Hi there, dear friends!! Welcome back to another book review! Today, I will be discussing the absolute mess that was The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black. Or well, why I think it was an absolute mess.
Title: The Queen of Nothing
Author: Holly Black
Published: November 19th, 2019
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Summary: 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.
Spoiler Free Review:
This was incredibly disappointing. All the things that made The Wicked King amazing – politics, Jude’s plotting, her ruthlessness, the absolute complexity and amazingness of the characters and the plot – were missing from this book. The plot was incredibly lackluster, the politics were dialed down, and Jude was tame. TAME. She was so soft, much kinder, and a totally different person from the ruthless Queen that she was in TWK.
And that was annoying. I kept waiting for her to become the Jude I know. I kept waiting for the Jude who is a destructive force of nature, who is constantly on her toes, and constantly scheming, and it didn’t happen.
The plot was just a big question mark and the plot twist left me speechless. It was that bad. I still don’t understand why on earth it was used.
One of my biggest problems is how short this book is. It’s ONLY 300 pages. This book that I’ve been waiting a whole year for, a book that I was truly excited to read, was not only a hot mess, but also a very short one that didn’t do this series any justice. There was no build-up and no excited anticipation. It just went from A to B in five seconds (with the above mentioned totally weird plot twist) and then the ending. Everything was neatly wrapped up, some things happened off page, and characters who deserved so much worse were given a “punishment” that felt more like a joke.
I’m tired of this book. I’m just so disappointed and so tired of it.
To hear my completely unfiltered thoughts with spoilers, keep on reading for the spoiler part of this review.
If you don’t want to see spoilers, you can skip straight to the end to hear my recommendation! But beware of the comments which may have spoilers too.
So. After much consideration and debate with fellow readers, I’ve come to the conclusion that either HB didn’t write this book someone else did under her name. y’all I’m that desperate to explain this mess, or she was willing to sacrifice a potentially phenomenal ending to a good series to later make spin-offs.
But why am I so upset with this book? Let’s start off from the beginning.
Some of the major characters (aka JUDE) were totally out of character in this book. Some others were the same.
Jude went from a ruthless Queen to…this Jude. This very forgiving, very accepting, totally not intricately scheming, very emotional Jude. She was so incredibly tame and bleh, she’s almost like a whole different person. Her rich and powerful character was watered down so much in this book, and it ruined everything.
Example: she kind of forgave Taryn. TARYN. That back-stabbing so called “sister”. One second Taryn’s betraying Jude, the next, Jude is willing to overlook everything to get back to Faerie, and eventually just lets Taryn be, even with all she’s done.
Oh, and can someone explain to me how Taryn is pregnant??? Like what? And she killed her husband Locke because of this weird super petty non-excuse? And she wanted Jude to go back to Faerie to lie to Cardan for her since Jude can’t be glamoured?? And Jude said fine??? Okay, yes she did it partly so she could sneak back into Faerie but still. And that’s all????
Locke was killed off-page for some non-excuse and Jude asks like one or two questions about it and that’s it? LOCKE WAS KILLED AND THAT’S IT?
Like others have mentioned, it’s kind of lazy, but also super fishy. And I don’t like how it’s pretty much ignored and Taryn doesn’t get punished for it. It just happens and that’s that.
Now to Vivi and Heather. I love Heather. She’s so sweet and innocent, and I love how she’s trying to reconcile with Vivi, but is also very rightfully untrustworthy of her. I wish Heather had been given some time so that she could talk to Jude and understand Faerie properly, so that she has a good idea of what she’s getting in to if she continued her relationship with Vivi.
Which she did. After having Vivi wipe her memories.
That’s horribly disturbing, and I hated Vivi by the end of this book. I don’t trust her at all, and she doesn’t deserve Heather. I really really wanted to give Vivi a second chance, because I liked her in the first two books. But she messed up at the end of the last book, as well as in this one and she should not have agreed to wiping Heather’s memories. Their relationship is completely unbalanced with Heather being mortal, and Vivi being a faerie, and the fact that Vivi can glamour Heather doesn’t sit well with me. Especially since she did it before so easily.
Also, I initially totally forgot about the fact that there was pending war/conflict with the Queen of the Undersea and Nicasia, but then someone mentioned it and I remembered and I wonder what happened to that. But okay, whatever.
Nicasia was just absolutely weird and emotional in this book. Like Jude, she was ruthless and determined and this cruel steely person in the previous books, and the few pages where she was talking in this book (it was probably like only 3 or 4 pages max) she was absolutely emotional and teary and “you have to save him!!” because Cardan was a snake. And I’m utterly confused because I can’t connect the Nicasia that I knew to this new person.
Madoc was still the same incredibly ruthless and cruel guy, and I don’t think I had an issue with him. It’s just what happened to him in the end that annoys me.
Cardan was still the awesome great Cardan. But he barely had any page time at all! I can remember all the instances where he was Cardan and not a snake on ONE hand.
