REVIEW | The Wicked King (Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

Name: The Wicked King (Folk of the Air #2)
Author: Holly Black
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Format: Hardback
Source: Waterstones Pre-Order
Rating: ★★★★★
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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.


Much like the majority of the book community, I fell deeply in love with the story of Jude Duarte in The Cruel Prince last year. Much like the majority of the book community, I waited avidly for almost 365 days until I could get my hands on this bad boy. And boy did I devour it when I did.

“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”

I’ll admit to you now, my hands are still shaking as I type. I’m also terrible (as I’m sure you all know) at writing reviews as soon as I finish a book. But here we are, perhaps an hour after reading the closing sentence. My biggest thing I have to say is that Holly Black is not only the Queen of Faerie, but also the Queen of Sequels. I did not think anyone could top The Cruel Prince and yet here we are with an absolutely shocking, dark, sequel full of twists and turns that had me guessing from the get-go. I cannot breathe. I’m not sure I did breathe while reading the final hundred pages or so.

“It seems I have a singular taste for women who threaten me.”

One thing is for sure, there are so many snakes in Faerie that I did not know where the next betrayal was coming from. It was like playing a game of chess but all the pieces look like pawns until you realise they’re actually all queens.

  • Jude & Cardan’s relationship – the sexual tension, the trust, the lack of trust, the friendship, the hatred, the ‘kiss me until I’m sick of it’, the commands, the control, the lack of control. I don’t know but everything about this pair is golden.
  • The backstabbing – so much betrayal. Like I said, I could not have guessed what was coming next.
  • The Undersea – we finally meet Queen Orlagh and her court and if you know me, you know how much I love everything to do with the sea. Holly does not disappoint.
  • Jude’s fashion – sub-point completely unrelated to how good the book was, but honestly, every power move she made with each badass outfit just makes me require fan art of every scene.
  • The cliffhanger – the fact that I am going to have to wait another 365 days for Queen of Nothing is killing me already.

Representation: LGBTQIA+ (strong allusions to characters being bi and/or pansexual)
Content Warning: entrapment, slavery, graphic animal death, violence, mild sexual content

TL;DR: This book was everything I needed and more. If you loved The Cruel Prince, you will go insane for this book. Give me Queen of Nothing yesterday.

Have you read The Wicked King yet? What did you think? Link me to your review in the comments!


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8 thoughts on “REVIEW | The Wicked King (Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

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