The Wicked King by Holly Black
The Wicked King picks up where The Cruel Prince left off. Cardan has been crowned King but he’s still subject to Jude’s true rule. The Kingdom is in turmoil. Some support Cardan, some are slow to accept his crown, and others want to use this time of pandemonium as an excuse to usurp Cardan. Jude must find a way to protect Cardan and his supports. But there are threats from all sides. In this second novel, the main characters are faced with some tough decisions. Whether they should follow their hearts or play the game that has been set in motion.
Most of the characters I covered in my original review of The Cruel Prince. There are not many new players in this book, but we do get a closer look at the Undersea. I liked seeing the new underwater creatures, but they were not memorable.
I struggled with this book. At every turn, I was left wanting more. I was waiting for Jude to take charge. I was waiting for Cardan to defy Jude. I wanted Taryn to stand up for herself. But we didn’t see any of that.
Jude panders back and forth. While it is true no one listens to her commentary and observations, she could do more to have a commanding presence. She may be the right hand of the King, but she does not have a strong voice. She does not take charge, and I constantly find myself rolling my eyes at her predictable actions.
Cardan just comes off as spineless. He did take an oath to listen to Jude and be under her control, but he’s supposed to be intelligent and is capable of tricking her. What happened the the Cardan everyone talks about? The one that finds loopholes and thwarts Judes plans or wishes. I will say that the ending of this book FINALLY had be cheering for Cardan, but it was not a plot twist.
Overall, I don’t think this is a bad story. It’s a quick read and things feel like they start to come together. I feel like Holly Black has A LOT of explaining to do in this next book, Queen of Nothing. But again, the events of this book are predictable. And I wanted to see more of the Fae Realm and its creatures. Sure, we got to see the merpeople in the Undersea, but I still feel like there was not much description. It felt like an event to rush through.