YA Weekend Audio: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: Book 3 of The Folk of the Air

Publisher: Hachette Audio (November 19, 2019)

Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Narrator: Caitlin Kelly

One of the most anticipated endings has finally arrived, and did it meet my expectations? Hell yeah it did. Here’s the thing, though—The Queen of Nothing calls back to some of the themes and elements used in the first two books, but rest assured Holly Black has taken the appropriate steps to give this finale a very special flair to make it stand out. We also get so much of everything we’ve come to love throughout this series, including more conspiracy and more manipulation (in other words, more Fae politics in general) as well as deeper look into the tantalizingly complex relationship between Jude and Cardan.

But first, the obligatory warning: make sure you’ve finished both The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King before reading this review. There won’t be spoilers for The Queen of Nothing, but due to the author’s love of cliffhangers and unexpected surprises, it would be impossible to discuss this book without referencing past events, so I hope you’re caught up! The novel begins straight away with the fallout from the previous book’s bombshell ending, in which Cardan manages to convince Jude to release him from his vows to her, making her his queen before promptly exiling her back to the world of mortals as soon as he gets his free will back. Rightfully pissed off at Cardan’s betrayal, Jude whiles away her days seething at the fact that even though she is the legitimate queen of Faerie, she has lost all authority and her life would be forfeit if she ever tries to return.

But then comes a desperate request for help from her twin sister Taryn, who finds herself in grave danger. To save her, Jude must take a great risk and sneak back into the Faerie Court, using a combination of magic and her own wits to hide herself in plain sight. But going back also means having to confront Cardan, something Jude isn’t sure she’s prepared for, after everything they’ve been through together. Worse, it appears the political situation has not improved since she left. As the realm braces itself for war, Jude finds herself caught in the middle of a roiling quagmire of secret plots, assassination attempts, and other cloak-and-dagger-type dealings.

Holly Black is a master storyteller, and all her careful plotting has finally come to fruition in this final novel of The Folk of the Air trilogy in which one wrong step by the main character can bring everything crashing down. Fae politics have been the backbone of the series since the beginning, but they are especially at the forefront in The Queen of Nothing, as Jude treads a fine line in her dealings with Cardan. But now the suspense is even higher, since we’re not sure where they stand—is the king still a lover and ally, or is he an enemy who will be the death of our protagonist? The two of them continue to tease us with this beguiling dance. Remember, almost every major character in this world has an agenda, and we know from experience that the details behind those agendas are always closely guarded, which keeps the tensions high and readers guessing.

I also love how Jude is a survivor. No, she’s not always nice, nor does she always do the right thing. We’ve already seen the lengths she will go to further her own goals, but that’s not always a bad trait to have in a main character who is more of an antiheroine. It certainly makes things a lot more interesting! Jude’s personality is a result of her experiences, many of which are dark and traumatic. That said, she still has a lot of admirable traits. Hungry for revenge, her reasons for returning to Faerie might not be entirely altruistic, but part of her is also motivated to protect a sister and her secret—someone who is arguably undeserving of such loyalty.

Other highlights include major family drama. We’ve already touched upon some of the issues with Tayrn, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Furthermore, we get to spend some quality time with Oak, who is being kept safe in the mortal realm. On the topic of Jude’s traumatic past, this book also features some serious developments with Madoc. More than that I don’t wish to say for fear of revealing too much, but if you are invested in any or all these characters I think you’ll find yourself deeply engrossed with everything that happens.

Bottom line, if you’ve enjoyed everything you’ve read in the trilogy thus far, I have a feeling you will also love the way The Queen of Nothing brings everything to a close. It’s everything I liked about the previous books and more. All in all, a very satisfying finale, and together these three books make up one of the best YA series I’ve read in years.

More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of The Cruel Prince (Book 1)
Review of The Wicked King (Book 2)

39 Comments on “YA Weekend Audio: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black”

  1. Not reading your review right now as I want to go in blind!!!!! I’ll be back once i’ll have read it promise but I am already glad by your rating!


  2. Perfect review! No spoilers and the welcome indication that the already-thick plot will thicken even more and we are in for a delightfully breathless – and uncertain! – ride. Indeed Jude is not an easy-to-like character, and yet we end up rooting for her because of the tight focus she can keep on her goals.
    I can’t wait to read this for myself… 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!


  3. Absolutely wonderful review as always, Mogsy! Have I ever mentioned how eloquently you write? I envy your ability to summarize plots and to dissect the stories to highlight the things you loved or had issues with! This finale also sounds marvelous and a series well worth checking out. The fae politics in the whole series is what intrigues me most. 😀


  4. Now you’ve sealed the deal for me – I’ll definitely be reading this ASAP! I really love the audio narration and it keeps me from skipping ahead or reading too fast.


  5. OK, I skimmed to the end of this review because I (finally) made up my mind to read these books. But very encouraged that you enjoyed it right to the end. 😀


  6. I kind of skimmed your review because I need to read book 2 still. Plus my Overdrive has a short novella I never got to so I don’t know if that’s important or not. But why is booksnake here? I plan on doing a discussion post about Booksnake soon because as someone who fears them, he’s EVERYWHERE!


  7. I was actually disappointed with The Cruel Prince and didn’t read the sequel. I was much in the minority on this one lol. But I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this conclusion to the series! I know tons of people are waiting for it!


  8. I am not reading your review (I know you avoided spoilers but I just don’t want my view tainted at all so I’m on a total blackout haha). But, 4/5 stars is a good sign I hope lol. I have such high expectations of this one I hope I don’t ruin it for myself. O.o


  9. I promised to come back and read once I was finished reading myself and I totally agree with you Mogsy! Especially the part about everyone having an agenda extremely well hidden!


  10. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

  11. Aaahhh! You’ve finished the series and I have yet to read the first one! It’s sitting on my virtual shelf on Kindle and collecting pixelated dust. I keep telling myself imma read it…still haven’t read it. I loved the Spiderwick Chronicles, so I’m pretty sure I’ll love these!

    Recommendation: if you like stories about fairies, have a gander at Paeder O’Guilin’s ‘The Call’ – it’s brilliant.


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