Review | The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this 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 powerless and 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 dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

After how much I loved the previous two books, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with The Queen of Nothing. I was expecting heightened conflict with a lot of betrayal, but aside from a couple of twists, this felt very tame. The stakes didn’t feel as high, despite this being the conclusion to the series, and there wasn’t as much political scheming as in the previous books. Despite setting the scene for a dramatic battle with a big villain, The Queen of Nothing wrapped up far too easily, with several pivotal character moments occurring off-page.

Cardan and Jude’s relationship also softened during this book. The enemies portion of the enemies-to-lovers dynamic ended, and suddenly both characters were head-over-heels for one another. Their relationship was much more interesting when it was messy and bitter and complicated, so I didn’t buy when it became a healthy romantic relationship seemingly right away.

All of this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy The Queen of Nothing — I stayed up far too late reading it, after all — but it just didn’t live up to the high expectations that the previous books set.

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