Title // The Queen Of Nothing
Author // Holly Black
Publisher // Little, Brown & Company
Publication Date // November 19th, 2019
Synopsis // 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 on to. Jude learned that 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 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 terrible curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity….
My Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5)
This book literally moved me so much that I took a bookstagram photo and I never take bookstagram photos (and don’t have bookstagram lmao) and made a hand lettered quote. I AM OBSESSED
Most of my reviews are all spoiler free, but I have so many thoughts about this book that I just HAD to get into spoilers! The top will be spoiler free, and I will mark the spoiler part at the bottom!
By you, I am forever undone.
^^by this book, I am forever undone because I am a mess and tbh idk when I’ll be okay again
As you can probably tell, this has been my most anticipated book of the year. Quite possibly this has also been my most anticipated book of my entire life? I don’t know. Either way, I had HIGH HIGH expectations and now that I’ve finished it, I have A LOT OF THOUGHTS.
I finished reading this book at 2:30 AM and it’s now 10:30 PM and I’ve been doing nothing but thinking of this book all day. I mean, I didn’t even get out of my pajamas or make my bed (so I could crawl back in to reread). I spent the entire day giving my non reader family a play by play of the entire series and talking my feelings out. It’s been 20 hours full of pondering and deliberating and trying to find some way to put my intense feelings into words, so now I will attempt to try my best!
I don’t even know where to start with this book. I guess I’ll start with the beginning. Right away, we get a prologue that I really enjoyed about the birth of Cardan, who will be the “ruination of the throne and destruction of the crown” which is pretty ominous and exciting if you ask me so it got me so excited for this book (as if I wasn’t excited enough) and really set the mood for the masterpiece about to follow, so I loved it!
And then after that we’re in the mortal world where Jude is living with her sister, watching daytime television and running errands for local faeries despite being the legitimate QUEEN of them all!! I loved seeing the juxtaposition, loved seeing her bide her time and be strong and badass still able to fight and train in this world that she’s so unused to, and that I was unused to seeing her in too after all the devious faerie magical schemes of the last book!
But not to worry, although this was amazing it wasn’t what I was here for and it didn’t last long! Once she’s back in faerieland that’s when the excitement really starts!! Unfortunately, here I have to say a tiny complaint I have which is that the first part of the book felt rather slow and like it dragged to me. The pace just started picking up with Jude in Faerie, but then she was suddenly removed from the action (and Cardan!!) and I was kind of antsy ready for her to get back into the action. Maybe around the first third of the book dragged a bit to me? But the very beginning of the book, and after page 100 or so, the page really was flying and there was so much happening that I just flew through the book and it felt like there was constantly something happening and it didn’t drag at all!
And also: Oh my gosh the book really does a good job of building to her inevitable next confrontation with Cardan after he tricked and exiled her and I was dying to read that part and it was everything!!! In fact, basically all of her interactions with Cardan were everything so let’s talk about them!!!
Jude and Cardan are literally my OTP and I will ship them and nobody else until I die (sorry Kaz and Inej you guys are second now). To be honest, in the first book I wasn’t a huge fan of their relationship, as I didn’t really get feels from it and thought it almost toxic. Well, Holly Black is a queen because by the second book she had me loving it, and by this book I would DIE for them (and honestly if I ever saw them in real life I would probably die because they would kill me so it’s all good).
I!! Just!!!! Love them!!! They’re in this huge messy world of politics and tricks and war and they’re themselves such devious manipulative tricksters, yet they’re each others greatest weaknesses and they’re the only people who can see past their armor and let down their guard!! And they would hate so much to be weak, but they can’t control, and they hate that they love each other but they still do and they can’t resist!! And the things they’re willing to do for each other, the way they put the other person above themselves and what they’ve been wanting and scheming towards is just!!! (More on them in the spoiler part below).
One of my very small complaints with this book is that I wish there was more Cardan!! He’s largely absent from the first third of this book, and the last part of the book as well, and I just wanted more scenes of these two schemers together!! But honestly that doesn’t make it a bad book because this book really let Jude shine, it’s just me selfishly wanting them to make out more lmao. (But not just them making out!! I mean, I loved those scenes but those weren’t even my favorite scenes my favorite scenes were the scenes where they were more talking and maybe not realizing just how much they cared for each other…but showing it…)
But as I said, this book really let Jude shine! (I mean, she’s always shone, but here she’s unstoppable). I mean. She’s a LITERAL QUEEN. (A Queen of Nothing, but still a queen nonetheless). As we saw in the end of The Wicked King, Cardan being the High King means he has power over the land and can control it, and being the High Queen, Jude has a bit of that herself and I just LOVED seeing her come into her power! Yass queen! She was basically going to refuse to die and drag herself back from the brink of death to get her revenge and power and I just!! I loved seeing her fight, both with her sword and with her tongue, and get to show the world that Jude Duarte, mortal queen of Faerieland, is NOT someone to mess with.
