7 Weleful Things about Holly Black’s “The Wicked King”

“The Wicked King”

The Folk of the Air #2

by Holly Black

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Jude Duarte, kingmaker, has been secretly ruling Faerie for five months. Five months of politics, meetings, parties, correspondences, petitions, training, and banquets all while keeping the reluctant High King Cardan, in line and trying to find a way to extend their bargain so she can keep her power. But then Jude finds herself in the Undersea and captive to Orlagh, Queen of the Undersea. With no means to escape, Jude must hope that Cardan tires of ruling without her help and comes to rescue her before he loses the kingdom to his murderous brother Balekin.

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7 Weleful Things about Holly Black’s “The Wicked King”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Characters

Characters in The Folk of the Air series are complex, believable, and relatable. Not one character is absolutely good or evil. The main protagonist Jude is power hungry and manipulative. Taryn, her good-natured, well-behaved sweet sister betrays her for a boy. And even Balekin, who is mostly an evil bastard, has some redeeming qualities.

2. The Undersea

Faerieland in The Folk of the Air is enchanting and magical. Filled with countless beings of all shapes, sizes, and colors, it is apparent that Holly Black was inspired by many different myths, legends, and folklore about faeries. In “The Wicked King” readers get to experience more of the land of Faerie and get to see the world of the Undersea and more of Orlagh’s merpeople and selkies.

3. Writing

Holly Black keeps a fast pace in “The Wicked King” with political intrigue, deceptions, and manipulations. Readers are left not sure on who to trust and trying to figure out who is pulling the strings on whom. With a fantastic imagination, Black blasts us through this Faerieland adventure that is hard to put down.

4. Cardan

Cardan really starts to grow into a more likable character in “The Wicked King.” Not only is he embracing not being cruel but he begins to understand that as a king, he does have some responsibilities to his people. And thankfully, it seems that the land accepts Cardan.

5. Jude & Cardan

Probably this readers favorite aspect of The Folk of the Air series as she is a sucker for romance, the relationship between Jude and Cardan is exhilarating and frustrating. Both of them have feelings for each other but are both so afraid of rejection and getting hurt that they are constantly denying their feelings and are pretty volatile towards each other. And then without talking about their feelings they just went ahead and got married. Idiots.

6. Balekin

This reader would like to take a moment to celebrate that this asshole is dead, hoorah! Manipulative, sadistic, murderous, deceptive, abusive, the list could go on. Balekin was clearly a villain and yet, Cardan couldn’t bring himself to have him executed. This shows how unmonstrous Cardan actually is and that for all the outward appearance of being cold and uncaring, he is actually soft-hearted and feels deeply. It also reminds readers that it was Balekin who took Cardan in when he was abandoned by their father because of a prophecy.

7. The Queen of Nothing

Jude’s adventure concludes in Book 3 of The Folk of the Air series, “The Queen of Nothing.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

OwlCrate Book January 2018: “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black

“The Cruel Prince”

The Folk of the Air #1

by Holly Black

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Stolen from the mortal lands, Jude and her sisters are brought up in Faerieland and it is not all that magical. Faeries are cunning, manipulative, and love playing tricks especially on mortals, which they generally hate. No longer belonging to the mortal world, Jude learns to navigate their world and play their malicious games. But then the High King is killed and Jude finds herself caught up in a web of intrigue and a bloody political coup, which turns her life upside down all over again.

OwlCrate Book January 2018: “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Setting

While most of The Folk of the Air series takes place in Faerie, the world includes our modern mortal world as well. It is actually relatively easy for faeries to travel between the two realms allowing characters to go back and forth without consequences. This was a fun change from a fantasy novel being placed in a mythical land in which our world didn’t exist. Reminds me of Labyrinth.

2. LGBTQ

As always, I appreciate any author that includes positive, normalizing inclusion of the LGBTQ community in their novels. In Holly Black’s Faerieland, LGBTQ relationships appear to be accepted and Jude’s sister Vivi is actually in a serious committed relationship with another woman.

3. Sisterly Love

Overall, the three sisters, Jude, Taryn, and Vivi are there for each other and really show sisterly love. Throughout “The Cruel Prince” they are each other’s confidants, advocates, and counselors. They give each other space when needed, understand it when one of them has a secret that they are unwilling to share, and are willing to help each other with no questions asked.

4. Cardan

Cardan is an intriguing character, while he appears to be cruel there is an element of reserve, like he doesn’t actually enjoy being mean. He does terrible things but isn’t quite the monster his brother Balekin is and there may be hope for him to be better. It appears that Cardan is a product of his upbringing, as we all are, and with being abused, ignored, and taught to be ruthless, this is all he knows how to be. Perhaps free of his family he can become something different.

5. Emotional

“The Cruel Prince” pulls at the emotional strings, especially conflicting emotions. Madoc’s fatherly relationship with the girls, even though he murdered their parents. Taryn’s betrayal of Jude with Locke, even though they are sisters and twins at that. Cardan’s cruelty and then seeing him being beaten. Dain appears to be a fair and just prince and then he has Jude stab herself for making a mistake. Then there is Cardan wanting Jude but being repulsed and ashamed for his feelings. Holly Black creates an emotional whirlwind between her characters and one doesn’t know how to feel about anyone.

6. Surprise Twist

Holly Black did an amazing job of slowly revealing Jude’s overall plan to have Oak become High King. I didn’t realize who was going to be crowned until Cardan knelt before Oak, it was a surprising twist but makes total sense for Jude’s end game. Looking forward to seeing how this dangerous gamble plays out.

7. The Wicked King

As Cardan is now High King and in a binding agreement with Jude for another year, Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air series continues in “The Wicked King.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.