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The Wicked King: The Folk of the Air, Book 2
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Holly Black's The Wicked King continues the story begun in The Cruel Prince. Based on Celtic folklore, the novel presents an original new take on Faerie and its inhabitants, the fey. The threat of violence permeates the plot, which includes stabbings (fatal and otherwise), torture, poisonings, and deadly magical spells. The main characters develop a sexual relationship, but their passion is described in vague terms. Swearing is infrequent and limited to some instances of "bulls--t," "hell," and "damn."
What's the story?
As THE WICKED KING begins, mortal Jude is measuring the consequences of the double-cross she perpetrated on immortal Cardan. He may sit on the throne, but she is able to force him to do as she orders. The spell will last only about a year, though, and Cardan does his best to humiliate Jude whenever he can. Jude faces other threats, including news that someone close to her will betray her. When war erupts between the denizens of the land and the sea, Jude must use all her skills to protect her family.
Is it any good?
The first volume of this fantasy series ended with a crackerjack plot twist, and this volume deftly explores the consequences of getting what you think you want. Jude is a resourceful, brave, and passionate protagonist, driven to prevail over her antagonists, and The Wicked King spotlights her at a particularly vulnerable point. Author Holly Black delivers plenty of magic and mayhem, but the emphasis here is on politics. The Folk are manipulators of the first order, and Black keeps the stakes high as Jude tries to outmaneuver them. There are plenty of surprises and suspenseful set pieces. No one who's fallen under Black's spell will consider breaking it at this late date.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Wicked King uses Celtic folklore to generate the plot. What do ancient myth and folklore have to say to modern readers? Why is fiction about Faerie interesting to modern readers?
Jude and Cardan are attracted to each other, despite being polar opposites. Why do people sometimes choose romantic partners who have different values?
What would it be like to be unable to tell a lie? How would complete honesty affect your relationships with people?
- Author: Holly Black
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: January 8, 2019
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.