Title: The Queen of Nothing
Series Details: The Folk of the Air #3
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Imprint: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: November 19, 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Blurb from Goodreads:
Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to. Jude learned that 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 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.
Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines, she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.
And when a terrible curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity….
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to the Folk of the Air series.
The Folk of the Air series’ conclusion is finally here! It might be weaker compared to the other two books but still The Queen of Nothing delivers the peace and satisfaction expected from a finale. We continue to get a good dose of the elements we’ve come to love from the previous books but there are also few aspects that definitely made this installment stand out.
But before we go to the nice parts, have you read The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King yet? This will be a spoiler-free review for The Queen of Nothing but some important events from the first two books might be mentioned. So, make sure you’ve read them before going further into this review.
“I spent much of my life guarding my heart. I guarded it so well that I could behave as though I didn’t have one at all.”
This book picks up a couple of moons after Cardan married Jude, making her the Queen of Elfhame, and then quickly banished her into the mortal world—never to return until pardoned by the crown. Hurt and angry from the betrayal, Jude spent most of her days in the mortal world imagining ways to confront Cardan, how she would make him pay for his treachery if given a chance to return to Elfhame. The opportunity presents itself when Jude’s twin sister—Taryn—asked for a huge favor. A favor that requires her to sneak back into faerie. As Jude unintentionally finds herself entangled in the messy politics, we are once again sucked into the dangerously tricky world of fae.
“That’s what mortal means. We die. Think of us like shooting stars, brief but bright.”
Elfhame’s chaotic political situation has always been at the center of this series. In this final release, it has become more prominent and even more dangerous as we see so much shifting alliances. But aside from that there are a lot of other things going on. With this being faerie, our characters also have some huge magical problems to deal with. War is on the horizon, plots of assassination are running in motion—everyone needs to be even more cautious in this book. One slight miscalculation might cost them their lives. Then there’s the dark curse that threatens the land and throws the whole kingdom in disarray. It’s all very messy and fraught with peril.
Some prophecies are fulfilled by the very actions meant to prevent them.
Although this is the last book of the series, the romance continues to tease. Instead of getting closer, the complications between Jude and Cardan only gets bigger as the story moves along. Huge doubts and questions about their relationship continues to pile up. Will Jude’s attraction to Cardan outweigh her ambitions of acquiring the kind of power he has? Is Cardan still the prince she trusted—and married? Or is he now the king who would do anything to keep her away from the place she considered home? They both obviously has feelings for each other, but would it be strong enough to make them bring down their walls and bare their heart?
“We have lived in our armor for so long, you and I. And now I am not sure if either of us knows how to remove it.”
This book shows us a lot of different relationships but I think Jude’s relationship with Madoc is the most complicated. I don’t know what’s more difficult—loving the man who murdered your parents, or hating the man who raised and protected you as if you were his own? Also, I love morally gray characters, and Madoc is definitely one. He has this hunger for power and he doesn’t mind whose blood he needs to spill in order to take it. But he’s not completely heartless. We see some tiny yet strong glimpses of redeeming qualities in him which made him an intriguing character.
The previous installments were big on the twists. This one—not so much. There were some events that I wished didn’t happen off-page, and some characters that I wished weren’t so easily forgiven. These kinda robbed me of my total satisfaction. But this book has amazing set of characters—old and new ones—and it’s them and their complexities that draws me into this story.
The Queen of Nothing isn’t a perfect book but it’s close. I love how everyone got the rewards and the punishments that they deserve in the end. Although this wasn’t as strong as the first installments, it’s still a very nice and neat conclusion to one of my favorite fantasy stories.
Thank you, fantastic series. By you, I am forever undone.