Review: The Wicked King
Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)The Wicked King by Holly Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fast-paced romp in Faerie. I read this whole book in a day and a half, and I can't wait to see how the story ends in the final book. A word of warning: like many middle books, The Wicked King creates more questions than it answers, so you may want to pick up the third book before you dive in to save yourself from my current frustration.

Character & Voice:
The characters are where Black's story really shines. Each and every character in her story is unique, with rich histories, individual motivations, and compelling personalities. Even the characters I don't like pull me into their stories and enrich my reading experience.

As in the first book, the main character and narrative voice is Jude, a mortal taken to Faerie as a child and raised by her parents' killer. In this book, she is the seneschal of the High King, Cardon. Jude is already quite hardened from the events of book one, so her character feels more consistent than it did in Cruel Prince. She is still proud and head-strong, and she still makes some decisions that make me want to shake her, but her motivations are clear and believable.

The secondary characters are expanded upon in this book. We see a lot more of Cardon's backstory and get to know him a bit more as a person. We also get more insight into the members of the Court of Shadows. Jude's family remains about the same. Her father, Madoc, is still the General with his eye on becoming the power behind the throne, but now he sees Jude as standing in his way. Her brother Oak is in the mortal world with her sister Viv. And Jude's twin, Taryn, who remains my least favorite character, completes her marriage to Locke and proves she is every bit as conniving as I thought her in book one.

World building:
While Black's world remains rich and engaging, there was not a whole lot added in this second book. Jude spends some time in the Undersea, but she sees little of it. Other than that, most of her time is spent in the palace. We do get a little insight into the Tower of Forgetting, the prison where Cardon's brother, Balkin, is locked.

Language & Mechanics:
Black's writing style is smooth and clear. She expertly drops just enough details to keep the reader grounded and engaged while never coming across heavy-handed. I didn't find any noticeable mistakes, so I was able to read straight through without interruption.

Overall, I love Black's writing and the story she is telling with this series. I'd recommend this book for readers who like coming of age stories, dark fantasy, and love-hate relationships.

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