BOOK REVIEW ✨ The Wicked King by Holly Black

Guess what, friends? This book was *actually* so much better than the first one, if you can even believe me. 🗡🗡

Okay, I’m going to say it: I don’t think Cardan was very Wicked in this one. 

Well, at least, most of the time. I honestly don’t blame him for any of the “Wicked” things he did, though. (If you finished the book, you know what I’m talking about.)

Usually, my reviews don’t have spoilers, but this one has a few minor ones!
There’s a “spoiler section” below, which you can avoid if you don’t want spoilers.

The Synopsis:

From Goodreads:

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.


My Thoughts:

Before I started writing this review, one of my friends asked me if I “had any problems” with this book, and I was like… hmm, basically, no! There wasn’t anything in particular that stood out to me as “bad”. I just flew through the whole thing and didn’t feel much until it all crashed into me at the end. The only things that “bothered me” were plot related, and they made me angry more than anything, but I was angry at the CHARACTERS and not the writing itself. So it’s okay!

Holly Black did a great job at making me scream at some pages.

In other words, while I thought TCP was kind of slow at some parts, TWK was actually so much faster in pace and I loved it. I was surprised, I was happy, I was in a weird state where I felt like my heart had been ripped out…. It was great! Highly recommend!

One of my main complaints was that we didn’t get to see Cardan enough. I mean, The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King – I expected for this series to be, you know, all about him! In The Wicked King, he was in maybe 5-6 scenes. That’s not enough for me. I had the same problem with the first installment, but it was okay back then because I hated him so much back then. Now, I’m just a little upset. 

*slams fist on my omnipresent invisible table* where was my Cardan??

Also, I’ve seen a few other reviews for this book, and a lot of people seem to be saying that Jude and Cardan are in a generally toxic relationship. But here’s how I see it: while Cardan can be a pretty aggressive character, so can Jude. Cardan is terrible, and Jude isn’t that much better. Maybe two morally grey characters deserve to work out their feelings together. That’s all I’m sayin’. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Overall, there were parts when I wanted to scream, parts when I wanted to cry, and even a few scenes that made me question everything that had been going on since the start. 

And then, that ending???

I just love it when books throw so many emotions at me!


If you’ve read the book and you want to see my rants in the spoiler section, then go ahead my friends! I’ve thrown a lot of my feelings in there, so proceed with caution.

*avoid at all costs if you haven’t read TWK* 

  • Some of the twists I mentioned above were good, but… that whole thing about the Ghost being a traitor? I kind of felt like that came out of nowhere. When I want a twist, I want to to make me say, “How did I not see that coming???” rather than, “What? Where did that come from??”
    • Either way, color me completely shocked. 
  • The only other thing I really didn’t like was the way Vivi handled the situation with Heather. Even Vivi should have known better, and the way she revealed Faerie was terrible
    • “Surprise! Are you surprised?” Like, seriously, Vivi? You should have sat her down for an actual talk, my goodness
  • Also, as I mentioned above, I don’t think Cardan and Jude together is a bad thing! They’ve both done some terrible stuff, so it’s kind of like… two villains dating each other! It doesn’t bother me.
    • (But what DID bother me was Balekin trying to kiss Jude. Gross.) 
  • And Cardan being “wicked” in those last few chapters? Don’t hate me for this, but… I think he was right to send Jude away. I mean, it’s better than death, am I right?  
    • UPDATE: So I’ve been thinking a whole lot, and now I’m thinking… what is Cardan was actually Wicked in this book? Like, what if he actually planned the whole thing about marrying/leaving Jude from the moment he stole the ring?
    • Hold on. I think I need to sit down. 
  • Finally, Locke is just terrible. Maybe I “hate” him more than Cardan. 
  • This bullet point is a decoy in case someone who doesn’t want spoilers looks at this end part.

*looks around to see if anyone’s still reading*
Okay, the spoliers are over. 


My Rating:

I… I don’t even know what to feel after that ending. Am I angry? Am I pleased? I have no idea, but I liked it.


Rating: 4 stars out of 5, because it was great and I felt so many emotions.

Bring me the next book immediately.

netflix and books-33

Have you read this book? What did you think? Did that ending kill you, too?
I want to hear all of your thoughts!

(PS: Do you like my new star graphics? Is it too much? ‘Cause you can tell me if it’s too much, don’t worry about my feelings, okay?)


Previous series reviews:


You can also be my friend on Goodreads! 📚

Happy reading, everyone! 😀

(And don’t forget to keep an eye out for my The Folk of the Air Book Tag tomorrow! 😉 )Starry Sky Books-13



15 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW ✨ The Wicked King by Holly Black

  1. I don’t think Cardan was necessarily wrong at the end either, and that made the end way less “dramatic” for me. Like, Jude is sitting around plotting how to get back because she think it’s very important that she’s in charge because otherwise the whole kingdom will fall apart and…it’s not true. I get that part of her character is that she’s blind to the fact other people are competent and thinks she needs to shoulder all responsibilities herself instead of trusting others and delegating. But to the reader it seems pretty clear that Cardan might be a decent king and if Jude just gave up and lived a normal life with Vivi, the kingdom would probably do quite fine without her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Cardan’s last action was not very “dramatic” for me either, but what made it surprising for me was all of the things that led up to that. I just wanted Jude and Cardan to be happy, you know?

      But yeah, I also think Cardan can do things on his own now, especially because he actually enjoys being king. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely agree about Jude and Cardan’s relationship. They kind of are perfect for each other because they are both schemers! Also now that Cardan pulled one over on Jude they are on even footing, so they could probably have a real relationship now? Now that one isn’t controlling the other? (fingers crossed!) The only problem I had was the “I couldn’t breathe because he was so close” trope used because Jude is stronger than that! I want her to fall in love but she doesn’t seem like the fluttery, forget herself type! She needs to take his love and own that shit! Great review 😀 (I also had an issue with how Vivi handled Heather!)


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