The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
Published by Little, Brown and Company on November 19, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
“I think of his riddle. How do people like us take off our armor?
One piece at a time.”
A series with a final book worthy of finishing in 24 hours. Not even a full day ago had I started The Queen of Nothing and now I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes because it’s over. I know this a series I will turn to when I want a good re-read.
My heart is happy and sad at the same time (Kacey Musgraves was onto something with that song). I love this series with my whole heart and the conclusion was thrilling, perfect, and not at all what I expected and I’m so sad it’s over.
My review for the second one didn’t hold anything back and I don’t think this one will either. Again…if you haven’t read this series what are you doing?! These books are addicting and contain characters that are so wonderfully realistic in a world that isn’t so what are you waiting for? Holly Black’s writing isn’t too bad either.
After The Wicked King, I was hopelessly heartbroken. I was confused, betrayed, hurt, and, more than anything, dying to find out what would happen next. If a book can make me feel just as hurt and betrayed as the characters, then it immediately gets five stars from me. I felt every ounce of heartbreak Jude felt in this book. Every. Single. Ounce.
I’ve read online that not everyone started off as Jude’s biggest fan. They liked her, but found her pride and other mannerisms annoying until they found it charming. However, I have loved Jude from the start. She’s riddled with flaws, but it makes her real and complex and I’m never quite sure what exactly she’s going to do next (cut to the ending of book one). As a mortal in a faerie world, she was a badass and proved everyone wrong. I never pictured her ending up where she did, but I’m so proud of her. Jude is brave, cunning, and I would love to read more books with her in it. Unfortunately, I think her story has come to a beautiful close to where there won’t be anymore with her in it.
Another character I could read a thousand more books about is Cardan. He had me worried and terrified at the end of book two, but I still loved him. Love/hate. Mostly love. Still, I was mad at him. But this book brought me all the answers I needed and wanted. Though, I feel a little cheated out of a third of this book with him not in it. Cardan is one of my favorite types of characters, prickly on the outside but warm and fuzzy on the inside. It takes a bit to wear their outer armor but once it’s gone, they’re everything you wanted them to be. Cardan has his flaws, but he really grew into the potential I knew he had. I didn’t know what the circumstances would be that forced him to grow up a little and become the ruler he was always destined to be.
Only because I had a long rant about her in the last book, I’m going to talk about Taryn. I…don’t know how to feel about her. Out of all the characters I think she might be the biggest wildcard. When she stumbled back into Jude’s life after being exiled and explained the circumstances on why she needed Jude’s help…I didn’t know if she should trust her. Taryn did some unforgivable things, but she keeps weaseling back. Will I be mad that her actions brought Jude back to Faerieland and got her alone with Cardan for a few brief moments? No. But I think her regaining Jude’s trust could’ve had more groveling. Or maybe Locke did a great job at manipulating her. Who knows. It definitely wasn’t a healthy relationship but we all knew that from the start.
Holly Black. Queen of plot twists. First, Jude got Oak to crown Cardan as High King instead of the other way around. Second, the Ghost betrayed Jude and got her taken hostage to the Undersea. Third, Jude got exiled by Cardan. Fourth… Cardan turned into a giant freaking snake!!
The last hundred pages of this book hurt. I was panicked because I wasn’t sure if Cardan would be turned back. The prophecy was looming over this entire book like an elephant in the room. Or should I say giant serpent? Too soon? I kept looking for clues in what the prophecy said, what Grimsen said about the curse, Heather’s frantic looking in fairytales to no avail. I hoped and hoped that he would be okay, but I was preparing myself for Jude to continue on without him. After all, that’s not how this trope usually ends. Otherwise I wouldn’t love it so much. When Cardan confessed his love for Jude right before shit hit the fan, I knew the metaphorical shit would hit the fan in a horrible way. Especially when she thought “I have time to tell him.” Nope. They never ever do.
As the shortest of the trilogy, it was easy to read it in two sittings. When Cardan turned into a snake, I knew I was glued to the spot until the very last page. Jude saved the Roach from dying so I had hope that she would be able to save Cardan with whatever powers she was gaining. Which I have a lot of questions about how becoming High Queen of Elfhame has, and will, change her. I wouldn’t mind an expansion on the series exploring that part of the world because I think there’s quite a bit to be tapped into there. Still, at the end it really came down to her knowing Cardan as well as she does and making the right decision based on that. It was risky, but I had a feeling all wasn’t lost. Did I imagine him walking out from the snake naked and covered in blood? Nope. Not mad about it either.
I really, truly love this series with everything I have. It’s one of the best fantasy series I’ve read in a long time. There’s romance but there’s also politics and characters who you don’t know if you can trust. Even those that are family members. There’s twists and betrayals and forgiveness and more betrayals. It’s messy and fun and real. I love the world Holly created. I hate to leave it after only three books. Holly if you’re reading this, please feel free to write more books with these character if an idea alights itself. I’d buy so many copies.
The version of the book I bought is the Barnes and Noble version and thank god I did. It has letters from Cardan as bonus content and that was everything my poor little heart needed after the stress of not knowing if we’d ever see him alive.
Parts of me wants to draw parallels from this series to ACOTAR, but honestly they stand as two separate and equally strong books in their own right. It’s two different takes on faerie worlds and somehow both of them have crawled into my heart as favorites forever.