The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black—Not Exactly What I Expected

In a series, you can say that a finale is as important as a sequel if not more. The characters, good or bad, need the closure they deserve and so do we. That’s why my anticipation towards The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black was building as I finished the second book last Saturday.

Disclaimer: This review below will contain spoilers for the first two books. Read my review of The Cruel Prince here and The Wicked King here.

After being exiled by King Cardan, Jude is now living in the mortal world. No one except Vivi knows the truth about her being the High Queen of Elfhame post marrying Cardan and betrayed by her own husband. She is then forced to do a job like a mortal does until her twin sister Taryn comes and begs for Jude to switch places with her.

The opportunity is certainly tempting no matter the risk. Jude then tries to sneak her way into the Elfhame as Taryn but not long after that she finds herself dragged away to the enemy’s lair. Caught in between tricky political options, Jude must choose what is it that she needs to do as a queen.

The first half of The Queen of Nothing was great. After that jaw-dropping ending in book 2, I of course devoured it quickly to make sure that our two main characters were okay. But as a finale of a series I had excessively praised, I sadly have to admit that this book didn’t exactly exceed my expectation.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s still a great and well-written book as a whole. The plot was jarring, and Jude had successfully proved that my assumption about her being too power-hungry in book 2 should be revised. Even more encouraging, it seemed like I got more and more in love with Cardan throughout the story. But whereas the aspects were promising enough that at first I was so sure it’s going to be an epic finale, the plot seemed to be very lacking in development and details. After the major twist happened and the resolution was disclosed, all I could think of was, “This is IT?” For a twist this rich and promising, Holly Black should have explored the details more carefully and thoroughly.

But I was not that disappointed thoughor perhaps only the slightest. Like I said, it’s still a good book regardless. It was just so unfortunate that with so much potential to dig through, the last half of this book felt rushed and hurried. Imagine if we got more chapters with more details about the curse and the side characters’ development. I would be even more reluctant to say goodbye to this series.

In conclusion, I still enjoyed The Queen of Nothing so much though as a finale it didn’t capture my heart as much as I had hoped it would. Cardan's redemption I had been longing to see since the beginning didn't feel enough either, so even though I loved him, he seemed to be a very different person here (there was growth, but please understand that I was hoping to see more). However, I will still give this series a reread in the future. It's probably quite fitting to say that considering the issues I found juxtaposed with how much I enjoyed it, The Folk of the Air series is a perfect guilty-pleasure fantasy to read.

Actual rating: 3.8

Please stop reading if you haven't finished this book.
Now my question is, what happens after that ending? Will Oak ever be the king like Jude's original plan? Jude is a mortal and she doesn't live foreverI'm still kinda surprised that this fact wasn't even discussed by the two. Shouldn't Cardan be worried that the love of his life wouldn't be on his side forever? If I were him, I wouldn't be able to sit calmly bearing the fact that I would live forever while mine wouldn't. At least I would try to find a way to make Jude a Fae if possible. Or does it mean we will get another spin-off later, without putting How The King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories into consideration?