Updated: Dec 9, 2019
The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black was just released yesterday, and all I can say is WHOA. I read the entire book in a single sitting, and I regret NOTHING! If you haven’t read this trilogy (see my reviews for previous books The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King), and you’re a fan of YA fantasy books, start reading them immediately. Just a heads up – while I promise not to reveal any spoilers for this book, the review will include spoilers if you haven’t read the previous books.
Also, can we just take a minute to appreciate how truly gorgeous the cover is?
TRIGGER WARNING: references to cannibalism.
Jude, the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, is shocked by Cardan’s betrayal of her. She is just waiting for her opportunity to strike, when her estranged twin Taryn appears and shares that her life is in danger. Jude takes the risk of returning to the Faerie Court to save her sister and face Cardan, but finds that Elfhame has changed drastically. War is brewing. Jude manages to get deep behind enemy lines and tangled in the politics of the conflict. A terrible curse is unleashed, causing panic to spread quickly, and she is forced to make a choice between her ambition and her humanity.
The book opens with a prophecy relating to Cardan, and it isn’t a positive one. It strongly influences how he is raised, and we learn a lot of what makes Cardan the way he is. Personally, I found myself a lot more sympathetic towards him that I was in the first or second book of this trilogy. Also, throughout the book, we see much more of his character, and who Cardan really is. He’s the kind of guy (faerie?) that prefers for people to underestimate him. For some reason, I pictured him more like Joffrey from Game of Thrones in the first two books. In this book, he’s anything but. In reading this book, you’ll get a very different view of Cardan.
Jude has had a taste of power, having been Cardan’s seneschal, and the one pulling the strings. That is, until she released her hold over him and was banished to the mortal realm. She’s been stewing over that, while living with Vivi, training Oak, and basically as a fixer for the Folk living in the mortal realm. Taryn’s appearance gives Jude the opening to slip back to Faerie that she has been waiting for, although she gets way more than she bargained for. While Jude has been rather closed off emotionally, she starts to be more willing to express some emotion in this book. It’s actually a nice change! Have no fear, she still faces dangerous situations without a second thought, and continues to act rashly, at times only connecting the dots when it is too late.
I can’t say enough good things about this book. I absolutely adored it. It was full of action, intrigue, and plot twists. By the time I finished the book, I was emotionally exhausted, and needed to take some deep breaths to resettle myself. This book was also more emotional that the previous two – while it still had the focus on revenge, intrigue, and power, there was a strong undercurrent of forgiveness, trust, and *gasp* love. As always, Holly Black’s writing is simple yet beautiful and evocative. I felt as if I, too, were transported along with Jude, to Faerie, with its splendor and danger. I loved this book, and this series in general, and I’m sad to know that there are no more stories. I’d love to see what happens in Elfhame in the future, although the ending is no less spectacular than I would have expected from a book that is as flawless as this one.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn't an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 16
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
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