The Wicked King by Holly Black
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 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 love/hate thing going on with Cardan and Jude is hitting the limits in this book. Jude remains this human creature doing her best not to drown in a world of wicked faeries. Her family bonds are frayed, and her relationship with Cardan is ridiculously annoying. Cardan has a need to punish even when he likes, it’s awful. I kept reading and that makes me wonder about myself, hahaha.
Still, the love/hate relationship trope comes to life in The Wicked King, it grows into this monstrous elephant until the very end, where it surely breaks Cardan and Jude. I loved Jude’s relentless need to win even when she is outmatched. I so did not love Cardan’s passive aggression. Though, he does have his shining moments.
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