- When Jude first returned
- Their passionate reunion afterwards
- After the snake where he’s with Jude giving out punishments
- Afterwards when they’re in the Mortal World
Yeah. I think that’s it. That’s it!! He deserved so much more, and I missed him.
Orianna was so interesting and I wish she was explored a lot more. But sigh.
Lady Asha confuses me. I have no idea where she stands in this whole drama, and why she was included. Every question I have about her starts with Why. I don’t understand her role in this story.
Now, for the characters who I loved.
Oak was so adorable and cheeky, and I loved him!! He reminded me of a mini sassy Cardan (not the cruel part, just the awesome sassy part) and I loved him so much, and I just wanted them to protect him and keep him far away from this mess.
Grima Mog was so interesting, and hilarious and I’m so glad she was in the book!! She’s the only character besides Oak, Heather, and Cardan that I liked.
And I think that’s the majority of the characters who I feel like mentioning.
First of all, there was no exciting build-up. No tense situations, betrayals, back stabbing, and all of that jazz that throws a wrench into Jude’s plans (well she didn’t have any plans, but hypothetically speaking) and creates so many little plot twists before the main amazing and magnificent plot twist.
Second of all, the Court of Teeth? Okay. They confuse me. And I’m very creeped out by their girl Queen. Everything related to them was just disturbing. I mean, Madoc worked with them, so yeah, obviously they are very disturbing people.
Third of all, that plot twist with Cardan turning into a snake and all of that.
I know, I used a GIF!!! But really, there’s no other way to understand my utter confusion without it.
The whole problem with his book is that it is short. It’s just 300 pages. So the plot was rushed, not fleshed out well, horribly wrapped up, and this big plot twist with Cardan breaking the crown, and then turning into a snake, and Jude dissolving into a rather teary-eyed Queen who’s trying to be strong, but still teary eyed- it was just totally out of the scope of plausibility or awesomeness.
I was expecting this book to go right, and it went left. That’s not bad, but the way it went left is horrible, and I’m still utterly confused about how this snake and war drama was supposedly a good idea.
I mean come on? What was that “war”? And the snake? Okay, fine, let’s have a snake great way to add it to the cover btw. What’s next?? Where’s the actual awesome plot twist?? Is this snake supposed to be a wrench in Jude’s “plans”? Where’s the actual big and awesome part?
But nope. It is the major plot twist, Rukky. And after this, everything’s just fine and dandy, and everyone gets let off so easy, and nothing happens to Taryn and this is supposed to be the spectacular and amazing finale that you were waiting a whole year to read. Didn’t you just love it?
No. I hated it.
Another thing that was weird was that Locke was killed off page. Like he dies, and Taryn explains it with her crappy excuse and that’s it. Locke, Master of Revels, Cruel and Heartless, the guy that I hate for a lot of good reasons, he just dies, and we’re told about it, and that’s just it.
After the awesome twisty plot of TWK, this plot was just a really really big flop and let down. Sigh.
Ahh, finally. The ending.
Madoc gets banished to the Mortal world.
The Court of Teeth is no longer a valid court, but they still get an ambassador who is Lady Asha.
Lady Asha is apparently being punished by being an ambassador for a none existent court.
That weird girl queen on the bridle is let loose.
Some of the traitors who fought for Madoc are turned into hawks (or ravens or something??)
Some of them are forgiven (I believe?)
The Ghost is free and happy (he was locked up with Madoc before). He and Taryn are apparently, um, idk, but they share this Look at the end that is highly disturbing.
Cardan is free and happy.
People have accepted Jude as their Queen.
Heather gets back with Vivi after wiping her memories. She is also happy. Vivi doesn’t learn anything, and she’s also free and happy.
Orianna is fine, free, and happy.
And they all (aka Jude and her fam) head back to the mortal world to celebrate Jude and Cardan’s wedding, and everything is wonderful and dandy.
Take a wild guess about how I feel about this ending.
Let’s pretend this book didn’t happen. Or at least I’m going to try and pretend that it didn’t, because my brain is tired of thinking of this book. My brain is tired of this utter disappointment. I am exhausted just thinking about how everything went wrong.
And it hurts even more because I was very excited and expecting a fabulous book. This book just crushed everything.
In the end, I did not like this and I wouldn’t recommend it. This was one of the most disappointing books that I’ve read. I expected so much from it, and it didn’t live up to my expectations at all.
Here’s Kay’s much nicer and wonderful review that you could check out if you want to see a more positive review. For some, this could have been an awesome final book, but for me it just wasn’t.
One sentence summary: A very disappointing finale with bland characters, ridiculous plot twists, and a horrible ending.
Overall, 1 star.
So, that’s the tea! It was honestly really therapeutic while still very exhausting to write this review.
Have you read The Folk of the Air series? Were you super excited for this book? What were your thoughts? Am I being overly salty? Do you agree or disagree with me? Share your thoughts in the comments below!!