Holly Black returns to the blog with the second in The Folk of the Air series, narrated by Caitlin Black
The Wicked King
First – if you haven’t read The Cruel Prince – stop right now – go grab it and read / listen to it first. You’ll be hopelessly lost and really won’t enjoy this second book that picks right up where the first left off and drags us deeper into the political and personal quagmire that is facing Jude than ever you could imagine. And yes, that is not a suggestion. Then – clear your schedule. Because once you grab onto this series, full of very “non-Tinkerbell” fairies and decidedly un-Disney like treachery, you’ll just have to keep reading – putting it down for petty moments like food, sleep and work are far too big an ask. So – are you ready? OK – let’s go. Jude’s deal with Cardan – the ‘acting’ Prince more inclined to commit himself to laying about and finding others to do ‘the hard stuff’, but entirely willing to reap the benefits and keep his one secret close to his heart, fueling his miserable behavior. Yep, he’s acting out and all in his feelings, but unwilling to risk much should that fear he holds close actually be true. And, finding that Jude was far more willing, capable and able (not to mention disposable) of managing the politics, backstabbing and delicate diplomatic responses so often required of a leader, all which equate to work, and lots of it – he’s perfectly willing to allow her to step up.
Jude is one of those characters that you have to admire and even love, for her complexities, her inability to truly share with anyone, and her cleverness (and some luck) are wonderful qualities, and the fact that she does all that she can, determined to make things work and only being closest to her ‘true self’ with Cardan, and is functioning fueled by anger at her situation, fear of the dangers and not a tiny amount of desperation as she is determined to prove herself capable and competent, even as she’s working her way to the top despite her early captive beginnings. Even pairig with Cardan is a dangerous business, one that she doesn’t back down from – OR pull her punches – if she sees something disagreeable and has another path – she’s not above pushing for her own solutions – but always aware of the fact that everything for both could come crashing down should any see that they are not always of one accord. Yes, there are more revelations and moments here to answer questions from the first, but solid character building, a development of the relationship (working and not) between Jude and Cardan, lots of surprises and a cliffhanger that makes the need for the third book a persistent NEED, the story is immersive and wholly engaging in many surprising ways.
Narration is again provided by Caitlin Kelly and she’s added some flair to Cardan and a bit of steely determination to Jude that allows their still-developing characters to feel as if they are growing and changing through each new challenge, success and failure. Keeping a sense of the tension, mystery and emotions clear for both auditory and visceral impressions, the moments that at first feel ‘common’ are often revealed as more important to the overall with a slight change in tone, emphasis or pauses. A wonderful performance that allows the words to clearly present, while building impressions and allowing reader’s imagination and the author’s words to take flight.
Stars: Overall 5 Narration 5 Story 5
Title: The Wicked King
Author: Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #2
Also in this series: The Cruel Prince
Genre: Contemporary Teen Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal, Young Adult
Narrator: Caitlin Kelly
Published by: Hachette Audio, Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Published on: 8 January, 2019
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 20 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible
The enchanting and bloodthirsty sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Cruel Prince.
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.
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.