Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
Updated: Feb 8
Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.
Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.
I am still shocked that I liked this book as much as I did.
Holly black's Air Folk series is quite popular in the bookish community but for some weird reason I have never been part of its fandom. I read the previous novels but I never thought that they were particularly spectacular. Until I read the last instalment of the series: Queen of nothing.
It is so important when you read a book and that experience tells you how much you have grown as a reader. and that is exactly what happen to me with this book.
So much that I made the experiment of re-reading the whole series again and guess what, I finally understand these books. and I see the uniqueness that somehow I didn't notice before. They are so good and fun and just entertaining.
Really something that I haven't see anywhere else.
SPOILERS ahead, be warned that this is a spoilery review.
I am going to start by saying that this novel change my perspective in my own reading.This one is really an example of a book that I am deeply in love with due to the emotional resonate and not due to its story attributes. I am aware of the deep problems that the book has in its plot and development.
Holly Black created a fantasy series that just holds me in till the end. It makes me go back for more and this is because of the emotional value.
This series scars. and that makes it addicting.
The writing is so good and sensual. This author has a way of making words take a punch. Beyond that, there is always those sentences that made the experience unforgettable because they make sense and hurt and are just true.
“We have lived in our armour for so long, you and I. And now I am not sure if either of us knows how to remove it.”
Not to talk about how the writing makes the chemistry super steamy. There is no point on discussing the sexiness of this book and how I just needed that scene with Cardan and Jude. (yelling in fangirl).
I can´t talk about this final chapter without talking about the others previous novels. This series is characterised by cruelty and raw scenes.
The cruel prince, in my opinion, literally started a new sub-genre of fantasy where there is this raw darkness intertwined with a beautiful but short writing style and this book carried that legacy to the end. oh and romance mushed anxiety too.
In the start of this story we find our main character Jude in the mortal world and I think that the first few chapters were interesting mostly because it shows how much Jude is a human that fits in Fairy. It is an impressive parallel between the real world where a lot of people don't fit into the boxes they were supposed to fit in.
I flew by this novel. Read it in about two days and that only happend because in the end I tried to stop myself for reading so fast. Book Hangover hovering in the way.
The pacing is consistent and ,for me, it is one of the high points of this novel because it is one of the things that makes it so addicting. You do not have space to breathe or catch up. It makes it more like real life both for the reader as for the characters.
But i need to point out that there were parts that were a little dragged
- like the part where Jude is pretending to be her twin sister in the war camp. I didn't disliked it but I was more focused on other parts of the story and couldn't wait to get to them so that felt a bit boring and unnecessary.
And in contrast other scenes were glossed over like the reunion scene with Cardan. I was waiting for such a more involving moment but it was short cut and not a good satisfactory way to make it come to life.
The high point of this story is the characters. I mean I just love how they are incredibly complex and morally grey. Both of the main characters are depicted as flawed but somewhat strong but then in the page you know they are easily hurt, both of them. Not to talk about the side characters that show the same level of depth.
Saying that, the dialogue between Jude and Cardan were my favourite aspect of this book. I also loved the scenes between Jude and her "father" Madoc.
It is very hard to explain this book because of the short narrative. The book is not enough because it cuts short on scenes or it moves too fast and I have to admit that I too wanted more. So much more.
But, hear me out, it makes sense. Jude is not the type of character to explain everything and she is a cut short person. She doesn't care about description or emotions that much. And she doesn't stop to take a breath. And so this makes her narrative the way that it is in this book.
The relationships between characters and the way that the author resolved the story is the thing that disappointed me the most. I mean, I love Cardan and Jude I do! And I knew that they were going to end up being together. So that was not a surprise.
But where is the trauma that this series promised me?
This book was so much more sweet than the Wicked King and that disappointed me. Where is the betrayals and the mystery and the wicked plans for revenge or power? It felt flat on that front, sadly.
Also, the relationship between her father and her was so short-lived. I hated that because it had so much potential. The fact that he almost killed her but still loved her like a child. It is just really interesting and the end for Madoc was dumb and out of character.
He would never agree to such a thing. I just don´t understand it.
But then on the contrary we can think that this book is so different because it is based on the growth that Jude has throughout the trilogy. She is re-learning how to become a human which she never was taught. She was taught to be cruel which she was in book 1 and 2.
In the first chapters we see her blindspot: she is incapable to understand that Cardan is in love with her and wants her back.
She can´t figure out the riddle because she can´t see other than betrayal. For her everyone is out to get her. and this book shows that change in her mindset. She learns to forgive here.
Not just Jude but also Cardan that learned how to finally be able to be himself and not feel sorry for his childhood or his destiny.
The book makes sense because of the characters. and that my friends, is impressive in so many ways.
People were raging about how simple the riddle for the exile was but that is the point.
That was needed so that Jude understood that not everything is a personal attack and that life and relationships can be simple.
I am not even going to refer to the sex: let me just say that it is as the rest of the book which is entertaining and it makes sense with the characters, again. and Cardan is indeed a delight.
"Every part of me is a delight"
Now the end? That is the only thing of the book that was a stupid tangent. It didn't made any sense. This is the only reason I gave it four starts and not five.
Were did the snake came from? It was never referred to in the whole series and there was no build up for it. It was unnecessary because it didn't served any purpose other than spice up things. and even that did not accomplished.
Maybe if Cardan had died I would agree to it. But it was a false danger and I felt betrayed because I was not expecting it from this author at all.
In conclusion I loved the book. I love Cardan and his replies. I love that Jude finally learned how to be human. I liked it ,truly, and yes there are more problems than the ones that I referred to: like Taryn killing her husband just cause and the introduction of new characters for no reason or that the battle scene was non-existent BUT still I think that this was a worthy finale.
But as always I welcome you to read it and discuss your opinion with me in the comments down bellow!
Rating: four out of five (Goodreads).
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