The Wicked King by: Holly Black

Summary: 

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.

The Review:

Oh, it is so good to be back in this world, created by Holly Black. The Wicked King is the second book in the Folks of the Air series, and it dives even more deeper in the tretrachious world of the Faeries.

The Wicked King picks up a little bit after The Cruel Prince with Jude dealing with the High King of Faerie, Carden, who I can say kinda hates and kinda loves. Oak, her younger brother sent away to be protected, and her sister Taryn, set to be married to Locke, and Balekin locked away.

From the first chapter, you get a great sense of Jude’s character. She sees the world of Faerie, as if it is a game to her, with her trying to take power from Carden, as he is the new High King. The political intrigue is what really makes the book stand out from other fantasy novels. It almost feels as it is a chess game that Jude is trying to win.

The chess game now comes with a new pieces of the chess board in the form of Orlagh, the Queen of the Undersea, and Nicasia, her daugher. I loved the introduction of the Undersea, it added so many layers to this already amazing story, with Nicasia, set to be engaged to Carden and Jude finding a somewhat challenger to her quest for power. It really shows how great of a world builder Holly Black is, and adding more layers to this already expansive world.

A big theme of the book is power and what many would go through to achieve power. With Jude she was taught from Madoc, her semi-adopted father, to learn about how to attain power and also how to keep power, which what she is trying to do throughout. Even though Madoc, isn’t really in Jude’s life,  based on the events of that took place during  The Cruel Prince, you could still sense his presence.

In regards to Jude and Carden. I think that is the textbook definition of enemies to lovers done extremely perfectly. Their dialogue throughout the book is amazing. Even though they hate each other, and I mean really hate each other, you could tell that in the back of their mind, they want each other so badly. Even some of Jude’s inner dialogue about that is funny.

With the cliffhanger. My god, why is wait for the next book so long? I need to know what happens next.

In the end, The Wicked King, was a fantastic read that added so much layers to this already great universe. With even more political intrigue, I could not put this book down. Also filled with rich and lustful characters that I cannot wait to see how the story continues.

Grade: 5/5

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by: Holly Black

Summary:

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Review:

The Cruel Prince was the first book I read by Holly Black, and since I loved that book so much, and I cannot wait for The Wicked King to come out, I decided to start reading some of her early work.

This is a stand alone, which is very unusual for me to read, because I do like reading series most of the time, but this one caught my eye because it was about vampires.

In this book the Vampires lived in a sort of closed off place away from the rest of the world in a place called Coldtown. I like that within the story, Vampires were basically the product of a plagued. But not only does Coldtown inhabit Vampires but also humans who have been bitten but not turned yet. With her writing, Holly Black does a good job in describing Coldtown to the reader. I also love the Coldtown reality show, it really adds to some to the meta humor.

I also love the first chapter. It had a really good eerie feel to it, in which Tana wakes up and sees a whole bunch of corpses from a late night party, and her confusion and dismay for the events that have been taken place. Like I said earlier, it is a great testament to her writing and her lyrical style.

A weak aspect I had with the book, was mainly its characters. Particularity Tana. I didn’t really feel a connection with Tana, like I did with other YA protagonists. I think a lot of her story arc took place around her. Some aspects I did like, was her relationship with her mother, and feeling that her mother’s death was kinda of her fault even though it wasn’t in the end.

There is Aidian, Tana’s ex boyfriend. I didn’t feel like he had an arc and was more of a plot device just to get Tana to Coldtown, to try to get him some help because he was bitten.

Gavriel, is sort of the Vampire bad boy, who has to guide Tana through Coldtown. I did like his backstory and his relationship with his maker, Lucian. I did really like his story line and I kinda wish his character was a bit more fleshed out.

I thought some of the other supporting characters were fine, like Valentina, who I really enjoyed reading about and Jameson.

While I did enjoy the book, I did feel that it wasn’t as good as The Cruel Prince. I kinda wish this book wasn’t a stand alone, and we could learn more about Coldtown, the Vampires and the Vampire hunters. The ending felt sort of rushed because of it, with Lucian a pretty cool antagonist being nothing more than a monster of the week.

In the end, I enjoyed The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Holly Black’s writing was really good and her descriptiveness helped really drive in the setting. I felt the characters were not as fleshed out as her other character’s and I really felt more stories set within this universe would have fleshed them out a lot.

Grade: 3.8/5

 

Hype or Like Friday: The Cruel Prince review

Happy Friday everyone, and here is a Hype or Like Friday book review and the review for The Cruel Price by Holly Black

Hype or Like Friday is a meme created by JillianLarkin, and Britt to discuss about hyped books and see if they’re hyped up or not. There would be book of the month that you can read, and the post your review for it on the end of the month, then rate it whether it’s a hype it or like it.

Summary:

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

The Review:

I was very excited that this book was chosen for Hype or Like Friday, so it gave me  great excuse to read this book. I haven’t done a Hype or Like review in a while so I am glad that it is this book. Also I was able to meet the author when she came to Boston last week.

The book is a semi modern fantasy, which includes the moral world, which a the modern world and also the world of the Fae. I like the inclusion of the mortal world mainly because I usually don’t see the modern world within the world of the Fae, unless its Lost Girl.

Jude and her twin sister Taryn, were brought into the Fae world after their parents were murdered and was taken in by their parents murderer, Madoc. Years later after spending some time in faerie, she of course wants to be seen as more than just a human, because in faerie humans are always looked down upon, even amongst her classmates.

Jude, is a great character. I like that while she doesn’t delve into an anti-hero, she does isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty when the time comes. Even though she is a human in faerie she refuses to put up with anything that the fae throw at her. She also tries to have a good relationship with her sisters; Taryn and Vivi and also Oak, who is sort of her step brother.

Throughout the book, Jude is wants to become a knight, but being a human is the only thing that is stopping her. She becomes a spy for Prince Dain, one of the princes up for the crown, and she begins to learn a lot more about the kingdom. She learns about what the other princes; Baelkin and Cardan are planning.

I also through the world building was really great. It showed a lot about the faerie, and how the everything is run, with High Courts, along with Kings and Queens. I also like how it including the politics that is within the faerie world which made it seem as if it was a political thriller with a lot of great twists and turns that practically kept me guessing until the final page.

A lot of the characters aren’t exactly black and white, which is a huge positive. Morally grey characters makes those characters a lot more interesting, mainly with the villain, Madoc, who raised Jude and her sisters. While he is of course the villain in the story, you kinda see where he is coming from and it makes him compelling. Most of the members of the High Court, all have their own schemes, and it reminded me a lot of Game of Thrones  in which there are so many sides.

In the end, The Cruel Prince was an excellent first book to a series. It had great world building and also character development. The use of morally grey characters makes the book a lot more interesting, after the cliffhanger this book had I am excited to see where this book goes.

Grade: 4.7/5

Use this when liking a book on the list.