04 February, 2020

[Review] Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: The Folk of the Air #3
Release Date: 19 November, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Books/Hatchette Audio
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy and Science Fiction/Contemporary Fantasy/Romance/Mystery
ASIN/ISBN: B07Y3TLVZ5 / 9780316310406
Edition: Audiobook and Barnes and Noble Exclusive Edition Hardback (also available in Kindle and Non-exclusive hardback edition)
Rating: ★★★★
Review Written: 2 December, 2019
Warnings: Racism, Character Death, Magic, Manipulation
He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

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.

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 dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

See more by Holly Black at her Website.

I cannot explain how excited I was for this novel to be released. As it has been stated before, I am a lover of all the things Holly Black writes, especially her faerie land series. The Queen of Nothing is no exception to this rule and I'm super stoked that it exists.

The Queen of Nothing starts off with Jude sulking around the human world with Vivienne and Oak in Heather's apartment. Though she can't get a legitimate job, Jude has made herself useful to the folk, taking odd jobs from the solitary fae that live in exile or by choice in the mortal lands. During this particular time, Jude takes a job to demand Grima Mog stop cannibalizing the solitary fae. Grima Mog, a particularly vicious red-cap who was the general of the Court of Teeth, had left her position to take refuge in the mortal world since Maddoc had taken over her post. Jude, being wily enough to determine how to extract a promise from her, wins grudging respect from Grima Mog during a rooftop duel that leaves her injured but victorious.

Personally, I loved seeing that Jude find a place for herself in the mortal world despite her deep depression and self-wallowing behavior during the day-time hours. It was refreshing to see how she was interacting in the human world despite having no actual paperwork (i.e. birth certificate, etc). It was also interesting to see that Heather was still coming around to the apartment despite her falling-out with Vivi over the faerie lands. Even more impressive is Heather's desire to help Jude despite the falling-out and insisting on helping her into the house despite previous reservations.

Jude arrives home from her fight with Grima Mog to see Taryn visiting. Taryn who betrayed her by impersonating Jude to a poisoned Cardan in order to free half the army of faerie. And Taryn who is claiming that she killed her husband Locke in a fit of passion since he was playing games with her affection even after she announced she was pregnant. Jude initially doesn't want to help, figuring it is Taryn's problem to deal with. However, because Jude has the protection from magic as bestowed by Prince Dane, Taryn begs her to swap places with her. Chaos ensues as Jude returns to the world of faerie only to be swept away by Maddox's forces that had been meant to save Taryn. Stuck in the enemy's camp, Jude falls back onto her spy training, working quietly and quickly to try and suss out Maddox's plan. It was a pleasure to see Maddox so unaware of which twin he was protecting and the fact that his allies seemed to think of "Taryn" (Jude) as a pet.

Slowly the plot unravels into the breaking of the crown and the destruction of the line of Mab with Grimson's curse taking full effect and transforming Cardan into a giant serpent that is killing the land of faerie. Given that Jude is the only person able to step into the role of Queen and to approach the serpent, treaties are formed by Maddox's forces to try and trap Jude and Cardan as puppets to the throne. Unfortunately for Maddox, Jude is more clever than not, and she manages to save the kingdom and herself.

Ultimately, the Queen of Nothing was full of the action as I hoped it would be. It provided a lovely end to the trilogy though I hope that Jude and Cardan appear in any future series that Ms. Black sets in Faerie. The ending of the book left room for further exploration of Taryn's story or Vivienne's stories in the mortal lands. A must read if you've followed the series thus far.

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