The Queen of Nothing
By: Holly Black
Book #3 in The Folk of the Air series
Content Warnings: Violence, blood, death, child abuse and exploitation
The Queen of Nothing left me feeling a whole lot of everything! I relished this book’s addictiveness. Just imagine an anaconda swallowing a bibliophile’s entire TBR list whole. Scary, right? That was me with this book.
Of the three installments in the Folk of the Air series, I think The Queen of Nothing gets down to business the quickest. Jude is at her lowest point. Banished to the mortal world, she quells her shame by taking jobs immortal faerie shy away from. Hence we get an epic duel with a cannibalistic faerie within the first few chapters! I was already a goner at this point.
Then a desperate plea from Taryn gives Jude the opportunity to sneak back into Elfhame. As she rushes headlong to the Faerie court to save her sister, a host of political problems ensnare her and King Cardan. The usual twists that ensue made for a delectable read, but afterwards I thought this finale lacked substance in a few areas.
Jude and Cardan’s relationship needed to simmer more before we reached the love confessions. Putting the steamy moments aside, the story lacked examples of them opening up to each other and building trust. In this regard the delightfully suspenseful nature of the plot is a double-edged sword. Between the secrets and the lies, the chaos and control, Jude and Cardan didn’t get enough time together to sort out their feelings for each other. Especially Cardan. More on-screen build-up would have made his declarations so much sweeter!
Psst. I will admit this: Cardan really has a way with words! Generally speaking, there’s a lot of memorable quotes in this installment.
I think that aforementioned sword hacked off parts from other characters’ development as well. Several cast members changed abruptly during the climax for the sake of a tidy happy ending. Not to mention we never received the backstory for Jude’s parents that certain characters kept hinting at. You know what they say about introducing a gun in a story? Don’t mention it if you don’t intend to fire it off at some point! I want to know more about Jude’s biological parents. Pretty please, Holly?
At least Jude remains consistent. Throughout the series I was jumping in the background with a huge “DON’T DO IT!” sign, but I understood where she was coming from during her decision making. Holly Black really triumphed in fleshing out the main character.
I had fun with this book despite my complex feelings. I guess my main concern is The Queen of Nothing seems somewhat like a rushed product. It’s an engaging read with some untapped potential. Still, I recommend it to anyone who’s read the first two installments. There’s plenty of jaw-dropping moments for your entertainment. It even has a poetic ending that circles back to where it all started. Is this story a fey Happily Ever After? Well, dear reader, that’s for you to decide!
More Musings & Magic
I discovered that the Barnes and Noble edition of The Queen of Nothing contains Cardan’s lost letters to Jude! They’re located at the end of the book. Has anyone read the letters? What do you think of them?
Please keep the magic alive and share your comments below!