BookPage starred review, January 2019
High stakes and heartbreak are at the center of award-winning author Holly Black’s The Wicked King, the second book in the Folk of the Air series and the luscious sequel to her New York Times bestseller The Cruel Prince.
When The Wicked King opens, it’s been five months since 17-year-old human Jude planted Faerie Prince Cardan on the Elfhame throne. Now, she’s struggling to maintain her behind-the-scenes power, and it doesn’t help that Cardan is trying to undermine their deal or that her twin sister’s marriage to the duplicitous Locke comes with its own set of challenges. On top of all that, Jude’s stepfather is strategizing behind her back.
But when the Queen of the Undersea threatens the Faerie kingdom and Cardan’s rule, Jude must spy and scheme to protect her family and her hold on the throne. But Jude can’t foresee everything, and someone is out to betray her. Despite growing up in a Faerie world, Jude is not one of them. And there’s only so much power a mortal girl can wield when fighting monsters.
Fans of The Cruel Prince have been clamoring for this book, and they will not be disappointed. Black ratchets up the action with even more sinister settings, wicked villains, surprising plot twists and her haunting, melodic prose. Cardan and Jude’s infatuation with one another is seductively tense as they continue to fight their feelings. And Jude’s ability to steamroll her enemies with violence and wit offers a particularly feminist high.
The Wicked King is intense and entertaining storytelling at its finest.