The Queen of Nothing
Author: Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air, #3
Length: 10 hours
Narrator: Caitlin Kelly
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Original Publication Date: 2019
Genre(s): Young adult, Fantasy
Please Note: This review contains spoilers for both The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King.
Jude has been exiled from Faerieland. Though she’s the High Queen, no one knows—except for Vivi and, of course, Cardan, the High King himself. And even though Cardan is the one who exiled Jude, she can’t help but miss him. And hate him. But when Taryn comes to Jude with a problem, Jude finds herself back in Faerie, pretending to be Taryn. Nothing goes according to plan, as usual, but at least Jude’s not in the mortal world anymore. As tensions rise and war becomes imminent, a curse is unleashed, changing Faerie forever. But can Jude break it?
I flew through this series in less than a week. I’m honestly quite impressed with myself, but more so impressed with Holly Black for writing this beast of a series. I’m furiously happy that I waited until all three books were published, because the wait from The Cruel Prince to The Wicked King would have been hard, and the wait from The Wicked King to The Queen of Nothing would have been AGONIZING. I will never forget that ending. Never. Ahem. But anyway, onto my thoughts about The Queen of Nothing, before getting to my thoughts on the series as a whole.
The Queen of Nothing begins shortly after that crazy ending of book 2. Jude is trapped in the mortal world and hates it. She spends her days watching TV, training Oak (when he lets her), and doing odd jobs for the folk who live on the edge of Faerie and the mortal world. Though she is furious with Cardan, she also misses him, and let’s be real, she totally loves him. Of course Jude finds her way back into Faerie, and drama ensues.
Jude has definitely grown since we meet her in book 1. I feel like she changed less during book 2 to book 3, but there’s still some development going on there. She has a big choice to make near the end of the book, one that would have either cemented her growth or left her stuck in place. You’ll have to find out how she chooses. Cardan’s arc is just as interesting to watch throughout the books. I know a lot of people condemn him as abusive and consider his relationship with Jude to be toxic, but I don’t really see that. He makes terrible mistakes, and he makes up for them. He truly does grow as a person and atones for what he did. He doesn’t make excuses; he learns from them. And I don’t think he really mistreats Jude at all, except for in the beginning when they’re basically mistreating each other. I love their hate-to-love romance, and though I would have preferred more more more in this book, what we do get is just steamy enough, and just sweet enough, to satisfy me.
Plot-wise, I loved this book. I loved the twists and turns, and where it all went. I know many people claim the whole book is rushed. It’s a relatively short book, and many important scenes take place in just a few pages. I do see that, and I do get that. I wish this book would have been a little longer, and maybe Black would have taken a bit more time to flush out certain things. However, I am in no way disappointed with what we got. I loved the way it all played out, and enjoyed the ending tremendously. It’s very hard to conclude a series, but I think Black did it very well. I absolutely teared up at the end—partly because I was happy about the story, but mostly because it was over. I definitely read it all way too fast, but this is such a heart-pounding, suspenseful series! I was on edge the entirety of book 3, that’s for sure. I absolutely see a re-read in my future, and I’m tempted to purchase the series and place reverently on my shelves.
As a whole, this series just worked for me. YA faerie fantasy stories are not groundbreakingly unique or anything, but I think Black did it right. I was hooked from page one of book one, and I wasn’t released until just now, finishing book 3. And even still, I already want to jump back into the world of Faerie. The plot is suspenseful and fun, the characters (both minor and major) all captured my heart, and the writing is excellent. Each book gained a 5-star rating from me, and all made it onto my Favorites shelf on Goodreads. If you still haven’t read this series, take it from me: you need to. Especially if you love faeries and YA fantasy and enemies-to-lovers relationships. I’m already starting to feel the book hangover creep in… And I already want to cry again. I cannot give this series enough praise. Here’s to future scheming.