The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
Rating – 5 out of 5
Spoiler Alert – given that this is the third book in the series, even the synopsis is a spoiler. If you’re in the wrong place and would like to read reviews of The Cruel Prince or The Wicked King, please click the links! Reader beware! 🙂
At the start of The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black, Jude Duarte has been banished to the mortal world and away from Faerie. The exiled queen is quickly drawn back into the drama of Faerie, though, with the arrival of her sister. As Jude once again navigates the intrigue and danger of the magical land there is much to learn and be discovered about the curses that have plagued the current King. Jude must as always, remain alert and clever to survive and thrive as a mortal in a land of magical beings and face the hardest test of all.
“How do people like us take off our armor? One piece at a time.” ― Holly Black, The Queen of Nothing
Why I liked The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
As always, Holly Black does not disappoint with her ability to write a perfect faerie tale. This year has been a good year for brutal faerie tales (see Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake) and this is one of the best of them. Black does a fantastic job bringing the faerie tales of old into the modern world with modern conceptions but the same amount of magic and unforgiving violence.
The beginning of the story has Jude in the modern world looking for ways to survive and continue to provide for her and her family. This leads to taking a job that leads to a fight with a figure called Grima Mog, a Red Cap general who has also been thrown out of Faerie. Grima Mog is frightful and something that goes bump in the night, but she is also cunning in a way that left me wanting more.
I appreciate a novel that even in the middle of deep dark magic, the fae, court intrigue and everything else also acknowledges how complicated family and parent relationships can be. Throughout this series you see Jude and her sisters struggle with Madoc and Oriana as their parents and foster parents, especially in light of Madoc’s role in their parent’s demise. Families and backstories are messy and Black’s novels quietly and fully acknowledge that in a way that feels organic and special.
Like with The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King the twists and turns are legendary. If you have not yet read the book and would like to not read any spoilers, this is the time to stop reading.
SPOILERS START HERE!!!
When the ultimate scene comes and Carden in quick order confesses his love then promptly breaks the crown, throne and turns into a GIANT SNAKE I about died. I did not blink an eye at the fact that there was a snake on the cover of this book. After all, it is the year of the YA snake and it has been on almost every fantasy YA cover this year. So when it came to this climactic scene I was not only shocked but was also kicking myself for not seeing it coming. HE TURNED INTO A GIANT SNAKE. I might never get over it.
I can’t say that Cardan and Jude are #couplegoals, after all, they’re both incredibly violent and Carden has some parent issues, the first two books are called The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King after all!! But I will say that declarations of love in this book did warm my heart. I was rooting for them through this and was happy for a happy ending. I cannot wait to see the fan art for these two. 🙂
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