Why is it called the Wicked King when Cardan is Soft AF?

I finally got my hands on the Wicked King this week, and it did not take me long to finish the book. I was surprised that this book looked thinner than The Cruel Prince however, I knew that thinness doesn’t matter when we are dealing with author Holly Black. Now onto my favorite couple, *looks at the smudged ink on my palm* Cardigan and Juice.

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of links and complete a purchase through my bookshop I earn a commission.


Wicked King takes place a few months after the events of The Cruel Prince. Jude and Cardan’s agreement is going strong, Jude makes the political moves and Cardan gets drunk and enforces them. However, Jude is stressing big time because her and Cardan’s agreement is expiring soon, and she has to figure out how to make him stay king until Oak is of age. On top of Jude’s dilemma, her father, Madoc, is still angry she outsmarted him and wants to team up. While Orlagh, the Queen of the undersea, either wants to start a war, or marry her daughter, Nicasia, to Cardan whichever is easier. And Balekin, Cardan’s older abusive brother, is pouting in jail while also cutting deals with Orlagh. Jude, of course, keeps Cardan in the dark about all this drama whilst her and her spy friends make plans.     

Also, Locke and Taryn’s wedding is coming up, and even though Jude hates Locke with all her guts, she ultimately wants her twin to be happy. Although, if you read my review for The Lost Sisters, we all know Taryn doesn’t deserve Jude. Taryn makes up with Jude and brings her some of her things from Madoc’s house, such as her dresses and her old stuffed toys. Jude burns the toys and keeps the dresses because she’s grown. Meanwhile, Vivienne and Oak have already RSVPed to Taryn’s wedding, but having Oak back in Farie is a real nightmare for Jude, who has to make sure her brother and Cardan survive any attempts on their life.

“Kiss me again,” he says, drunk and foolish. “Kiss me until I am sick of it.”

Holly Black Wicked King

As for the romantic side of things, Jude is denying her feelings for Cardan while he is openly teasing her and asking for more kisses. Jude resists thinking Cardan cannot possibly like her in such a way. She chalks up their previous kiss as confused feelings and Cardan’s flirtations as the sayings of a drunken man. However, the two get steamy on a couch, and we could only hope this was the final push for these two idiots to date, but Jude lies to herself about her feelings once again.

I won’t be summarizing the ending of this book, but just know that it’s wild, and you should probably secure your copy of Queen of Nothing ASAP.

My Thoughts and Reflections

I have no complaints about this sequel and give it four stars. Holly Black is a brilliant writer, and she loves to throw off readers. That being said…

That being said… the ending of this book has left me trying to make excuses for Cardan’s choice. I’m telling myself it was to protect Jude and Oak by extension. Does that make me a fool? Maybe so!

I did miss Oak’s shenanigans in this book ever since leaving the Faerie world, he’s matured quite a bit and listens to adults now.

I missed Vivienne too, she never took any of Madoc’s shit and was usually roasting him every chance she got. She doesn’t appear as much in this book, and I do wish she insulted Madoc more while she was there but sigh maybe the next book.

A dramatic re-enactment of me reading The Wicked King

Locke and Taryn are still trash, but I expected nothing different from them. Locke convinced Cardan to give him a position in court, and he doesn’t hesitate to use his position to humiliate Cadan and Jude. Locke is also smarter than Juice and Cardigan because he figures out they’re crushing on each other long before the two idiots do.

Jude gives Taryn a position as her sort of helper after they patch up their relationship. But I have my own little theory that Taryn put a nanny cam in those stuff toys she gave Jude. Luckily, Jude’s smart af and burned them. Taryn also reveals her true colors in this book, again really, I just hope Jude doesn’t forgive her as easily this time around.

“The three of you have one solution to every problem. Murder. No key fits every lock.”

Cardan spitting some Truth

Holly Black Wicked King

Anyways besides all these moments between the characters, what was the most surprising plot point for me was the revelation that Cardigan only behaved so badly to get his father’s attention. Daddy issues am I right. Recall that in The Cruel Prince, Cardan also admitted he would never murder because he isn’t a big fan of death. However, ripping off some kid wings in The Cruel Prince, is cool in his book, so Cardan needs to re-examine his choices. Additionally, Cardan’s mom was too busy living her best life at the palace to care for her son, so the littlest Prince survived off of Cat milk and dressed himself in rags. My heart!

There is also a key scene in which Jude starts daydreaming about Cardan in an attempt to convince herself that her feelings are nonexistent. She remembers a time when she went to go speak to him out at the garden, and the king was practically skipping and smelling the roses.


Although we don’t get to see Cardan scheming and plotting while Jude is in the undersea, I can only imagine he burned another room down. However, since the deal he brokered for Jude’s freedom was bad, I can only conclude he’s soft af and didn’t care about the consequences.

After their steamy night on the couch, Cardigan is the first to bring it up, obviously because he’s trying to date Jude, plus he seems to have no problems pretending to be drunk and asking Juice for more kisses. I say pretending because I know this man has a high alcohol tolerance plus, I wouldn’t put it past him to confess his feelings when he’s sober.

Here lies my case that Cardan is a big softie, and he isn’t fooling me with his actions in the last chapter. Please sign your name in the comments below if you agree that Cardan is soft AF, and not The Cruel Prince or Wicked King Jude has convinced herself of being.

*If you would like to purchase your own copy of The Cruel Prince you can do so through my bookshop link. Bookshop links up readers with small bookstores and every purchase through bookshop supports them, authors, and creators like me through their affiliate link.

Until my next post continue Living in Libros,


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PS. Did anyone catch the Yuri on ice references at the end of this book I sure did hence my Yuri Plisetsky jacket in this photo.

For a while, we just sit and watch the cartoon skater fall in helpless and probably unrequited love with his coach.

Holly Black Wicked King

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