Tag: fan art

Review – The Wicked King

Posted April 5, 2019 by Kate in Book Reviews, Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – The Wicked KingThe Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black
on January 8, 2019
Pages: 338

This exclusive edition contains deleted scenes sure to delight fans and give them a special peek into the world of Faerie!
The enchanting and bloodthirsty sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Cruel Prince.

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.

DISCLAIMER: While we try very hard to avoid spoilers, this one has a few. Since this is the second book in a series and there are so many entwined story lines, I don’t want to ruin any of the many delicious surprises this series has in store.

Found this piece of Jude and Cardan on Loweana Art’s Tumblr. She does beautiful work – be sure to check her out!

I’m slow writing this response, because it’s taken me some time to wrap my head around it. I was out of the country for a hot second, and then I came back and spent way too long trying to make this non-spoilery. As you can tell from the disclaimer above, that didn’t work out. Without further ado, let me present my spoilery, spoilery opinions on The Wicked King.

With the way The Cruel Prince ended, I knew that we were in for some type of shit, but I was absolutely blown away by the twists and turns that Holly Black has built into this story. I should have known, really, that she was going to do this. I haven’t read any of her other stuff, but TCP should have taught me that lesson. Apparently, I was too pig-headed to learn it. So we’re going to do this in a brand new format I like to call, “Things That Surprised That Really Shouldn’t Have”.

First of all, we have Nicasia. I knew the was a princess of the Undersea, but for some reason, I didn’t think that would be relevant. But with Elfhame in shambles after Jude’s stunt, of course it would be. These are faeries. They look for any and all opportunity for subterfuge and superiority, and Jude handed them an opportunity on a silver platter. It was a great thing to have in this book, because it demonstrated a lot of the overarching plot lines in tiny little vignette to answer one all-important question: Just how far will Cardan go to save Jude?

Then there’s the Ghost. I’m here to tell you this one really got me. When Jude started asking him questions and trying to determine his loyalties, it occurred to me that everything might not be as it seemed, but after the events of TCP, I really thought he was going to be on her side. OH BOY. It did nothing but drive the story forward, as I noted above, so I can’t be mad, but I was still bummed when I couldn’t love him anymore. It hurt.

Now. For the family dynamics. Obviously, Taryn’s dedication to Locke was going to be wildly misguided, but to the point of betraying Jude? It just seems so unnecessary. I know part of this world is that no one can be trusted, and you have to constantly be on your toes, but it just felt like one thing too many. That being said, I am interested to see how the whole Locke-Taryn-Cardan-Jude-Madoc dynamic evolves in The Queen of Nothing, because my guess is that the answer is “badly”.

And then there’s Cardan’s whole mommy dearest situation. I’m very excited and very afraid to see how that plays out in TQN. Plus, Balekin. He’s the dumbest smart person written in modern YA fiction. How did he not know Jude wasn’t glamored? How did he think any of this played out with a mortal who could be glamored? It just doesn’t make sense, and he’s smarter than that. Not sorry he’s dead, though.

And finally. The big kahuna. The shock of all shocks, and the thing that completely broke my heart. FUCKING CARDAN BANISHING JUDE TO THE MORTAL WORLD. EXCUSE ME. WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS?! I didn’t even know how to process the ending of this book. I was reading and then that happened and then it was over. I was so dumbstruck that I was completely unable to come up with anything even kind of productive to say. It’s been almost three months since I read it, and that’s still true. So if you ever wanted evidence of a successful shock ending, I guess that’s it. I just have to believe that there’s a reason for it and that she’ll get the opportunity to come back and absolutely wreck Locke. Cardan, however, has lost his right to help.

As I read back through that, it’s kind of five paragraphs of absolutely nothing. That teaches me to mull things over for too long. However, I don’t think anything I wrote in January would have been much better. Holly Black succeeded 100% in turning my brain to mush.

