Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

44428899 Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to. Jude learned that lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now, as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time, determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines, she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And when a terrible curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity….

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to the Folk of the Air series. 

4.5 Stars

WARNING – SERIOUS SPOILERS FOR THE CRUEL PRINCE AND THE WICKED KING. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

I’m feeling all kinds of anxious right now. This book you guys.  I am reeling, I am screaming – I am OBSESSED. And, I quite possibly have no idea what to do with myself now that this series is over. I mean, these books were just too darn short! I need more Jude and Cardan! I need more Taryn! I need a spin-off with Vivi and Heather in the mortal realm.

I need air.

Breathe Lexie – breathe.

*Sighs*

Okay, let’s try and be coherent about this.

As you can probably see, I’ve just finished The Queen of Nothing and I’m dealing with a lot right now. Basically, The Queen of Nothing was almost perfect and I want to start this series all over again because it’s really something else. I mean, I can’t even tell you how anxious I felt during this entire book. Like, if you thought The Wicked King was tense than think again because jdfbgoerijhdf;qwkhbgoweiaehf[ewugrbpqwpjfpeiufh[shgoweiupasdj[fudigffpdajhsfgoqewuihf[q.

Anyway, The Queen of Nothing opens with some context into Cardan’s character: a mysterious and seriously vague prophecy that foretells Cardan being the damnation and ruin of the crown. Yikes. And that basically sets both the scene and tone of the entire book.

But before we can even comprehend what that might mean for Cardan and Jude we are thrust into Jude’s new normal, living as the exiled Mortal Queen of Faerie. If you think Jude’s banishment to Maine is bad news plot-wise you’re 100% wrong. Before we can get our footing we’re off, following Jude as she sets off to work. With no social security number – you know, being presumed dead and all that – Jude is essentially working for the Faerieland mafia and I freaking loved every second. This is the Jude I’ve come to love; a morally grey woman who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. I mean, the girls got gumption, okay?

But Holly Black doesn’t allow us to get too comfortable because shortly after some cannibal redcap action, we are off, back home to the dangerously corrupt Court of Faerie. And that’s when the real fun begins.

I’m going to start off by addressing the elephant in the room and that is to say that The Queen of Nothing is short. I’m talking ridiculously short. As in just-clocking-in-at-300-pages short. I was worried, okay? There was a lot to sum up and I wasn’t about to be left, seething with a bunch of plot holes and unanswered questions.

 The verdict?

There was no need to worry. [Phew!]. I mean, at this stage I should have known that Holly Black is a certified master when it comes to storytelling. The pacing was perfection as we are led, like lambs to the slaughter through plot twist after plot twist. The action doesn’t let up, not even for a moment so don’t plan on catching your breath anytime soon. And, speaking of plot, man are you in for one wild ride. The Queen of Nothing is never predicable and chock-full of politics, shifting alliances and schemes within schemes within plots – basically everything we’re come to expect and love about this series.

And now for the characters.

I’ve seen a lot of reviews arguing that Cardan and Jude acted out of character during the Queen of Nothing. Now, because of spoilers, I can’t really get into why I don’t agree. I know, I know but trust me on this – you don’t want to be spoiled. I honestly think that the seeds were there all along though. I have no complaints on that final nail-in-the-coffin plot twist or the bittersweet ending. I was 100% satisfied.

Anyway, as we’ve established The Queen of Nothing opens with Jude, bitter and resentful but bidding her time in the mortal realm.  Can I just say that I loved her character growth? She’s dark, she’s morally grey but she also has a heart of gold. As far as anti-heroes go, Jude is something else and I have so much respect for her struggle for power. She’s so unapologetically human and I lived for her newfound relationship with Taryn. Yay for sister dynamics!

And Cardan, *sighs* oh Cardan – I am 100% certified trash. Do with me what you will.

I have to acknowledge that I never would have thought I’d come around to this sassy little cinnamon roll. You all know that when I first read The Cruel Prince I was so not here for what I deemed a bland, trashy and seriously toxic relationship. It’s called character development, Lex. Man did I eat my words because I was basically screaming for them to get together. And Holly Black does an amazing job of really making you beg for it. The way she builds the tension between them is earth-shattering. Tension aside, I loved peeling back Cardan’s layers in this one. After three books we finally get to glimpse Cardan’s soft side. Seeing just how gentle he could be with Jude was EVERYTHING. I mean, his little touches, the small gestures – that inevitavle reunion…

Like I said: trash.

But, this review is getting painstakingly long and I need to start wrapping this incredibly twisted series up. Believe me, we’d be here until Holly Black’s next release if I were to keep going – and I could. I could talk about Madoc and what could only be described as literature’s most dynamic, most compelling father/daughter relationship. I could talk about Taryn’s arch and how she, unapoligetically, became one of my favorite characters. I could talk about how much I adored Grima Mog, how much I despised Jarel and Nore, how my heart broke for Heather…

Instead, I’m going to finish by saying that I owe a lot of my bookish friends a big thank you. In 2018 I was prepared to ax this series and write The Wicked King off. I wasn’t here for the school-yard bullying or the political intrigue. I didn’t see the appeal. I was obviously blind. The Folk of the Air grew on me like a weed and I’m so glad I gave it that second chance. You told me to keep going. You promised me it got better. You were 100% right – I can’t recommend this series enough and I owe you one.

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8 thoughts on “Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

  1. Ik wasn’t this book so short?? Like I wasn’t expecting it to be so brief! Personally I liked the first half of this book more than the second.. but still am obsessed w this series! Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jamie! I’m with you there – the first half was just so dang good! I loved seeing Jude bide her time and mend her relationship with Taryn. Sister bonds never get old. 😉 I was so not expecting that last twist with the whole curse thing. Lol, even though it’s literally on the freaking cover. I was like WHAT!?! Hence the 4.5 rating. But overall, I’m happy with the ending and newly obsessed with this series. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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