Saturday, November 30, 2019

Book Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Title: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) 
Author: Holly Black
Publication Date: November 19, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 308
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Reviews for book 1 & book 2

After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.

When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

Here I am once again with another review that's sure to be full of unpopular opinions. I'll say right off the bat that I haven't settled on a rating - this review should help me figure out how I really felt about this one. Needless to say, I was disappointed in Queen of Nothing. The Cruel Prince was a five star read that completely blew my mind! The Wicked King was just okay, but The Queen of Nothing was still one of my most anticipated 2019 releases.

This one picks up with Jude and Oak in the human world after Jude's exile from Faerie and almost immediately Taryn shows up to set things in motion. From there, events unfold at breakneck speed, very unlike the events of the first two books. Jude finds herself back in Faerie despite being banished and it isn't long before she and Cardan fall back into their relationship.

A lot about this book is jarringly different from the other two in the series and Cardan is chief among them. The relationship between Cardan and Jude has been my favorite part of these books and here it is completely different. Gone is the Cruel Prince. In his place is the softest, cheesiest love interest I'd never wish to see in a Folk of the Air novel. There was no real transition between the Cardan we've come to know over two books and this cuddly one and I was not here for it.

The other highlight of The Folk of the Air has been the politics and deception and yes, there is a bit of that here too. The plot was fine and did keep me turning pages. My real issue is that it was all so rushed! The Queen of Nothing could have had another hundred pages and been much more fleshed out and I would have felt much more invested. As it was, characters bounced from place to place (seeing more of Faerie was nice), things happened quickly, and no real consequences were enacted.

I was so, so disappointed in this series ender. It was so weirdly paced and plot threads were dropped constantly. The big twist was very much out of left field and didn't really seem to fit with the rest of the series at all. I never felt any real sense of concern or urgency because everything happened so quickly that it was over almost as quickly as it started. And the absolute worst is that a major point of conflict was due to a misunderstanding, one of my most hated tropes.

So did I like anything? Well, Jude was okay. I wish more had been explored between her and Taryn, but I did like her character growth from the first book. I especially enjoyed her scenes with Grima Mog. The ending was fine, but not what I hoped for or expected. Really, "fine" sums up how I feel about this book. I wanted so much more and expected to love it! I'm beginning to think The Cruel Prince was a fluke and Holly Black just isn't for me.