I loved The Cruel Prince, and as soon as I found out about The Wicked King, I had it on my list to read intermediately. The Cruel Prince took me on a wild ride of gray characters, twisty morals, deceptive faeries, and spiky court intrigue – and I feared that The Wicked King might not give the same feeling, but oh, did it deliver!
Characters – I find Jude an incredible character to get behind. She keeps secrets, she’s never boring, and she’s always thinking, and sometime she thinks wrong. She’s gotten herself into such a twisted place, and I love the dynamic that she has with the Faerie world. I also have grown to like Cardan, because rather than the “mean kid” he was presented as in book 1, we get more depth and more “why” and “how” to his character. He’s also keeping secrets and schemes (loved it).
Plot – The plot kept me guessing and kept me reading, and even as I guessed at what might happen, the story twisted in a direction I hadn’t foreseen. THAT is a good plot – when the reader doesn’t see it coming, but then it feels right.
Setting – I love the world that Black has created. I didn’t at first. I thought it was going to be a Disney type of world, but boy did I guess wrong. This world of Faerie is spiky, prickly, and for Jude, it’s like walking on eggshells. Black offers just enough setting that I can see the world, without drowning me in in fantasy setting.
Writing – Black is a talented writer; she knows how to sentence, and she does it well. Each sentence, each thought, each paragraph – it leads the reader on. It’s highly readable.
And, those things I complained about in me review of The Cruel Prince, mainly Jude being too “I’m an outcast,” and her narration butting into the story too much – those things don’t happen in The Wicked King.
So, overall, The Wicked King by Holly Black (Folk of the Air, book 2) gets a 5 out of 5 from me, for its readability, interesting characters, and turning-twisting plot that kept me reading.