Book Review: ‘The Wicked King’ Is The Next Great Folk Of The Air Novel

Review by Lauryn Angel

To say that I’ve been a Holly Black fan for years is an understatement. Not the years part, the fan part. I looooove Holly Black’s books, particularly those involving Faerie. As far as I’m concerned, Holly Black is the undisputed Queen of Faerieland, and her latest book, The Wicked King, is further proof that she deserves this title.

If you are a fan of Black, you’ve probably already read the first book in the Folk of the Air series, The Cruel Prince, and the novella released between the two books, The Lost Sisters. If you haven’t read these, I strongly suggest at least reading The Cruel Prince, as you might be a little lost without the context. And if you haven’t read at least that novel, this is where you should stop reading this review, as there are going to be some mild spoilers for the first book.

The Wicked King opens a few months after the cliffhanger ending of The Cruel Prince, after the coup at the coronation leaves most of the royal family of Elfhame dead, and our protagonist, Jude, has placed her greatest enemy, Prince Cardan, on the throne and bound him to do her bidding for a year and a day. That year is burning quickly, and Jude has not been able to accomplish much. Cardan spends his days partying, while Jude pulls the strings behind the scenes. Jude’s actions in the previous book have cut her off from her family – mainly her twin sister, Taryn, and her adoptive father, the red cap Madoc, who both consider her actions traitorous. She does, however, still have her companions in the Court of Shadows, the spies and thieves who help her run Elfhame from underground. Although Jude has grown a lot in the five months between books, she still doesn’t know just who to trust, and her humanity makes her an easy mark in the world of faerie.

Don’t let the fact that this is a faerie tale fool you into thinking this is a light read. Holly Black’s world of faerie is one of deception, darkness, and death. And that’s what makes it so delicious. There are so many twists and turns that I gave up trying to guess what would happen next. And the ending. . . oh, that ending! The cliffhanger in this book is even more shocking than the one that ended The Cruel Prince, if you can believe it. And we’ll likely have to wait another year for the next book – which, thanks to Goodreads, we know has the tantalizingly teasing title The Queen of Nothing. It’s going to be a long wait, but I’m certain it will be worth it!

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