“And if the serpent grows in monstrousness and corruption, if it poisons the land of Elfhame itself, then let me be the queen of monsters. Let me rule over that blackened land with my redcap father as a puppet by my side. Let me be feared and never again afraid.”
I finally read it! I have been highly anticipating this book for months and holy crap did it live up to my high expectations. I adored it. It was amazing. 4.5 stars!!
I was so worried that this ending wouldn’t hold up to the rest of the series, based on some not-so-satisfied reviews I has been hearing online. But I don’t know what they were talking about! It was a fantastic ending. Yes, of course we want more of the story and it definitely could have been longer, but I really don’t think the length of the book took away from the integrity of the story. It was so well developed, so succinct and tight. It was masterfully done and there was absolutely no fluff in it. Would I have enjoyed some fluff? Yes, duh, I want more conversations between Jude and Cardan. But I think it was very well done.
Everything was so gorgeous. I am always blown away by Holly Black’s writing. It is so lyrical and fanciful, poetic and fairytale-like, but also rooted in modernness. She creates such lush settings and scenes. Her dialogue is always SPOT ON. It is authentic, emotive, fluid, effortless. I never once think that her characters are saying something weird or that they sound wooden. It is so easy for her to just pen these absolutely real sounding conversations and I appreciate that so much. Nothing irks me more than crappy or unrealistic dialogue. And the fact that she does it with a mix between modern slang/turns of phrase, and ancient, old-style speech is brilliant. Hearing Jude whip out a current, mortal phrase while talking to all these stuffy old faeries is amazing.
The story here starts off pretty soon after the mild cliffhanger of the last book. And like I said, Black wastes absolutely no time in getting into the heart of the narrative and piecing together essential scenes. Everything is touched on that we would expect and the closure that we were craving is given to us, even if some things weren’t happily wrapped up.
One of the things that I really love about this series is how morally grey all of the characters are and how Black never changed that about them. Yes, they grew as people and learned how to adapt (fantastic character growth), but they never just flipped a switch and became someone else with a whole new personality. Jude was just as ruthless, clever, cold, badass, vulnerable, and interesting as she always was. I freaking love her; she is such an amazing, refreshing heroine. The family dynamics between Jude, Taryn, Madoc, Vivi, and Oriana are so so well done. Madoc and his daughters have such a compelling, tragic relationship; it’s very fascinating to consider. The characters were all genuine and complex and nuanced from the start and remained that way to the end. Again, Black is so good at her character work (miles ahead of other authors that attempt to do similar things). I just can’t get enough of them.
The character interactions are probably my favorite thing about this series, as I do believe it is quite a character driven/character study story. The whole thing could be dialogue and I’d be just as happy. I really enjoy how Black gives us these complicated characters, makes them interact, but doesn’t hold our hand and tell us what they’re thinking the whole time. It is so nice to have a young adult series that doesn’t act like it’s readers are imbeciles. Black leaves things unsaid all the time, implies certain things, but doesn’t clue us in about if we are right. It makes it so much better.
I am so happy with how the series ended. It was very fitting and exactly how I hoped it would end. It was perhaps a tad predictable in this one and a little shorter than it could have been, so I didn’t end up giving it 5 stars. But I was so close to doing so, because I really really loved it. I loved everything about Jude and Cardan, and I have not shipped/gotten swoony over a book couple like them in so long. They are so dark and twisted and angry and uncertain, but so vulnerable and hopeful and supportive at the same time. They are soulmate status and I am 100% here for it. And they are sexy! The tension between them, the banter, the desire, the payoff – delicious. Definitely one of my all-time OTPs.
Overall, this series is amazing, as is her early faerie books (Tithe being my favorite by a lot). I was happy to see some continued interaction with some of her earlier faerie story characters like Kaye, Roiben, and Severin. I will read anything she releases in her faerie world and I certainly saw hints of a possible continuation of the series. Maybe a Taryn/Ghost story? Or Oak and the creepy young ice queen? We shall see. Either way, I’d read it!
Ugh! Loved these characters, loved this world, loved this story, loved the writing, loved the whole Folk of Air series, love Holly Black. The end.
Thank you for reading!
Title: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of Air Series #3)
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult | Urban Fantasy | Faeries
Publication Date: November 19th, 2019
Page Count: 300
Buy It: Book Depository | Wordery