***Warning!!! This book review contains spoilers from the previous titles in this trilogy, continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***
To see my book review of book #1 – The Cruel Prince – Click HERE!
To see my book review of book #2 – The Wicked King – Click HERE!
To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the series – Click HERE!
Total Star Rating: 2.75 Stars
I just gotta say…WHAT a book series!
Like seriously, some of the most fun and utterly enchanting books/series I’ve had the pleasure of reading! I loved almost everything about them. Were they the most original? Were they the most innovative or unique? Were they….No okay… the answer would’ve been a big “NO” but the point is that none of that matters! What matters is they were absolutely addicting and entertaining! When I opened the pages, my mind was warped into the storyline and anything else was blotted out because I HAD to find out what happened next.
Upon finishing this title, I’m feeling that existential crisis-like book hangover when you’ve completed something major and now you feel dread and hopelessness along with the question “What now?” It’s that bittersweet feeling of torturous bliss; I’m just so sad the journey is already over! I’d hoped for this series would go on for much longer! I definitely feel like there are plenty of untold stories within this wondrous world that Holly Black has created. Maybe one day another book or series will come out, but we can only hope!
(Holly…girl, if you ever actually read this, PLEASE CONSIDER!)
It felt like it’d been forever since The Wicked King had come out, but it only came out back in January of this year! It’s so weird to think that, but what a huge treat to have two amazing books come out in the same year, even though 2019 has been a long one and it feels like it’s been 84 years since January. I still remember the dread after finishing that title and the expectation of having to wait ANOTHER year to get answers (especially after that demon of a cliffhanger at the end), but Holly knew our inner struggles and later this year had announced on her twitter that “The Queen of Nothing” would actually arrive 2 months early, and my wig was snatched and I flopped back dead in my chair from my heart exploding out of my chest.
The series is over, much to our non-fae dismay, but I am certain they will remain in our hearts forever and that Holly Black will in fact continue to bless our eyes, minds, and hearts with more wicked tales of the Fae.
What It’s About:
***ONCE AGAIN, SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE WHO HASN’T READ THE PREVIOUS BOOKS! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED TWICE NOW***
So we left off almost immediately when Jude had been exiled from Elfhame by King Cardan, who also happens to be her husband because they’d secretly eloped! It was a pretty big betrayal that Jude took really hard, and is fuming back in the human world over it with her baby brother, Oak, and her older sister, Vivienne.
She passes the time acting like nothing is actually wrong; it’s almost like she’s accepted her fate. She does a few odd jobs here and there with other Fae folk also stuck in the mortal world in order to get rent money (including battling it out with a cannibalistic Redcap), but is surprised when her twin sister, Taryn, shows up on the front steps unannounced, and soon Jude is thrust back into Elfhame on a mere favor.
Besides facing Cardan again, Jude learns about a prophecy and curse upon the land, and as the true queen of the Fae, she must do whatever it takes to save those in danger and put everything back in balance before it’s too late!
It’s honestly pretty hard to more in depth with what all goes down, but that means I’d be going into some major spoilers, so I just have to say that you really need to read it in order to find out what else happens!
We have lived in our armor for so long, you and I. And now I am not sure if either of us knows how to remove it…”– Holly Black, “The Queen of Nothing”
What I Liked:
- So Many Unexpected Twists! One thing Holly Black absolutely excelled at with this trilogy was her ability to really keep me guessing, like, I honestly was not expecting certain things to happen, oh but they did! It was absolutely delightfully wicked, and it made these books so much fun!
- Jude and Cardan’s Relationship! So slight spoiler alert but not really…these two have their confrontation and FINALLY lay it out on the line! They admit how they really feel and how much they mean to each other, and finally understand that they need to trust each other in order to keep going in the plot. I’m not gonna lie, but Cardan had my salty and bitter heart melting throughout the book, because he’s not a cruel prince or a wicked king…it turned out he was more an awkward loser who got drunk whenever he didn’t know how to explain his feelings! Yay I think…There’s the family issues too, but that’s a whole other can of worms…
- The Morally Grey Characters! Over the years, it’s become apparent that the best stories don’t just have heroes and villains and it’s not all just in black and white. The great procrastinator, George R.R. Martin, once said that in order to make a story with many characters more compelling, you have to make them think they’re the hero of their story. They could do something absolutely heinous, but in that character’s head, they did it for their own happy ending. One character who really comes to mind in this idea was Madoc. The guy wasn’t necessarily a villain, more just an antagonist, but he was also a stone cold killer throughout! Despite that, it was always clear that he had a certain moral compass, a sense of honor in his beliefs and actions, and part of me respected him for it. He wasn’t all bad, and it made him much more complex and intriguing of a character. His relationship with Jude was absolutely spectacular and one of the highlights of the story; it’s unlike a father/daughter relationship you will ever read in literature!
