This is the sequel to The Cruel Prince, and if it’s even possible…it was better than the first. There is even more “shady business” happening and we see growth in our characters.
You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.Holly Black, The Wicked King
The first lesson is to make yourself strong.
So, we still have Jude who is as pleasant as ever (note the sarcasm please) who now is in a new position. Throughout the book we see her tirelessly working to keep the power that she schemed at the end of the first book. Not only does she have to keep Cardan in check…who we see does everything in his power to make that as difficult as possible, there are tensions between the different Faire lands and tribes. And who has to deal with all of this? None other than our Jude, who by-the-way is the only person who everyone in the Court would like to get rid of.
Let’s begin with our every maturing Cardan:
“You’ve won yourself a year and a day,” he told me. “But a lot can happen in a year and a day. Give me all the commands you want, but you’ll never think of everything.”Holly Black, The Wicked King
Cardan made it very clear to Jude that he would do nothing to try and be a good King. Instead he would relax and “play” at every minute; while, Jude is over there running the kingdom behind the scenes. However, this is all talk. This is so beautiful because Holly Black has effectively written the perfect “wildcard” character. We see that when the occasion calls for it, Cardan becomes a little scary with his assertiveness and he begins to actually care and like being king. But this is so odd because we never know his true intentions. Not to mention he is a bit more powerful then literally ANYONE expected.
“Surely you have noticed, that since his reign began, the isles are different. Storms come in faster. Colors are a bit more vivid, smells are sharper.Holly Black, The Wicked King
Then there is relationship with Jude. Their relationship is full of conflict, angst, “this shouldn’t have happened” moments, “what the heck just happened” moments, betrayal, and heartbreak. But…I love it. You see them grow together and try to strip their armor one piece at a time.
“I wondered if it wasn’t you shooting bolts at me.”Holly Black, The Wicked King
I make a face at him. “And what made you decide it wasn’t?”
He grins up at me. “They missed.”
Now, taking everything about the book together, it’s about 90% suspense, angst, politics, and schemes. Which I love. You see key developments with all characters and not just our two wack couple.
Full of twists and turns I could not put it down. So much happens and when you think something is relatable, something else happens (cue Office Jim stare into the camera). So many scenes were like a punch to face or a stab to the gut. I would randomly just scream; therefore, receiving judgmental looks from my mother. If you thought the first book was cruel–this books is indeed wicked. AND THE ENDING…..
Consider yourself warned.