2021 Book Review Book Reviews Fantasy

The Wicked King

Hi! This is just a quick disclaimer that The Wicked King is the book that follows The Cruel Prince in the Folk of the Air series. You can read my full review of the first book The Cruel Prince here. This review may contain spoilers if you have not read The Cruel Prince and are planning to.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Rating: 3 out of 5.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her 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.


The Wicked King was a good book, but it unfortunately was diminished by the shadow of The Cruel Prince. After reading the first book to this series my expectations were really high so I was a little disappointed that this book was not as good as the first. Nevertheless, even with my too high of expectations, the book was really good. The characters never failed to save the story and the plot continues to thicken. One thing that I thought was cool was that the story introduced more of the kingdom under the sea. They contributed more to the main plot than the previous book and that was really cool. Now I really have to finish this series so I can see how the story will end.


After reading this book, I ended up disliking more characters than actually liking them. By the end I really hated Taryn and Vivi (Jude’s sisters). I don’t like Taryn because she has no sense of self worth or independence and does whatever she can to please and fit in. I don’t like Vivi because she’s really oblivious to what her sisters had to go through, she doesn’t seem to care about the wellbeing of people in general, and she was a terrible girlfriend. She’s overall really selfish. Add all of these things together and you get my strong disliking of Jude’s siblings. When I think about it, I never really liked Taryn in the first book either. There’s other characters that I don’t like, but I never liked them in the first book anyway so I won’t really talk about them.

One thing that I am glad about is that some more of the character’s backstory was revealed. You got to read a lot more about Cardan when he was growing up and you got to read a lot more about Val Moren also. This overall gave a lot more context to the story and made a lot of things make more sense.


Overall this book was good and the plot of The Folk of the Air remains intact and amazing. I really wish that the last book of this series redeems some characters so I don’t finish it by hating everyone. One thing that I want to clear up is that even though I don’t like most of the characters, they still made the plot really good in all of the conflict Jude had to face. Although I was a little disappointed with this book by my expectations, looking at The Wicked King objectively, I can see that it really was an amazing book.

Cover Art:

The cover art was made by Sean Freeman!

Let’s Talk:
  • Have you read this book or any others from The Folk of the Air series?
  • Will this series make it to your tbr?
  • How do you choose your next read?

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