Quotes Galore : The Wicked King (The Folk of The Air #2) By Holly Black

Quotes Galore : The Wicked King (The Folk of The Air #2) By Holly Black


Ah ah ah, we are already well into the new year, and your girl is still just as obsessed about The Folk of Air series by Holly Black. Especially the second installment to the series, The Wicked King

Honestly, there is something just so delightful in finding a gem of a series that just lit that fire under your ass and make you want to stay up all night and toss all responsibilities out the window and binge-read to your heart’s desire.

I find that these days, while there are, obviously, a lot of good book out there, it is undeniably getting harder to find a good book that instantly pulls you in after a few pages and continued to grip your attention all the way to the end. With how easy it is these days to self-publish, and with how mediocre and formulaic fiction novels have become, you understand how it is so hyped and treasured when a book comes along that hits all the right reader-spots.

Of course not everyone thinks this is true, but for my case, The Folk of The Air series, are one of those. 





He liked her anger. Fire, he called it. She liked it when she was angry, too. Angry was better than scared. Better than remembering she was a mortal among monsters. No one was offering her the option of training wheels anymore.


“Is this a strategy game or a sparring practice?” Taryn asked, frowning.


Madoc brought one finger under her chin, raising her head until she was looking into his golden cat eyes. “What is sparring but a game of strategy, played at speed?”



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Watch the blade, not the soldier, Madoc told me many times. Steel never deceives.


“You can take a thing when no one’s looking. But defending it, even with all the advantage on your side, is no easy task,” Madoc told her with a laugh. She looked up to find him offering her a hand. “Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”


“Power,” he said. “Power is the ability to get what you want. Power is the ability to be the one making the decisions. And how do we get power?”


“We learn how to fight well?” she said to say something.


“We get power by taking it.”





You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself that strong.

It will hurt. Pain makes you strong.





I would like to say that he always hated me, but for a brief, strange time it felt as though we understood each other, maybe even liked each other. Altogether an unlikely alliance, begun with my blade to his throat, it resulted in his trusting me enough to put himself in my power. A trust that I betrayed.



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There is only now. There is only tomorrow and tonight and now and soon and never.


“I have heard that for mortals, the feeling of falling in love is very like the feeling of fear. Your heart beats fast. Your senses are heightened. You grow light-headed, maybe even dizzy.” He looks at me. “Is that right?



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“Were you a happy child?”


“I was magic. How could I fail to be?”





“You’re unwinding yourself like a spool. What happens when there’s no more thread?”



“Then I spin more,” I say, carrying the metaphor.





He picks at a piece of horsehair stuffing that is sticking out through the torn fabric. His every movement is languorous. It feels dangerous to rest my gaze on him for too long, as though he is so thoroughly debauched that it might be contagious.


The disturbing thing about Cardan is how well he plays the fool to disguise his own cleverness.


He looks up at me with his night-colored eyes, beautiful and terrible all at once. “For a moment,” he says, “I wondered if it wasn’t you shooting bolts at me.”


I make a face at him. “And what made you decide it wasn’t?”


He grins up at me. “They missed.”





“You think we’re still playing some kind of game,” I say.




“Everything’s a game, Jude,” she says. “You know that. And now it’s your move.”




“I am going to give you orders.”


“Oh, indeed,” he said.


On his brow, the crown of Elfhame’s gold caught the light of the sunset. I took a breath and began. “You’re never to deny me an audience or give an order to keep me from your side.”


“Whysoever would I want you to leave my side?” he asked, voice dry.


“And you may never order me arrested or imprisoned or killed,” I said, ignoring him. “Nor hurt. Nor even detained.”


“What about asking a servant to put a very sharp pebble in your boot?” he asked, expression annoyingly serious.


“So,” I said. “You enjoy being my pawn?”


He grinned lazily, as though he didn’t mind being baited. “For now.”


My gaze sharpened. “For far longer than that.”


“You’ve won yourself a year and a day,” he told me. “But a lot can happen in a year and a day. Give me all the commands you want, but you’ll never think of everything.”


My king, I think to myself. But only for a year and a day, and five months are already gone.


