King straight away because I really couldn’t wait. The Wicked King is full of more scheming, more angst and of course, more faeries.

When I read, I’m usually quite aware of how long I have left in a book as getting closer to the end of a book gives me an extra kick to get a book finished but with The Wicked King, I came to the last page without even realising. I enjoyed it so much and my only real issue was that it wasn’t longer.


Just like in The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King follows our main character Jude after the events of the first book. I was interested to see where the plot of this book and the characters would go too seeing as The Cruel Prince ended on a cliffhanger and it definitely did not disappoint.

The characters are much of the same we saw in The Cruel Prince so in this book, it was more a case of how the individual characters would deal with the events that transpired in the first book and how that would enable their characters to develop.

The two main characters in this book are Jude, with the book being told from her POV just like in The Cruel Prince, and Cardan. I enjoyed following Jude in this book more than the first one which I think is because we had already got to know her character before so I knew what to expect from her. I enjoyed getting to know Cardan more in this book as things were touched on in The Cruel Prince but I feel like we really got to know him more in The Wicked King. I would say that Cardan is a difficult character to judge and whilst he is cruel, he is also using that as a barrier to almost protect himself.The Wicked King by Holly Black, which has a cover with a gold crown being dropped into blue water, is placed on top of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, which has a white cover with gold branches on it. Both are placed on top of an open book with two themed bookmarks and a special The Cruel Prince themed badge next to the books.

The pace of this book is so fast that I barely even realised how quickly I was actually reading it. As I mentioned above, I ended up getting to the last page without even realising how close I was too it. The Wicked King really did suck me into it’s pages and basically spat me back out in shock. I thought the writing was great and that the length of the chapters was perfect and that they contributed to making this book such a fast read.

The ending of this book….THE ENDING OF THIS BOOK. I’m not going to say anything about it except it ended on such a cliffhanger and I won’t even lie, I was flicking through the acknowledgement pages almost manically and internally saying to myself ‘there has to be more??’. I was mostly just in a moment of shock when I finished it following the events in the last few pages and just didn’t really know what to do. I am fully invested in this series now and must know what happens next immediately!

It might be worth noting that between reading The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, I actually read the novella titled The Lost Sister that is from Taryn’s POV. I don’t think this necessarily contributed to my overall reading experience of the second book but it did give me a little more insight into Taryn’s character. It’s not essential to the reading of this series but if you’re as obsessed with this series as I am, then it’s worth a read plus it’s short!

Final Thoughts

After reading The Wicked King, I absolutely need the third book, The Queen of Nothing SO. BADLY. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and liked getting to know the characters better. Holly has done such a great job with the books in this series so far and both times, I have been left wanting more but The Wicked King really has me feeling that way after that ending. I actually went back and read the last 3/4 pages about 6 times because I just needed to process the end of it.

Just in case you missed the news – The Queen of Nothing will now be publishing in November 2019 instead of January 2020!



7 thoughts on “Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

  1. Great review!! I really enjoyed The Wicked King and I’m always so excited when seeing others enjoying it, and the series, too! I can’t believe the date for The Queen of Nothing is so close! I think this might be the first time a series I love is releasing a book sooner than planned and honestly, I’m so here for it.


  2. I haven’t read the wicked king but am dying to read it, your review has just made me want to read it even more , great review ❤️


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