Beyond just being a badass queen, I loved Jude’s interactions with other characters. She’s been tricked and betrayed and lied to so often (albeit maybe deserved considering she does her fair share of that herself), and this book really showed the results of those things and how she interacted with those characters. Most obviously I love the sisters, including her relationship with Vivi who never wanted to be a part of this political mess, and Taryn who I wanted to strangle who last betrayed her so badly. I loved seeing her interact with Madoc too, essentially her father who’s now trying to steal her crown. I loved seeing her compassion for Oak, her somewhat shaky relationships with those of the Court of Shadows, and even seeing her talk to her old nemesis Narcissa.
Now the ending. Was!!!! Everything!! Just like the past two books, it felt not like there was one plot twist at the ending, but rather like the entire last 50 or so pages was just one twist after another until the book was just a twisty warped mess that left my brain in the shambles that it’s been in all today. I really enjoyed the ending, and although there are a few things that weren’t addresses as I’d hoped them to be, overall I really really loved it! (I didn’t love it as much as The Wicked King, which is honestly my favorite book of 2019, but I definitely loved it more than Cruel Prince, which tbh I wasn’t that impressed with wow remember the days before I was absolutely obsessed I was a different person then). I really really loved this book.
I guess I’ll start with a couple things that I didn’t love (and the reason this is only 4.5 stars not 5). Some people say the epilogue was kind of cheesy, and I guess I see that, but overall I did really enjoy it. I do think I might have enjoyed it more though if she had killed Madoc because I mean she’s killed so many others for less, and this might bring it full circle to when Madoc killed her human parents in the prologue. I also wish that Locke hadn’t been killed off pageas it was a bit anticlimactic considering how prominent of a nemesis he was in the first two books, and I wish that Jude had killed him instead of Taryn. Also I still kind of hate Taryn, but I guess she’s good now and I do still love the sisters relationship so if she ended up good I’m glad that they made up.
A couple unanswered questions I had though: I wish that Jude’s mortality had been brought up? As well is it still the plan for Oak to be the eventual ruler when he clearly doesn’t want to rule, and Jude has shown that she’s (a bit vicious but still) got the potential to be a great (and terrifying!! but in a good way!!) queen? This goes with her mortality because it mentioned that Jude will stay young when she stays in Faerieland, but if she goes back to the mortal world she’ll age, and I’m just wondering if she’s really going to abdicate and then what, will she ever want to visit Vivi in the mortal world and then she’ll become rapidly older than Cardan or something?
But honestly, this is just giving us potential for a spin off series and I NEED IT! Honestly a series about anyone her I’ll read it I’ll read anything Holly Black writes. We got to see cameos from The Darkest Part of the Forest and the Tithe series (which I read so I really enjoyed these cameos), so just give me a cameo of Jude having gained immortality from the land or something ruling with Cardan in an Oak book and I can die truly happy.
Anyways, I just need to gush about the things I loved!!
THE SNAKE!! YA BOOK SNAKE!! As much as everyone talked about the book snake, I was not expecting the snake on the cover to be literal!! I literally sat up and gasped when Cardan turned into a snake!! I was in so much shock and truly devastated!! I wasn’t sure if she was actually going to go through with bridling him and my heart was just breaking!! and then SHE KILLED HIM he was DEAD aND bEHEADED but then HE CAME BACK and it was too much for my heart to handle I just oaisdjfaskldfj
Also just like Cardan I was NOT expecting the destruction of the crown and ruination of the throne to be literal!!!! HE actually went there and I was shocked when he broke the crown!! But at the end Cardan and Jude were accepted by all the faeries as their rulers and I swear sobbing it made me so happy!!!
ALL OF THE JUDE CARDAN SCENES WERE TOO MUCH FOR MY HEART TO HANDLE!!
Like when he first sees her and he’s like of course I know you’re Jude I had to reread that page like five times ahh he knows her so well he can tell them apart so easily and then he was like well duh the exile was a trap come back I wrote you letters I was falling apart at how matter of fact this was but I loved it ohmygosh.
And when she falls and almost dies and he just straight up announces to everyone that they’re married and she’s the queen I gasped out loud he just went there and had no shame and didn’t hide it or anything he just went for it and now everyone knows how he’s tied to Jude and aoiwsfjdlkoaisfdjlk. And he’s like you were never so breakable and I was a puddle of goo.
And at the end when he turns from snake back to faerie and Jude is like he’s terrifying but didn’t care and just ran for him and it says he held her like she was the only solid thing okay Jude who he used to trick and deceive is his rock holding him together!!
AND THE DECLARATIONSD of LOVE!!! ❤ ❤
I can’t even list all the things I loved there’s just too much my heart is swelling and bursting and maybe I’ll reread it again right now because literally why not.
What do you think of The Queen Of Nothing? What order would you rank the books of this trilogy? (I would say from best to still amazing but comparatively worse (1)The Wicked King, (2)The Queen of Nothing, (3)The Cruel Prince). I’d love to chat in the comments below!