The Queen of Nothing

- Holly Black

Goodreads Book Blurb:

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…

Series / Genres:

My Review:

enjoyable/easy to read:
3/5

2.5 stars

If we’re comparing the pace of the books in this series, The Cruel Prince is a twisty, uphill hike, The Wicked King is the calculated manoeuvre along the precipice, and The Queen of Nothing is the breakneck tumble off of a sheer rock face. We’re off and running from the first chapter, leaving behind all the plotting and politics that made this series special. Lacking subtlety or nuance, The Queen of Nothing is the Michael Bay-directed finale, meant to be flashy and conclusive, rather than complex or meaningful.

The choices made in this narrative ranged from unnecessary

Taryn killing Locke? That can’t have been the only way to convince Jude to return to Elfhame. And it’s so contrary to everything we know about Taryn. I am the last person to care about Locke – I continue to believe that he is the most one-dimensional character in this series – but it makes the entire Jude-Taryn-Locke triangle/subplot completely pointless.
to unbelievable
There is no fucking way that any faerie would continue to follow Jude with Cardan out of the picture. She’s a mortal who has been queen for less than a minute. It’s unlikely they’d even keep her alive, let alone listen to her.
to plain stupid.
Oh yes, kings are always turning into giant snakes. It’s a real problem that someone should look into.
One or two of these plot points might have been forgivable if they hadn’t happened one after another, like neverending dominoes of bad writing and bad dialogue. Sure, there are several worthwhile pull quotes, but they’re buried deep in the bullshit that is the plot. After all, when you’re forcing a conclusion that could’ve used another book or two to develop fully, everyone has to be uncharacteristically direct and honest.

My review is probably harsher than it needs to be, but I feel deceived by The Cruel Prince. It recruited me with unlikeable characters, plot twists, and gritty unpredictability. Instead, The Queen of Nothing completed the bait-and-switch by presenting a juvenile, unsurprising fairytale full of glossy, uncomplicated happy endings. I would’ve given it two stars, but that’s what I rated The Lost Sisters, and even with all of its flaws, The Queen of Nothing is at least fractionally better than that nightmare.

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