Book Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

The Queen of Nothing

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After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.
When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.
When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

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I didn’t think I would get the opportunity to read this book so soon because this series tends to have long waitlists at the library. But I was pleasantly surprised that I got my copy already. If you’ve read some of my recent tag posts, you also know that I’m not a huge fan of the series and I frankly didn’t have much expectations from this finale. I was actually prepared to be underwhelmed, so it was even more surprising that I ended up liking it. There will be spoilers below, so please read at your discretion.

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I’m someone who loves reading hyped books but the Folk of the Air trilogy never managed to become one of my favorites. So when I started reading this finale, I just wanted to know how it all ends. And I think the author does a nice job wrapping it all up in a bow. To begin with, the story is pretty fast paced (except a few chapters in the beginning) and quite entertaining – I was never bored and neither did I want to put it down. I flew through it in just a few hours. The story did feel a little predictable at times though, but there were just a couple enough surprises which kept me engaged. However, I really really expected a huge war to breakout towards the end and Jude to show off her fighting skills and prove how she is a worthy queen – but none of that happened and that was a bit of a letdown. But I also guess it’s in character for the Fair folk in general who would rather engage in wordplay than in a fair fight.

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Jude has always been the one trying to prove her strength and show herself as steadfast, so it was actually different to see her in situations where she was uncertain how to act. I liked getting to know her more vulnerable side and see how she may behave in those times. Cardan is also a surprise this time and every scene when they were together felt so different from how I would expect them to be. This is a relationship that I’ve always believed is extremely toxic and I could never really get behind them, but they start being all lovey dovey and sweet to each other suddenly and I didn’t know what to make of it. While they both maybe suited to each other in a weird way, I don’t think I’ve been convinced enough that Jude is so okay with loving a bully, whatever might be his traumatic childhood; nor the fact that he has always been in love with her. Apparently one of the special editions of the book has some letters written by Cardan to Jude showcasing his true feelings, so I guess only the owners of that book are allowed to experience the true nature of Cardan’s feelings.

And then comes Taryn. I really really hated her character for what she did to Jude and was expecting some punishment for her or atleast a redemption arc that involves a lot of groveling. Instead, we get a restoration of the sisterly bond without even a proper apology and I hated it. Locke is killed off page and we never even get to meet him and I thought that was really unfair because he deserved a much prolonged punishment at the hands of Jude. Even Madoc gets off so lightly towards the end that I kept wondering what was the whole point of it all.

But there were some heartfelt moments between Jude and Oak, Heather and Vivi, and it was all lovely to read. I also love the trust and bond that Jude has with the Court of Shadows. We get introduced to a new character called Grima Mog and she was absolutely delightful to follow along. Some of the other interactions with the leaders of the lower courts were fun and fascinating. It was all these little moments that made it all very entertaining.

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Overall, I think this was a good ending but not a satisfying one. I don’t think it does justice to all the buildup of the conflict or characters we’ve had in the first two books, and it just all fizzles out. It all wraps up in a bow with no serious repercussions or introspections, so everything just felt a tad bit superficial with no depth. However, despite all these shortcomings, I had fun while reading and in the end, I think that’s all I can expect from a book.

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

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  1. Awesome review! And it seems to me that we share the same opinion! I also liked it, but didn’t love it. Some things really had a great ending, such as Oak, Vivi and Heather, but killing off Locke was just dumb. I didn’t get why Taryn suddenly felt the need to cut his throat after protecting him all that time – and then her baby plays absolutely no role?
    I’m also not a fan of Cardan’s “unknown intentions” to turn out super sweet, and that from the start. Idk, I kind of expected more…
    Again, great review! Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad I have company with this opinion Jane…👍👍👍 I know so many others are so much in love with the book, I wasn’t sure if I should write this review 😜😜
      Locke dying off page was the most dissatisfying plot line ever.. There needed to be some punishment for both him and Taryn on page for me to feel better because I hated them so much… it just felt all for nothing… and I totally hate that Madoc didn’t get punished harshly either 😬😬😬

      Apparently Cardan’s “feelings” are well described in those letters from the special edition of the book but not all of us got to read them, so his sudden lovey dovey attitude grated on me.. it just came out of nowhere… it just felt like the author wasn’t sure how to end the book within 300 pages and took all the easier ways out…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahah I’m happy you decided to post it!!!
        And yes, Locke was soooo annoying but his ending was super dissatisfying…
        And what? Why is not everyone allowed to read those letters? That’s so stupid…
        And same, I feel like Holly Black wanted to create something super awesome and it just got better and better but she had no idea how to create a WOW ending…
        Happy reading!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Having never read any of Holly’s book before this series, I had no expectation, so i just had fun reading it, yes it did seem a tad bit superficial but i think that how most supernatural fantasy YA books are

    Like

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