In book review

REVIEW: The Queen of Nothing



Title: The Queen of Nothing
Author: Holly Black
Genre(s):  Young Adult, Fantasy
Release: November 2019
Rating: ✭✭✭,5/5

“Mock me all you like. 
Whatever I imagined then, now it is I who would beg and grovel for a kind word from your lips." 
His eyes are black with desire. 
"By you, I am forever undone.”

You have been living under a rock if you haven't been seeing this book all over your socials. The Queen of Nothing is the highly anticipated last instalment in the Folk of the Air series by Holly Black, and is, arguably, one of the overall most anticipated releases of 2019 when it comes to the YA genre. 

Queen of Nothing follows Jude after her exile from the land of Faerie. Cardan is currently High King of Elfhame, and has betrayed Jude (or so we think) by banishing her from his kingdom. Additionally, a group of rebels, led by Jude's father, is trying to get Cardan off the throne, and Jude desperately wants to prevent this from happening. 

Honestly, while I enjoyed this one, the previous two books in this series were so action-packed and full of twists that The Queen of Nothing felt a little anti-climactic. As soon as I saw how thin this book was, in comparison to the other two, I feared this wouldn't fully deliver a deserving ending to an otherwise amazing series. Sadly, QON confirmed my suspicions. I think these books would have worked better as a duology. Also, I've read all three of these books, and I'm still not sure how Cardan (Cardòn?) is supposed to be pronounced?

The majority of the plot in QON felt a little bit contrived, and I never felt any of the suspense fully, as this remained a little under-developed for me. The plot-twist, while supposed to be unexpected, wasn't a surprise for me (and quite a lot of others) either. The fact Cardan (Carden?) had married Jude in the previous book, then exiled her, only to be pardoned by the Crown, was a riddle that had been solved by most of the fandom in no time. Most of the plot, then, wasn't anything special, and I didn't feel very compelled by it. The stakes were simply too low.

The highlight of this book was most definitely the dynamic between Cardan (Cardàn?) and Jude. This is, despite Black's atmospheric writing, truly what has kept me reading, and what she excels at as an author. Cardan and Jude go from enemies, to allies, to lovers, and I found that Black executes this trope wonderfully. While not a fan of the hate-to-love trope, I think it worked very well in this fantastical Faerie setting. The scenes between both of them is what upped most of the rating, as Queen of Nothing did exquisite things for their relationship, and contained some of my absolute favorite scenes between the two.

While many call Holly Black the "Queen of Fae," I'm not too sure about the title, as this book was a bit of a let-down. This could be because of the high expectations set by the previous books that Black didn't quite deliver on, or because the plot lacked in that "conclusive" sort of way. 

One thing I'm sure of, though, is that Jude and Cardan (Cardín?) were both wonderful characters, deserving of the hype, and I'm sad to say goodbye to either of them. My final rating for this one will be a 3.5 stars, as the character moments were some of my absolute favorites, but the plot of QON didn't manage to provide a climactic ending that is deserving of an otherwise epic series.


What did you think of The Queen of Nothing?


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