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The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black is the final book in The Folk of the Air trilogy. As I did with the previous two books, I’m going to share my general overview thoughts of the book without getting into any spoilers. If you want to see my thoughts on the previous two books: The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King check out their reviews.
He will be the 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…
Out of the three books in the trilogy, I would have to say The Queen of Nothing was probably my favorite. There weren’t as many twists in this book as compared to The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, but I still enjoyed it all the same. While there weren’t surprising twists, there were a lot of interesting plot points that made for an intriguing reading experience where I couldn’t put this book down. And parts where I found myself trying to tell Jude to think through faerie speech for a second, as she didn’t though she knows if they say something in riddle it’s for a reason. Which is mainly in regards to the terms of her exile.
Also if you get the Waterstone’s version, you get to see the letters Cardan wrote to Jude while she was in exile, and I just… my emotions. It’s just so cute, I love him.
If you don’t have the Waterstone edition of the book, here are the each of the letters:
You are perhaps only being overcautious but I am writing to inform you that all is settled between the Undersea and Elfhame. The treaties are signed in sea-foam and blood.
Since I cannot imagine there is much in the human lands to interest you, I can only suppose your continued absence in Elfhame is due to me.
I urge you: Come be angry at a nearer distance.
You are in no mood for games. Very well. I am in no mood for them, either.
Let me write it outright. You are pardoned. I revoke your banishment. I rescind my words. Come home.
Come home and shout at me. Come home and fight with me. Come home and break my heart, if you must.
Just come home.
Not even responding to my missives is ridiculous and beneath you and I hate it.
To the High Queen of Elfhame,
Above me is the same silvery moon that shines down on you. Looking at it makes me recall the glint of your blade pressed against my throat and other romantic moments.
I do not know what keeps you from returning to the High Court–whether it is vexation with me, or whether, having spent time in the mortal world, you come to believe that a life free of the Folk is better than one ruling over them.
In my most wretched hours, I believe you will never come back.
Why would you, save for your ambition? You have always known exactly what I am and seen all my failings, all my weaknesses and scars. I flattered myself that at moments you had feelings for me other than contempt, but even were that true, they would make but a thin gruel beside the feast of your other, greater desires.
And yet my heart is buried with you in the strange soil of the mortal world, as it was drowned with you in the cold waters of the Undersea.
It was yours before I could admit it, and yours it shall ever remain.
And then there’s just a note with her name rewritten a hundred times ending with “please Jude”. Of course, Jude never received these letters as Cardan’s mother burned them before they ever reached her.
Everything is wrapped up nicely in this book from the characters that were introduced throughout the series to how things are ended. We get more information on why Cardan was treated the way he was and what exactly happens with the various things that Grimsen the smith made if they are broken. As he blessed and cursed everything at the same time. I love how there’s also parallels between different characters like Taryn and her mother with how their story goes.
A little bit of a spoiler on this next one, not talking the specifics. While there isn’t really an epic battle between Jude and Madoc in the end as far as dueling goes, it is a good conclusion to their overall game of strategy. And I like how Jude handled it in the end with her foster father. It’s mercy but also dipped in with a little bit of cruelty. Same with the other conclusions to the ‘villains’ of the book, though Madoc gets off kind of easy in comparison to the others.
Overall, I would rate The Queen of Nothing a 3.5 stars out of 5. It’s a compelling story that I couldn’t set down which could be said about the entire series of The Folk of the Air, literally I read it in one sitting as I enjoyed it that much. I’m a little sad there isn’t more from this series as I would love to read more from this world, but it was a great conclusion to the trilogy and I like the note it ended on. I loved Holly Black’s writing style and might check out her other books in the future once I get through the books stacked up in my room that I bought recently.
If you’ve read The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black, what were your thoughts on the series?
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