The Queen of Nothing, written by Holly Black, is the much-anticipated conclusion to The Folk of the Air trilogy. After the disappointing ending of The Wicked King, this book managed to turn my opinion of the whole series to a positive one. It picks up where the last book ended, with Jude attempting to adapt to live in the human world during her exile.
Throughout this book, one of my few problems was that I did not care about Vivi and Heather as I felt they didn’t add anything to the story. Their characters were fleshed-out well enough and they had cute moments, but their only contribution was as a caretaker for Oak and a connection to the human world. Similarly, I continued to have issues with Taryn, whose “redemption” arc was not satisfying. She killed Locke, but nothing else she did warranted a close bond between the sisters or reason to believe she changed. Overall, Taryn didn’t have much impact on the main plot other than creating emotional pain for Jude in the first two books until she was forgiven and cast into the shadows in the third book.
Cardan was a wonderful character to the end. It was enjoyable to read about a character with reason to be cruel and slowly see the real him by the end of the trilogy. His character arc was refreshing and made sense. Both Jude and Cardan struggled with emotional traumas and it took them time to open up to one another and realize they weren’t all that different, which helped them heal. Black managed to create a scenario that genuinely made me worry that Cardan might not survive, and the way he was brought back didn’t anger me as most death-to-living scenarios do. The ending of the book had been prophesized from Cardan’s birth and it played out in a way that caught both the reader and characters off guard.
Jude’s dilemma with deciding what to do with the new Cardan-snake and realizing that she would rather not have Cardan than have him as a snake with full control over him was poignant and a selfless decision that I wasn’t quite sure she would make. I also liked how Jude grew in confidence over the series and finally stopped annoying me with every decision she made. Despite liking her, I still felt that when she, a human, became Queen of Faerie, if I were a faerie I would have been upset about a human ruling over my kingdom. Knowing that Cardan would rule with her, later on, helped resolve my pity for the people of Faerie.
I do wish that the epilogue had ended with Jude and Cardan in Faerie, but I still enjoyed the cute pizza scene; it just felt out of place in the story. This series was unique from the setting to the plot to the take on faeries that have been oversaturated in the young adult fantasy genre. Despite not enjoying the second book, the third book tied up loose ends and gave me a better outlook over the trilogy.
The Queen of Nothing earns 10/10 dragons, for its perfect, emotional ending and unique world.