The Wicked King is the sequel to Holly Black’s New York Times Bestselling The Cruel Prince. This is going to be a spoiler-free review of The Wicked King.
I have heard that for mortals, the feeling of falling in love is very like the feeling of fear.
Jude has tricked Cardan onto the throne, binding him to her for a year and a day. But the new High King does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her, even as his fascination with her remains undimmed. Meanwhile, a traitor in the court is scheming against her. Jude must fight for her life and the lives of those she loves, all while battling her own complicated feelings for Cardan. Now a year and a day seems like no time at all . . .
The Characters and World Building
I do feel like there wasn’t that much development from before in terms of characterisation. There were certain developments with some characters that were predictable for me for this reason. It took the thrill of plot twists out of this book because most, if not all, the twists are to do with the characters and the choices they make “unexpectedly”. We basically got the same kind of plot twists we saw in the previous book so it isn’t hard to see them coming the second time round.
The Story Progression and Plot
This brings me to my thoughts about the overall story progression and plot of this sequel. I was bored. The story became extremely political and nitty-gritty in strategy and I just found it really hard to want to keep reading. The ending though did surprise me. There was no shock factor up until that point for me so I think that added to my reaction to it.
I really ship Jude and Cardan and so I was disappointed that we are essentially not only back to square one but beyond even that. Everything is left in absolute tatters and Queen of Nothing is certainly looking like a fitting title for the final book.
Overall Rating and Final Thoughts
Overall, I rated The Wicked King three stars out of five. It just wasn’t the sequel I wanted it to be. I really hope that Queen of Nothing offers me more. I am fine with not getting the happily ever after I want. That being said though, I do want to be gripped. Excited to read from line to line, not bored!