There are a couple of technical bits I’d like to touch on. I think this might just be a problem I have with Black’s writing in general, as I also struggled in TCP, but the pacing feels weird. There are these lulls of world-building or character development that feel a lot longer than they need to be, and then all of a sudden you’re in a mad dash to some tragedy. It wasn’t as bad in this one, but I still noticed it, especially leading up to Hunter’s Moon and between Jude’s rescue and her marriage to Cardan. This could be a taste issue, but it felt pronounced as I was reading.

The other thing is that for as action packed as these books are, they also feel very insignificant somehow. That’s stupid, and I know that, because I can’t stop thinking about them. They infiltrate my thoughts at least a couple times a week. And yet, something about them still feels shallow. I can’t quantify it better than that, so I almost didn’t mention it, but it’s been a very real part of my experience, so I didn’t want to leave it out.

The Queen of Nothing is set to drop on January 7, 2020. The cover reveal was last week, and oh my goodness, look at this thing. SO beautiful! I’m excited and terrified to see how this trilogy wraps up.

If you need a Holly Black fix in the meantime, The Modern Faerie Tales is being re-released as a bindup, and it’s stunning as well. I haven’t read this series yet, but I’m planning to once I acquire this copy.

What were your thoughts on The Wicked King? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment below, or find me on Twitter and Goodreads. Happy reading!


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Top 10 Tuesday: Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With

Posted March 5, 2019 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 10 Tuesday / 1 Comment

As you’ve probably noticed over the last year, we really love doing tags and surveys. It’s a great way for you to get to know us, and they’re fun to do! When we learned about Top 10 Tuesday, it seemed like a perfect way to expand our content and interact with all you lovely humans.

TTT is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and she does a great job curating the prompts and nurturing the community. She has master posts for each week, takes suggestions for the prompts, as well as participating herself. This week’s prompt is from Sara at A Gingerly Review. Be sure to check both of them out!

For this week’s prompt, we both went about it from the characters you’d like to be angle, as opposed to the characters whose situations we’d like to inherit angle. These ladies are dealing with some SHIT, and while neither of us claims to be able to fill their shoes, it would still be pretty damn cool to be able to be them for a little while and inhabit their worlds.

All right, enough blabbering. Here we go!


Feyre – ACOFAS and Chapter 55 Feyre. I couldn’t survive Under The Mountain, but I would absolutely like to be romanced by Rhys. Not even sorry.

Gorgeous Feyre illustration by Alexandra Curte! Check out her Instagram and Redbubble 🌙

Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – I would absolutely like to go to my own wonderland. But definitely a traditional wonderland, not a Seanan McGuire wonderland. Those end so heartbreakingly.

One of Sir John Tenniel’s original illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Ildiko from Radiance – Again…the swoons. Go check out my February wrap-up for more thoughts on this fantasy romance book!

Look how beautiful that cover is!

Jasnah from The Stormlight Archive – Now granted, I’ve only read the first book, so maybe something horrifying happens to her somewhere along the line, but at this point…I would ABSOLUTELY love to be a badass heretical scholar. Sign me up right now. Thanks.

Found this beauty on the Official Brandon Sanderson Fansite, 17th Shard. Check out LittleGreyOwl’sbeautiful pieces.

Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone – If you haven’t read Night of Cake and Puppets, you’re missing out on maybe the most adorable romance ever. Also yeah, I’m referencing a lot of romances, but as a fantasy reader…yeah, most of my favorite characters don’t have a great life. I wouldn’t make it!

Zuzana in marionette form by Black Bird Ink. Scroll through her Twitter and Redbubble for more creations!

Isobel from An Enchantment of Ravens – Guess what, another swoony romance! I would also love Isobel’s artistic abilities.

Illustrations of Isobel and Rook by Iryna Khymych. She has a Twitter and Society6 page for you to peruse, at your leisure.

Rielle from Furyborn – Okay, so I know I wouldn’t be able to be as badass as her, but I would absolutely love to be the Avatar of this universe. I want to control all seven elements. I want the swoony romance. I could do without her inevitable future but like…I can’t NOT want to be her.

