The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3) blurb:
His voice is soft, and I make the mistake of looking into his black eyes, at his wicked, curving mouth.
‘But your beauty will fade,’ he continues, just as softly, speaking like a lover. ‘And all you have and all you are will rot away to nothing. You are nothing.’
As the exiled Queen of Faerie, Jude is reeling from Cardan’s betrayal and is determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose life is in peril. Jude must return to the treacherous Faerie Court and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan.
But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing, and she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics. When a terrible curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing Jude to choose between her ambition and her humanity…
I mean, seriously this review should just be me going ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH for about 1200 words worth, give or take. Because, can we all just scream into the abyss for a second, this was my FIRST ANTICIPATED READ for the year that I actually rated FIVE STARS. And that makes me so happy!!
I mean, like, the whole book. Everything is good. Like, the whole thing. From start to finish.
The plot was incredible. There are definitely parts that I had already figured out after reading The Wicked King, but at the same time, there were SO MANY more things that happened that I didn’t and could never have seen coming, that it didn’t matter. And the best part is that there are hints along the way, (super obscure ones) but afterwards you’re all “oh… that makes sense now”. Like the cover.
The characters are so complex, and I feel like a pendulum swinging back and forth as I try and decide who I like and who I hate – and it changes based on the character’s mood, who they have betrayed recently and more glimpses of their back story and motivations. There were characters that I thought I hated that I now have a grudging respect for. There were characters who have an amazing redemption arc (almost as good as Zuko, I kid you not), and there were characters that I fell more in love with, every page. Don’t get me wrong, there were also times when I wanted to shake some sense into said characters, but they got there in the end.
The focus on true family and what that really means, especially as sisters, is incredible. There’s a really strange dynamic between Jude, Vivi and Taryn in this story and I love how it was explored. They all have such complex feelings for each other and also for Elfhame and how they were raised and what effect it had on them. But at the same time they all want something that one of the others has, and they can choose to help or not, and it’s really curious to watch it all play out.
OTP is such a strong reference in the bookish world. Most of my OTPs have one stabby side out for revenge, and one broken side trying to call the first one back. They are often also m/m because who doesn’t love soft broken boys, and it’s so rare to see a stabby girl with a broken boy. (Shout out to my fave The Boy Who Steals Houses here.) However, I love the Jardan dynamic. I love the raw vulnerability that was new to this story, but I also love the confusion and anger and deceit from the previous books and how that affected the events here. We are all products of our environment, and none more so than Jude and Cardan.
Umm… literally nothing, except that it ended, and I could honestly read stories about Jude and Cardan and Elfhame and all of the Folk forever. I seriously hope that Holly Black keeps writing stories for us set in this world, because the seven books so far just aren’t enough.
Actually, there is one thing that I thought was missing from this book: Ravus. Not that I think this would have made the book any better, and it certainly wasn’t worse for not having him in it, but Roiben and Severin and Kaye and Hazel and Ben were all in it, and I just wanted my troll too. Especially considering what Jude is doing at the start of this book, I just thought for sure that Luis or Val or Ravus would be in it. I don’t remember if Bryern is in Valiant though…? (If you don’t know these characters but you have read this series then you are missing out on a lot more of the Fae world. Please rectify this error immediately and go read The Modern Faeries Tales – Tithe, Valiant, Ironside – and The Darkest Part of the Forest.)
Ok, I know. I’m being a bit dramatic. But seriously, I have had so many end of series books let me down this year, but this one was perfection. Did it play out like I thought it would? No. Did I get everything I ever wanted? Nope. But did it surpass even my wildest hopes and expectations? Absolutely.
A must-read, hyped series that is worth its weight in gold. (And not the individual book weight – like, all of the books’ weight.)
ENDING SPOILER THOUGHTS DO NOT CLICK UNLESS YOU HAVE READ
OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! So, all I wanted after finishing this book was two things: Cardan’s letters to Jude, and the scene where Cardan turns up on Vivi’s apartment doorstep after Jude is kidnapped by Madoc. And friends, I am pleased to let you know, that the letters are in the very back of the Barnes and Noble edition of the book. My copy won’t turn up for weeks, but I was sent pictures of them by a friend in the US and I. AM. DEAD. I finished the book on Saturday morning at 3am (yes, I talked my local bookshop into selling me a copy early – I basically rolled an IRL nat 20 for persuasion, ok?) and I thought my book hangover was bad then, but yesterday (Wednesday) I got sent the screenshots and I read them about 17 times. My book hangover shall continue. Also, I am basically just sobbing while writing this. Because my babies!! Cardan is just so vulnerable and I love it to death.
Also, I acknowledge that this may sound hypocritical based on the fact that I am cranky about Darkdawn having a sappy ending, but Holly Black made no such promises that everyone would die, and she has a history of delivering HEAs, so I was hoping for this type of ending.