- Chapter 22! Without giving too much away, I just want to commend Holly Black on the brilliance of all that goes down in this specific chapter! Emotions are literally thrown across the room, and *out of context spoiler alert* it goes from comparable scenes in Mean Girls to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in less than two pages! It. Was. Awesome.
- There’s Multiple Redemption Arcs! While everyone in these books were horrible people to some degree, the author allowed some to have a couple arcs of being able to make themselves suck a little less! I know, hard to believe, right? Let me break it down: **MORE SPOILERS** Taryn freakin’ killed a guy! Not just anyone, but her husband and total douche-nugget, Locke! Actually, Jude’s relationship with all her siblings pretty much gets better as the story develops because we all know there’s no stronger bond than blood! Nicasia, the princess of the sea, also got some spotlight onto her and we see a different side of her when Jude makes her return, and it made her more than just the token mean girl who used to hook up in Jude’s Love Interest (thank god)…Jude and Cardan both got a lot better once they both realized they needed to toss aside the chessboard with each other and just admit they’re feelings, and who know, but Cardan is a total sweetheart!
- The Curse/Prophecy/Exile! So while these aspects are nothing new and nothing we haven’t seen or read before, the author’s play on words and how they play out is what becomes a real highlight! Like the Fae, it’s not always what they say but more about how it’s said and interpreted. The curse does come to be and it’s a twist for sure, but I enjoyed how things played out and still stuck within what the prophecy and curse originally said. Also, the outlines of the exile and when Cardan revealed his loophole to Jude had me feeling like a jackass…like, it was seriously that easy?…
What I Didn’t Like:
- Needs More Heartbreak…Call me a sadist, a masochist or whatever, but I wanted more death and more tears…A story can be so much more impactful if there’s more danger and unpredictability to make it more exciting. A couple big names in these books do get killed, and while I won’t spoil who they are exactly, I personally thought more could’ve met a gruesome end…but like I said, I’m not a sadist.
- Over Before You Know It…I think I said this in my previous review of The Wicked King, but these books are short! Part of me enjoyed it, because 2019 was filled with thick volumes so it was a nice change of pace, but I wanted more for these books! It felt like the author had left so many things up in the air and didn’t conclude a lot of her subplots. What happens with Taryn and Ghost? Why didn’t Orlagh make a single appearance? What happened to Lady Asha? What about Oak or the unborn child? Way too many questions for what is supposed to be the finale of the series…
- Very Little Confrontation…This pertains more to Cardan and Jude’s eventual reunion in the story. I don’t know, I was kind of hoping for Jude to be on his ass more about it; she let him off way too easy! I kinda wanted a drawn out, sexually-tense fight like something straight out of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, with sexy times in the conclusion (tail included).
It’s hard to say goodbye to a series that has captured my attention much like The Folk of the Air by Holly Black did. It was truly over before I knew it, and I can definitely say I (mostly) enjoyed the ride while it lasted. Like I mentioned before, but it wasn’t like these books were the most innovatively unique books, but they were for sure one of the most intricately plotted, truly entertaining books I’ve read recently. The characters stick with you way after you finish reading, and the unpredictability of it always left me guessing until I too experienced every emotion that swirled through Jude’s mind as the narrator.
Anyone who likes magical beings, or the Fae to be more specific, will absolutely adore these books because of how much fun they are, but also because of how much Holly Black seems to know about the Fae in general. A few of their quirks and behavioral traits are familiar with other tales I’ve read, but her work takes it 500 miles further. I have a feeling these books will go down as one of the most popular YA Fantasy series of all time, just read them if you haven’t and I think you’ll agree with me!
Thanks For Reading!
— Nick Goodsell