2019 releases · fantasy

Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black


Image result for the queen of nothingI cannot believe that I actually finished a series I started while I was blogging. I haven’t finished a lot of series ever since I started getting into blogging and the bookish community, but The Folk of the Air series is one that really gripped me from the first book. I always thought of my self as someone who did not like faerie books (who knows why), so I was reluctant to pick it up, but I absolutely loved the Jude and Cardan dynamic in these books, and I ended up really falling in love with the series. You can see said love in my The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King reviews. Jude Duarte is one of my absolute favorite characters ever, and her and Cardan’s dynamic is written incredibly well. Sadly, I did not have a lot of love for The Queen of Nothing. And here’s why.

i just wanted more

It all comes down to this — I just wanted a lot more from this novel. From the get-go, I could see that this wasn’t going to be my favorite book in the series. The pacing of it was incredibly off. The first 20 percent of this book is incredibly slow. And by slow I mean boring. Moreover, it serves no real purpose. Whenever there are detailed descriptions of a person’s day, I feel like those descriptions have to serve a purpose, usually in terms of character development. But nope, we just got “here’s what Jude’s doing in the mortal world, it’s weird and without purpose, except to come in as an easy explanation for a thing that’s gonna happen in like 30 pages from now“. Introducing characters just to further the plot is not a good look.

Moreover, this book is just random events that get resolved in a lazy manner in approximately two pages. There’s never any time to feel any sort of tension, or to feel like the stakes are high. Instead, the plot moves from point A where we get conflict which resolves itself in the easiest and most ridiculous way possible, and then we move to point B, where we get the same thing. I hate when the stakes don’t feel high, I feel like the story loses momentum – I was never afraid for Jude, or Cardan or anyone. The stakes were just not high enough. I feel like The Wicked King set the stakes so high, and then The Queen of Nothing came and just did not deliver. She just did not deliver. Both The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King are so carefully built up, while her we bulldozer into everything, but we stay there for two pages, and the bulldozer gets removed by a magic spell. If you did not get that, I just mean that stuff gets resolved deus ex machina, by introducing something new suddenly, which is never satisfying. And naturally, the solutions end up being just too convenient. The story is missing any real grit or tension.

Also, not a lot of character development goes on in here. While I loved the way Jude had to deconstruct her feelings towards Madoc, that’s the only real conflict between characters that we saw in this novel. Cardan is completely transformed when we get to this novel, which I don’t mind in theory, but I dislike how we weren’t shown how the tension of his character was gone. I am all for Jude and Cardan letting down their defenses, but that did not happen on page. Instead, we got to this cinnamon roll Cardan, which is GREAT and WE STAN, but how did this happen? And again, it just lowers the tension and the stakes of the novel. It felt sort of fan service-y not in the end product, the end product was always going to be the same, but in execution. It’s like we need Cardan and Jude to finally BE CUTE so here’s that happening SUDDENLY. I also feel like there was a lot of room to handle Taryn and Jude’s relationship, especially in terms of what Taryn had done, but nope. Instead, we get random stuff happening without any purpose for the characters, or the overarching plot. Even the ultimate twist and the final big scene was such a letdown because it was so incredibly random. And I feel like ultimately the characters suffered the most because of this.

The stakes were set so high in the previous two novels, and then those stakes were not met.


Alas, I am human, and I did really enjoy every Cardan and Jude interaction. I kept waiting for those to happen, because that’s when the book shined. And it is, like I mentioned previously, sort of like wish fulfillment, we needed something to give in their relationship, and we did need them letting down their defenses. Of course I wanted to see Cardan say he was forever undone by Jude. Of course I wanted that. And naturally I wanted him to say that his heart is hers, I AM HUMAN OKAY. But, I just wish we got there with a lot more tension and nuance than we actually did. Cardan does a 180 in this novel, and while I knew that were his feelings all along, he needed to get to them in less than like 10 pages. I feel like all the chemistry they had was gone, and not because it wasn’t there, but because I got whiplash from how fast things were happening. I truly believe this book only needed an extra 150 pages to be perfect.


 “Come home and shout at me. Come home and fight with me. Come home and break my heart, if you must.”

“That boy is your weakness.”

“Perhaps you could just allow yourself to be rescued,” Cardan says. “For once.”

LIKE HE WANTS TO RESCUE HER. I GET IT OKAY. I do. But like. The rest of it? It ain’t it.


I wanted a lot more from this novel, and it’s one saving grace for me was my already established obsession with the characters. I felt like it was quite messy in execution, but Cardan was undone, so there’s an extra star there.



I would love to hear from you! How did you feel about this novel? Did you like it? Do you hate me for this review? I cannot wait to hear your thoughts in the comments!



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6 thoughts on “Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

  1. I completely agree with your review. This book gave me ALL THE FEELS toward the end but I wanted more dialogue, more character development, more…everything. Holly Black could have wrote a 500 page finale and no one would have complained. I’m super sad it’s over.


  2. Great review and agree with everything !!! I didn’t feel as much as you did though, but kept hoping that it was all more fleshed out 😬😬


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