The Wicked King
by Holly Black
The enchanting and bloodthirsty sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Cruel Prince.
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.
Okay, this was AMAZING. By amazing I mean, equally if not better than the first book. Which REALLY surprised me, because how could you get better than all THAT. One word, Cardan. Another word? Madoc.
RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟⭐ 4.7 (I do realize that 4.7 is basically a 5, but I'm more inclined to a four. Than a 5. That makes sense in my brain.)
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! ABORT IF YOU HAVEN'T READ IT YET!
Let's just get something out of the way first, if Cardan was perfection (although cruel and I hated him at times) before, in this one he was amazingly glorious. He really was. Now, I will be completely truthful by saying that I seldom remember the second book of any series. I know, awful, but true. So right about now, I'm legit re-reading the interesting bits to recall them. I just love how my brain works sometimes. Alright, let us dive into the juicy bits:
How Madoc reacted to Jude's betrayal...
Holy H-E double bookmarks! If I was conflicted about him before, now I'm, dead on conffuzzled with him. I truly am. Like, you got betrayed and you kind of (not going to lie) deserved it? But at the same time, it physically hurt ME? Does-Does that make sense? Because let me make myself absolutely clear by stating that his evilness was...warranted. I'm sorry, but it was. Also, TARNAYJO MARRIED LOCKANALAY! AFTER Jude here, got attacked by him and his cronies. I seldom dislike Jude, but that was the stupidest decision she has ever made in her frivolous existence (apart from the fact of injecting herself with poison without telling ANYBODY, because that's you know, smart). What was that decision? Keeping the fact that Lockaleech tried to have her killed under wraps. Pardon me as I throw the book at the wall. Mentally. Not really. Wouldn't want to hurt Cardan in the process. Also, Barkskin is in prison (FINALLY), and still trying to control the High King (because being an insufferable donkey's hide is the way to make that happen). Oh! And Barksin is interacting with the Queen of the Undersea, betrayal, murder, dethroning, the usual. Who would've thought? (sarcasm is strong in that one) Moving on, Nicawitch REALLY, but REALLY got on my nerves. Sure, it's completely and absolutely smart to grab that crossbow and shoot at the supposed love of your life, wait, no, she wasn't aiming at him. She was aiming at a FEMALE that was having an interesting interaction with him. Romantic jealousy, anyone? Seriously though? She didn't know how to shoot and expected the arrow to find its true course? Like, oh arrow of mine, be guided by the greenness of my fishy soul, and find the one I seek to harm. Open SESAME. If I could command my calories to burn on themselves with just putting on shoes, trust me, I would've done it a loooooong time ago. So, how in the WORLD, did she expect to NOT harm the King? At that moment I was starting to get annoyed with a lot of people in this story, but then, BUT THEN...
BOMB ADMITTED THAT SHE WAS IN LOVE WITH ROACH!! Eeeeeeeeekkkk. (light at the end of the tunnel, she was) I cannot begin to explain the happiness this brought to my black ish soul. Then blah, blah, blah, more interesting mumbo jumbo that didn't make me fangirl apart from the fact that Jude is starting to feel SOMETHING for Cardan. Apart from hate and rage, that is. Things happen (one of which being Jude being partly naked and crowned as The Queen of Mirth *belch*) Madoc is still a small amount of infuriating, Cardan and Jude um...They, you know, they um...didn't hate themselves for a bit. So let's dig in to the whole of that, which shall be named The SEDUCTION.
I won't say I hated it because, *giggle* I did NOT hate it. I'll just say this, it could've been left to the third book. They have maybe had, I don't know, three kisses. About five conversations in which they don't talk about the good of the land and such. So I was very surprised when out of seemingly nowhere, THAT happened. I don't condemn that scene in the least, I guess it was a very quick build-up. From 65 to 100 real quick. Oh! And right now, I want the Ghost to turn into a REAL ghost. Yes, ma'am. I do. His betrayal, ugh. I HATED him, cursed at him, threw a pair of slippers at the wall in a tantrum. Jude is kidnapped and taken underwater (color me amazed albeit a bit claustrophobic. And like, breathless) Nicawitch is an idiot, tortures her. Barksunm is an absolute pain in the butt. Even "glamoured" Jude to kiss him. I almost threw up a bit. Torture is done, whatever, Cardan made a deal (great choice *snort*). Jude is back on land! (SO not expected) Cardan is poisoned (I swear, that girl brings death with her...oops. Sorry Valerian), Barksin has the antidote, Jude kills said mosquito incarnate and all is good. But wait, oh no! Jude is exiled. By the King. And did I mention they got married? Out of convenience? And Cardan said she was exiled by order of the crown? And like, she's MARRIED to said crown? Making the connection?
Now that I completed THAT whole messed up summary like the good reviewer I am (I just LEGIT snorted, I cannot with myself) Let me give you my REAL and sarcastic opinions about the book as a whole.
Ze Romance: I would probably give it a 3. Alright, 3.7. There was absolutely close to nothing romantic in this story. Did it have moments where I was SWEATING? Absolutely. Did it have phrases that pleasured my bookish heart? Um...yes. But was it disappointing? Yes, yes it was. It doesn't help the fact that Jude is so dang dead set on doing everything by herself and literally being an annoyance to people who care about her, to THEN have a mental breakdown because "She feels SO alone, and she doesn't feel like she belongs" (excuse my scoff, people). And it may seem like I'm bashing on this book, but I'm not! It was amazing, it truly was, just some things that severely annoyed me. That's all.
Cardan's Power: OH MY GOODNESS ON A STICK, HE MADE A WHOLE NEW ISLAND. Catch me, I have fallen. I cannot get up.
Madoc's betrayal (ping pong game, this is): Tarynuil helped him. That's it. that's all I got to say. She helped him and he helped himself to betray EVERYONE. Loved it. I just, LOVED IT.
I must say, this book clarified a LOT of things, which I appreciate quite a bit. I just hope that Cardan's and Jude's relationship can bloom in the next one. Also, I need Lockalanay and Tyranny out of the picture. Better yet, out of the entire frame. Long story short, it was better than the first one (in some things, worse in others), I still adore Cardan, Jude is...good, feelings will forever be conflicted concerning Madoc.
P.S: I apologize for the whole mess of things presented above, I recently finished it and my emotions are a mix of "WHAT THE HE-", "OH NO YOU DID NOT", and "AWWW, I LOVE YOU OAK!" as of now. In the future I will most likely read over this review and cringe. Right now, my mind is still suffering from turmoil.
P.P.S: Viv is awesome! And Heather is so sweet! Apart from the fact that Viv should've told Heather THE TRUTH.
P.P.P.S: This quote? These quotes are what made me question my ability to function and find someone such as him...
"Kiss me again,” he says, drunk and foolish. “Kiss me until I am sick of it.”
“Perhaps I am foolish, but I am not a fool. You like something about me,” he says, mischief lighting his face, making its planes more familiar.
What? How--what? Am I supposed to be able to breathe after this? Hmm? Am I? Nobody warned me I would need a defibrillator. Nobody.
UPDATE: I give the romance a 4.1, I saw and read some things I had forgotten. Forgive my dumbness. *love struck sigh*