It’s been out almost a year, and this cover still takes my breath away!

Mia Corvere from Nevernight – Again, I couldn’t actually be her, but I would like my own shadow cat and assassin abilities, thank you.

This was a print in a FaeCrate box last year, and we both fell in love with it. Hard. Check out Gabriella Bujdoso’s other work on her website, Insta, and Society6 pages!

Cath from Fangirl – I would love to be a successful writer! I would love to be friends with her friends! I would love to have emergency dance parties!

Love this piece of Cath! We weren’t able to find the original source, so if you know, please let us know!

Sabriel from Abhorsen – Necromancy powers and a demonic cat, please and thank you!

Cover art from the Australian edition of Sabriel. By Sebastian Ciaffaglione.


Inej Ghafa from Six of Crows – She’s basically a rogue, and I love it. If I could merge her and Queen of Shadows Aelin Galathynius, I think I’d have my perfect woman crush. Speaking of…..

Inej illustration by Kate Wheeler of Rat Girl Studios. She has a website, DeviantArt, Redbubble, and Instagram for you to follow.

Aelin Galathynius from Throne of Glass – A queen and an assassin. A woman who must learn to humility and strength all at once. I just love her and all of crazy plotting and bravado.

Forever my favorite Throne of Glass cover! Fun fact: I modeled my favorite DnD character after this cover. She, like Aelin, is quite stabby, and doesn’t have a lot of patience for your shit.

Mia Corvere from Nevernight – It’s possible I have an assassin problem, but whatever. They’re fictional, so what does it matter? She’s such a badass, and I love her loyalty to a cause, even when it’s her downfall.

Mia on this PERFECT Darkdawn cover. Out September 3, 2019 – don’t miss it! Art is by Jason Chan.

Feyre Archeron from A Court of Thorns and Roses – I love everything about her, from her artistic talent to her warrior instincts to being mated to Rhysand. Plus, I’d be living with my best friends, which is basically peak success in my world.

I couldn’t pick my favorite, so you get them all. You’re welcome.

Belle from Beauty and the Beast – It’s the library. That’s the whole reason.

I’m a cliche, and I don’t care.

Arya from The Inheritance Cycle – Hello, she’s a dragon rider and an elf a fallen princess risen again. And all of that says nothing of her will of steel. She’s a true queen. In this case, literally.

Arya on a field of green to match Firnen. Check out Ustyzhanina Dasha’s tumblr for more beautiful art!

Lila Bard from Shades of Magic – My original sentence was rife with spoilers, so we’ll go with this: She’s a badass, and she helps save the world. Admittedly something a lot of these ladies have in common, but unlike most of them, she is no queen, she is not some great anointed one, she’s just a girl running from her life in search of something better, and she is INCREDIBLE.

Absolutely flawless Lila art by
Mélanie Bourgeois. You can find her on Twitter, Inprnt, Tumblr, and Instagram.

Cress from The Lunar Chronicles – I think I want to be Cress, because she reminds me of me. I love how she finds herself and leans into her skills even when she feels completely off kilter.

The Russian cover of Cress.

Laia from The Ember Quartet – I spent a long time debating between Laia and Helene or just throwing in the towel and choosing both of them. Ultimately, though, Laia won out. I don’t know why, exactly, it was just a gut feeling. Which I’m sure bodes very badly for me once I read what fresh hell Sabaa has concocted for book four.

Love, love, LOVE this illustration of Laia of Serra. Check out the rest of the artist catalog on DeviantArt!

Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings – It’s Galadriel, people. She is, in my humble opinion, the one true SFF queen. She is beauty, might, and majesty incarnate.

Galadriel is dreamy perfection in this digital art piece. See all of Celtica Harmony’s artwork on DeviantArt.

Well, there ya have it! Who would you want to switch places with? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll be back with another great prompt next week!

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