The Wicked King by Holly Black, Finished in One Sitting

I really don't understand how could some of you guys manage to wait months for the third installment to come out when I can barely wait a few days for my order to arrive. The Wicked King by Holly Black has wrecked me emotionally and I don't think I could function properly next week without another dose of Jude and Cardan as soon as possible. Please summon some help.

Disclaimer: Please avoid scrolling if you haven't read The Cruel Prince yet, or you can read my review here.

Following where we left off in The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King starts five months after Cardan has been crowned the new King of Elfhame. He may be the face of the ruler, the wicked king behind the throne who threw his brother into prison, but no one knows that the true power lays in Jude's hand.

Bound to her command, Cardan has no other choice but to follow each of Jude's decisions though that doesn't mean he stops trying to humiliate her every time he has the chance to. But Jude doesn't always have the time for that. There's a political game to play, and it's very likely that someone close to her means to betray her.

In my opinion, The Wicked King was crazily good; it was even better and complicated than The Cruel Prince. With faster pacing compared to the previous one, there were too many plot twists and betrayals to count. The one in the ending, especially, shook me to the core and left me feeling desperate. How could it end like THAT and I didn't see THAT? Perhaps, I should've heard a friend's warning that it would be better to binge-read this series once I had already owned all three books. After miserably finishing the last page yesterday night, I instantly understood why.

Jude and Cardan's development was frustratingly slow and satisfying. It was great to find out that the romance parts were not as many as I had first expected and thus more addicting. I still rooted for them both as much as I had done in the first book but sadly I didn't like Jude as greatly here. A part of me couldn't help but feel like now that she had started to taste hunger for power it came to affect her more than she would care to admit; the other part of me could understand her ambition but after numerous times throwing Cardan under the bus I felt like it was too muchJude's ambition was too much. But it doesn't mean that I disliked her altogether though. A benefit of the doubt has been given to her since I still admired how badass Jude was (and in the hope that in book 3 she would make amend and stop being this power-hungry).

I thanked the parts where Cardan's backstory was uncovered. My unasked questions since book 1 had been disclosed and I felt like I could understand him a little more through them. He also started to become more cunning in this book, a trait that wouldn't sit right if not written well but somehow it suited Cardan effectively. The only character I still had yet to comprehend was Taryn. Her motives and actions were still a mystery to me.

In conclusion, I enjoyed The Wicked King more than the first book for all its unexpectancy and twists. The plot felt as dynamic as the characters and all along I actively wondered what would happen next. Just a friendly warning, if you have decided to read The Cruel Prince and loved it, you may want to complete your collection first before jumping into the second installment. Just trust me and thank me later.

Actual rating: 5