by Holly Black
Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10
Summary: Jude Duarte, kingmaker, has been secretly ruling Faerie for five months. Five months of politics, meetings, parties, correspondences, petitions, training, and banquets all while keeping the reluctant High King Cardan, in line and trying to find a way to extend their bargain so she can keep her power. But then Jude finds herself in the Undersea and captive to Orlagh, Queen of the Undersea. With no means to escape, Jude must hope that Cardan tires of ruling without her help and comes to rescue her before he loses the kingdom to his murderous brother Balekin.
7 Quixotic Things about Holly Black’s “The Queen of Nothing”
(May Contain Spoilers)
The Folk of the Air series features a positive LGBTQ relationship between Vivi and Heather. Thankfully in Faerie there seems to be an overall acceptance for many kinds of love relationships. What this reader appreciated as well is that Black made Vivi and Heather’s relationship believable with problems included. No relationship is perfect, there will be conflict, and the possibility for the relationship to end.
Books with prophecies are enjoyable as then the reader gets to guess on how said prophecy will develop or play detective trying to figure out if some of the prophecy has already come to pass. Cardan’s prophecy in The Folk of the Air series was originally interpreted as negative and actually led to Cardan being mistreated all his life. However, the fulfillment of the prophecy was not a bad thing at all but actually very positive for kingdom of Faerie.
Holly Black keeps a fast pace in “The Wicked King” with political intrigue, deceptions, and manipulations. Readers are left not sure on who to trust While taught by her adopted father, Madoc, to be unforgiving and merciless, Jude showed Madoc mercy nonetheless once he was defeated. This shows immense growth in Jude as a character, she easily could have called for his execution for the crimes of killing her biological parents, practically killing her, and then the crimes against the king. Her mercy also makes sense since she does love him like a father regardless of the spilled blood between them, one can love and hate someone simultaneously.
The cause of the Ghost’s betrayal was finally revealed and it was a great relief to discover that he was being controlled. Although this reader would really like to know what Locke’s deal was and why he was fucking with Jude. Perhaps he really was just a mischievous asshole who liked to make good stories but what was the end game, what was in it for him? Regardless, the Ghost’s betrayal was forgiven, he redeems himself by rejoining with Jude and there appears to be a blossoming love between him and Taryn.
Probably this readers favorite aspect of The Folk of the Air series as she is a sucker for romance, the relationship between Jude and Cardan is exhilarating and frustrating. Both of them have feelings for each other but are both so afraid of rejection and getting hurt that they are constantly As stated above, no relationship is perfect. Cardan and Jude experience major misunderstandings and miscommunications, they are constantly hurting each other because they are afraid and yet they love each other deeply. And in the end, they are able to accept each other regardless of faults, weaknesses, and past hurts. They choose each other and choose love.
Holly Black created a stunning, imaginative world filled with adventure, romance, magic, collusion, humor, and heartache. Black is able to paint a picture with her words without pulling away from the action of the story and keep the reader engaged. “The Queen of Nothing” was a fast-paced novel that was fun and hard to put down.
7. The End
Overall The Folk of the Air series has a happy ending. Cardan and Jude are married and rule Faerie jointly, Madoc is exiled to the mortal lands and Oak gets to see his parents as he likes, Vivi and Heather have repaired their relationship, and Taryn is forgiven her crime and is free of Locke. Faerie is no longer on the brink of civil war, traitors were dealt with fairly, and things are relatively calm and pleasant in Elfhame and the Undersea.