"The Wicked King"

“The Wicked King,” by Holly Black, is the captivating, action-packed sequel to the amazing “Cruel Prince.”

Black's new fantasy picks up five months after "Prince" left off, in a world where Jude is the puppet master, having negotiated herself into a position of power controlling Cardan, AKA the puppet.

Jude plans to use her power to help protect her beloved brother and heir to Faerie, Oak. “The Wicked King” centers around Jude playing the dangerous political role of being Cardan’s puppet master and keeping the Faerie lands free of war or destruction, war being what lots in the populace want—many enemies come along to threaten the throne, and the drama is juicy.

Jude used to think she was just a weak human, but after the games she played in “Cruel Prince” she becomes smarter and more powerful than ever.

I love Jude; everyone tries to tell her how weak and mortal she is, but she takes the insults in stride and spits them back out. She’s strong-willed and vicious; her complex character really rounds off the  books for me, as do the lengths she goes to protect those she cares about.

While the action plays out, Cardan and Jude try to ignore the bubbling feeling they have erupting for each other. Their romance is amazing, since both of them are so ferocious and powerful; their growing bond makes for an interesting dynamic throughout the book.

And talking about Cardan! He’s so dark and mysterious and powerful that you can’t help but love him, even if the things he does can seem malicious. He’s had the mask of a cruel prince painted on so long he’s forgotten who he really is, and you really get to see more of him in this sequel—YES! I just want to see him happy at the end of this series.

Throughout “The Wicked King” you never quite know what anyone has up their sleeve or their real intentions, and in the end everything you originally thought was going to happen was completely wrong. So if you’re not into the kind of books that completely twist your mind with deception, then this isn’t the book for you. And the cliffhanger is crazy. So look out for that.

All in all, fans of Sarah J. Maas will devour this book, as I did. “The Wicked King” is so fast-paced and intense you won’t be able to put it down.