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.
I have to say that I remember really enjoying The Cruel Prince. I re-read my review of it, and while coming across a little harsh, I still stand by it. I felt, in short, that I just really didn’t like the main character, Jude, but the surrounding characters, mainly Cardan, were really well written, and that’s what kept me interested.
So, naturally, my expectations for the second book were relatively high, hoping for some character correction with Jude. But, unfortunately, I just don’t think we got that.
In fact, I think we added on another issue — the pacing. I understand that some people want to go into a book where one thing after the other happens sentence by sentence, but this sequel, to me, just seemed so poorly paced, it was almost ridiculous. I feel we spent a good 150 pages getting aquatinted with everyone again, while having 20 pages for conflict build up, 30 pages with the actual conflict, and the rest just winding down to the ending.
Cardan, again, was the best character, but I felt we hardly got to see him. Jude remained annoying, and the story ended with a “cliffhanger” that, I will admit, I didn’t see coming. But with such major pacing issues, as I felt this book had, I’m just not sure I want to continue with this series. We’ll see. The thing is, is I don’t really know if I should be blaming Black here or her editors.
In the end, this book was enjoyable, just not Black’s best.
Have you read The Wicked King? What did you think? What’s your favorite Holly Black book? Let’s chat int he comments!