3/5 stars – I don’t really have a positive way to sum up this book..
Title: The Wicked King
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genre: YA Fantasy
Synopsis: “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.”
So we all know I wasn’t that moved by the Cruel Prince and I’m sorry to say that I was even LESS moved by the Wicked King. Unlike the Cruel Prince, I did not find this book overly enjoyable and only finished it because it was a quick read, I had a day off and I was mildly interested by Cardan’s character.
I think my biggest issue with this one was the writing. I’ve come to the conclusion that I just can’t gel with Black’s writing style in these novels. I find her sentence formation repetitive and unemotional (yes, I understand it’s meant to be somewhat rhythmic/poetic like, but it was literally having the opposite effect for me). It took all the emotion out of it and had me struggling to connect with the characters, world and story line.
I felt like there was no depth or wider picture behind this one. In the Cruel Prince, we got to see more character development and politics, world building and an understanding of the characters’ motives. In the Wicked King, it seemed like Jude was just floundering around doing things without much development or excitement or the complexity that her character’s mind had in the first book.
Speaking of Jude, I don’t think I’ve ever disliked the main character of a book quite this much. She frustrates me a lot. There was something about her character in this book that made me like her even less than in the Cruel Prince, I’m not 100% sure what it was, but I seriously struggled to connect (and associate) with her.
I still enjoyed Cardan’s character. I was disappointed that he didn’t have more development, and he wasn’t wicked (like at all? Except for the ending, but like I can’t blame him because I’d do the same thing if I was in that situation with Jude?), but oh well. At least he was kind of interesting.
I did like the undersea world that we got to glimpse. I thought that was well done, and something a bit new that I haven’t really experienced in a novel before. I kind of wish we could’ve seen and explored a bit more of that undersea world, but either way, I still enjoyed that part of the book.
To be honest, this whole book felt like a draft of a filler chapter that never ended. Until the thing at the end (which I guessed in like chapter three at the beginning of the book – because hello, could it have been any more obvious???!), and the epilogue. I guessed the ending of the Cruel Prince too, but I still didn’t mind it because it was indeed quite clever, the clues were just obvious. In the Wicked King, I didn’t find it nearly as clever, the clue was dropped WAY too early and WAY too obviously, and there weren’t as many twists/reveals at the end to keep it interesting for me.
I know I’m being harsh, and these views are 100% literally just me not being able to connect with the book or the characters and sort of just trying to understand why that was. I can definitely see why others might love this book and I think it had a lot of potential, but it just didn’t quite do what the author was hoping it would (for me anyway). I still found it entertaining and it didn’t involve much thinking to read, so it was the perfect read for my day off in my hectic week and I would still recommend others read this book, but I probably wouldn’t read it again and it doesn’t have me waiting on the edge of my seat for the next one.
What did you think of The Wicked King? I’d love to know, because I’ve heard a lot of mixed opinions about this one and find all the different perspectives/thoughts that people are having on this book really interesting!
Links for the book and author:
Holly Black’s Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/25422.Holly_Black
The Wicked King on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26032887-the-wicked-king?from_search=true