review and cover mani: the wicked king

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

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. 


Oh Jude and Cardan, how I’ve missed those two crazy kids. Only by crazy kids I actually mean ruthless and ambitious Faerie conquerors. Granted, one was more willing than the other, and in THE WICKED KING, the mess Jude and Cardan left in their wake came back to haunt them big time. Naturally, that was bad for them and awesome for readers because hello webs of deceit!

OwlCrate special edition: Throne art © 2018 by Toby & Pete | Crown art © Rost9/Shutterstock.com
Photo-illustration by Sammy Yuen | Jacket design by Karina Granda
Jacket © 2019 Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Holly Black is likely a member of the Fae herself, because her mind works on a higher frequency than mine. The true master of Fae trickery, with an uncanny ability to twist truths so they’re as close to lies as they can be, Holly Black outdid herself in THE WICKED KING. A series of terrible deals led to Jude and Cardan taking the throne, but each came with a price and holy cannoli, those prices were huge. Like a chessboard of betrayal and treachery, made more challenging by personal relationships and loyalties, each chapter had roughly 99 problems with few solutions in sight. The vast majority of those problems became Jude’s responsibilities to deal with, but what else had she expected when she assumed the role of puppet-master for a puppet who wasn't jazzed about his lack of autonomy?

The first half was a slower burn than I expected, because THE CRUEL PRINCE was essentially non-stop madness, but it set the stage for the rest of the story. Also, because this was the middle book, there needed to be some setup for future conflict, along with a deeper dive into Jude’s character. First person POV kept me inside her devious brain and I really enjoyed seeing her lust for power turn into an addiction. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and Holly Black did a great job of showing that shift because the truth remained that Jude was a mortal trying to control Faerie and, well, the Fae will always be a few steps ahead. Watching things unfold while getting more and more complicated had me burning through pages like a madwoman by the end, which was BANANAS. 

That’s about all I can say without spoiling the first book because it’s a series you simply must read and I don’t want to ruin a single glorious moment. If you want some fantasy goodness with a dark edge, look no further than The Folk of the Air series. Only approximately 355 days until #3. 

Also, and this is neither here nor there, but I couldn't help but sing a variation of Madonna's Material Girl while reading:

Cause you know that they are li-ving, in a Faerie world, 
but Jude is just a mor-tal girl...

Either you're welcome for this, or apologies for getting a song stuck in your head 😂


For this mani, I used:

Essie – after school boy blazer

FingerPaints – Black Expressionism and Paper Mâché

Picture polish - instinct

China Glaze - Born To Rule and Chroma Cool

OPI - CIA = Color is Awesome, It's a Boy, and matte topcoat

Glisten and Glow - Mother Terra 


  1. Yesss I love Holly Black's faerie books and this series is no exception! THAT ENDING THOUGH. Shocking. I love how dark she made Jude get, it was brilliant. BTW, got my copy of What's Left Between Us! Thank you!

    1. Sorry got caught up on the book. Love all the blues in the mani!! The throne looks like it was hard to do! And love this coverrrr, I have the regular one, which is also beautiful!

    2. Elyse!! Sorry for my terribly delayed response! SERIOUSLY THAT ENDING. Like, WHAT?!? What the heck's gonna happen in book three?!?! This series is so awesome, except for the heartbreak and agony haha! I'm super proud of this mani and yes, the throne was a real challenge but I love how it turned out. Especially the water. And yay for getting your copy of What's Left Between Us! I hope you love it!!

  2. You put so much detail in to your nails. That they always look amazing.


    1. Thank you so much, Amy!! Sorry for taking so long to reply!! 💜


Whattaya got to say about that? *waits*

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.