He sees my expression and laughs, a sound full of mockery. I can’t tell which of us he’s laughing at. He hates you. Even if he wants you, he hates you. Maybe he hates you the more for it. After a moment, his eyes flutter closed. His voice falls to a whisper, as though he’s talking to himself. “If you’re the sickness, I suppose you can’t also be the cure.” He drifts off to sleep, but I am wide awake.





Our eyes meet, and something dangerous sparks. He hates you, I remind myself.

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





“You don’t believe that I could care about you, even after you betrayed me?” He watches me with his cat eyes. “I’m still your father.”


“You’re my father’s murderer,” I blurt out.


“I can be both,” Madoc says, smiling, showing those teeth.


If you regret your move, make another. There are games yet to play.



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Once, a position as grand as seneschal would have been beyond my wildest dreams. Now it seems a humiliation. Power is infectious. Power is greedy.


“Oh, I will give you the finest advice anyone’s ever given you. But you will not heed it.”


“Then what good are you?” I demand, about to turn away.


 “I’m an excellent juggler,” he says, wiping his hands on his pants, leaving stains behind. He reaches into his pocket, coming up with a stone, three acorns, a piece of crystal, and what appears to be a wishbone. “Juggling, you see, is just tossing two things in the air at the same time.” He begins to toss the acorns back and forth, then adds the wishbone. A few of the Larks nudge one another, whispering delightedly. “No matter how many things you add, you’ve got only two hands, so you can only toss two things. You’ve just got to throw faster and faster, higher and higher.” He adds the stone and the crystal, the things flying between his hands fast enough that it’s hard to see what he’s tossing. I suck in a breath. Then everything falls, crashing to the stone floor. The crystal shatters. One of the acorns rolls close to the fire. “My advice,” says Val Moren, “is that you learn to juggle better than I did, seneschal.”



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After all, if the insult to me is pointing out that I am mortal, then this is my riposte: I live here, too, and I know the rules. Perhaps I even know them better than you since you were born into them, but I had to learn. Perhaps I know them better than you because you have greater leeway to break them.


“Will you dance with me?” I ask Cardan, sinking into a curtsy, acid in my voice. “For I find you every bit as beautiful as you find me.”





He takes my hand. “Nothing is sweeter,” he says, kissing the back of it,

“but that which is scarce.”





“Whatever you do to me,” I say, too angry to stay quiet, “I can do worse to you.”


“Oh,” he says, fingers tight on mine. “Do not think I forget that for a moment.”


“You believe I planned your humiliation?” He laughs. “Me? That sounds like work.”


“I don’t care if you did or not,” I tell him, too angry to make sense of my feelings. “I just care that you enjoyed it.”


“And why shouldn’t I delight to see you squirm? You tricked me,” Cardan says. “You played me for a fool, and now I am the King of Fools.”



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“You can’t fight the sea,” Locke says philosophically.


Cardan gives a little laugh. “You can fight anything. Winning, though, that’s something else again. Isn’t that right, Jude?”



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Then his mouth is against mine, and my lips part. I close my eyes against what I’m about to do. My fingers reach up to tangle in the black curls of his hair. He doesn’t kiss me as though he’s angry; his kiss is soft, yearning. Everything slows, goes liquid and hot. I can barely think. I’ve wanted this and feared it, and now that it’s happening, I don’t know how I will ever want anything else.





“I hate you,” I whisper before he can speak.

He takes my chin in his fingers, tilting my face to his. “Say it again.” 





It occurs to me that maybe desire isn’t something overindulging helps. Maybe it is not unlike mithridatism; maybe I took a killing dose when I should have been poisoning myself slowly, one kiss at a time.



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He studies me with a not dissimilar look, and all I want to do is walk into his arms. I want to drown my worries in his embrace. I want him to say something totally unlike himself, about things being okay.


He takes a step toward me. “The other night—”


I cut him off. “I did it for the same reason that you did. To get it out of my system.”


“And is it?” he asks. “Out of your system?”


I look him in the face and lie. “Yes.”





“Tell me that you hate me.”



“I hate you,” I say, the words coming out like a caress. I say it again, over and over. A litany. An enchantment. A ward against what I really feel. “I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.” He kisses me harder. “I hate you,” I breathe into his mouth. “I hate you so much that sometimes I can’t think of anything else.”





It’s easy to put your own life on the line, isn’t it? To make peace with danger. But a strategist must sometimes risk others, even those we love.


