This wasn’t the first Holly Black novel, or series I’ve read and finished, but it definitely has solidified her spot as one of my favorite authors. When 2019 started, I had only expected to get Wicked King at the beginning of the year and then suffer another year waiting, but Black took pity on us all, releasing Queen of Nothing this November. Yes, I said it, she released two books in the same series, all in a year. If that doesn’t already make you love this author, then the trilogy certainly would. Spoiler warning is a given since this is the finale to a series, so if you haven’t read the other books or are wondering if I’ve reviewed the other books of the series, you can find the Wicked King review here. Since this is a finale review it will be a bit on the shorter side, but really my goal is to tell you why you should read this finale, which shouldn’t be so hard (it’s really good!).
The Queen of Nothing picks up after Cardan has exiled Jude to the human world, banishing her from Faerie and her hold over him. It is a move that hurts her politically and emotionally as she realizes how much she had fallen for him, and been tricked by the one person she never thought she would trust. Boy was that ending a doozy, so thank you Holly Black for being merciful on us! Queen of Nothing begins with Jude adapting to a “human” life, and trying to provide for Vivi and Oak as honestly as she can (essentially working for money instead of magicking it). This means working for the other fair folk trapped in the human world. Life in exile isn’t perfect, but she’s dealing until Taryn shows up and reveals a crime that has Jude pretending to be her sister and going before King Cardan once again.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
There are rarely books you read that don’t seem to have any flaws or parts that make you pause, The Cruel Prince trilogy though has been a whirlwind trilogy for me, hooking me from the beginning and surprising me at every turn. Character wise Cardan is the perfect anti-hero, his own flaws often being his worst enemy, and pushing him straight into the control of Jude. He’s constantly at odds with her, testing and teasing her, his goal never more than his own entertainment. Jude on the other hand trusts no one, not even her own twin at one point, making it hard for her to stay aloft in a world and court where everyone is stronger and more powered than her. Her hold on Cardan is her one trump card, and even that is turned on its head when he banishes her. Their relationship on paper seems to be one of the strangest out there of hate turned to love, but Black does an excellent job of revealing how each of these broken characters needed one another to be better. If the Cruel Prince was where the two were simply at war, and Wicked King was about sudden and surprising emotions, the final book was all about the last transformation of their relationship and overcoming their own selves.
The Queen of Nothing met all of my expectations and exceeded them, keeping me hooked just as much as its predecessors, and giving me a wicked book hangover. I think the main things that always pull me into a Holly Black novel/series are the Fae themselves, and the characters she places in that world. If you’ve enjoyed the world of Faerie in Cassandra Clare’s books, or any other books out there definitely pick up any of Holly Black’s novels, she is the Queen of the Fae after all!
What were your thoughts on the Cruel Prince books? Let me know in the comments below!