One of the hardest things to do as a spy, as a strategist, or even just as a person, is wait. So much of winning is waiting.




“Because you love her?” I ask.


 “And if I did? Would you lie to me about my chances?”


“No—” I begin, but he cuts me off.


“I love a good lie,” he says, standing and setting down little stacks of silver coins on the table. “I love a good liar even better, which is to your benefit. But some lies are not worth the telling.”





It’s milky and fragrant, and only under the water can I allow myself to weep. Only under the water can I admit that I almost died and that I was terrified and that I wish there was someone to whom I could tell all that. I hold my breath until there’s no more breath to hold.


Sometimes, when lying on the cold stone floor, I wonder if there’s a limit to what I will let them do, if there is something that would make me fight back, even if it dooms me. If there is, that makes me a fool. But maybe if there isn’t, that makes me a monster.



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Perhaps I cannot be glamoured, but that doesn’t mean I cannot be broken.


Then he takes my chin, glamour in his voice. “Tell me that you’re mine, Jude.”


“I am your creature, Prince Balekin,” I say, looking into his eyes and lying with my whole broken heart. “Do with me what you will. I am yours.”





I said I wouldn’t underestimate you, and yet I did.

I underestimated you, and I underestimated both your ambition and your arrogance.





Fear is terrible, but the combination of hope and fear is worse. I careen between the two, my heart beating so fast and my breaths coming so quickly that my insides feel bruised.


“Never make a bargain with them,” he tells me, taking my hand abruptly. “Not a wise one or a poor one, not a silly one or a strange one, but especially not one that sounds pretty good.”



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“You’re the coward and a traitor. A murderer of your own kin. But worse than all that, you’re a fool.”


“Here is what we want—kill Prince Balekin.”


“I can’t do that. He’s an ambassador of the Undersea. If I killed him, we’d be at war.”


“Then go to war.”





I am shaking. I feel I may shake apart.





“When I met Eldred, he rode up on a milk-white steed, and all the imaginings of my life were as dust and ashes.”


“Did you love him?” I ask.


“Of course I did. Once I met him, all the duty I felt for my family was rendered as frayed and worn as an old coat. And the moment his hands were on my skin, I would have burned my father’s mill to the ground to have him touch me again.”


“Is that love?” I ask.


“If not love,” he says, “something very like it.”



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“There are so many questions I wish I could ask my mom,” I admit.


“What would you ask?” The words slur together, but he gets them out.


“Why she married Madoc,” I say, pointing to the glass, which he obediently brings to his mouth. “Whether she loved him and why she left him and whether she was happy in the human world. Whether she actually murdered someone and hid her body in the burnt remains of Madoc’s original stronghold.”


He looks surprised. “I always forget that part of the story.”


I decide a subject change is in order. “Do you have questions like that for your father?”


“Why am I the way I am?”





If he thought I was bad, I would be worse. If he thought I was cruel, I would be horrifying. I would live down to his every expectation. If I couldn’t have his favor, then I would have his wrath.





“The three of you have one solution to every problem. Murder. No key fits every lock.” Cardan gives us all a stern look, holding up a long-fingered hand with my stolen ruby ring still on one finger. “Someone tries to betray the High King, murder. Someone gives you a harsh look, murder. Someone disrespects you, murder. Someone ruins your laundry, murder.”



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He reaches up and presses my hand to his face. “It’s funny, isn’t it, how I mocked you for your mortality when you’re certain to outlive me.”


“You’re not going to die,” I insist.


“Oh, how many times have I wished that you couldn’t lie? Never more than now.”





“Sweet Jude. You are my dearest punishment.”





“Perhaps I am foolish, but I am not a fool. You like something about me,” he says, mischief lighting his face, making its planes more familiar. “The challenge? My pretty eyes? No matter, because there is more you do not like and I know it. I can’t trust you. Still, when you were gone, I had to make a great many decisions, and so much of what I did right was imagining you beside me, Jude, giving me a bunch of ridiculous orders that I nonetheless obeyed.”


“I wasn’t kind, Jude. Not to many people. Not to you. I wasn’t sure if I wanted you or if I wanted you gone from my sight so that I would stop feeling as I did, which made me even more unkind. But when you were gone—truly gone beneath the waves—I hated myself as I never have before.”



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