Book Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

book review

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Publication date: 19 November 2019

Genre: YA fantasy

Page count: 320 pages

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This is a spoiler-free review for Queen of Nothing, but will contain spoilers for The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King.


There were few books more highly anticipated in the YA fantasy genre than The Queen of Nothing. The concluding book in Holly Black’s highly successful Folk of the Air trilogy, every fan of the series has been desperate to get their hands on Queen of Nothing to find out how Jude’s story ends. I thought the first book in the series was a huge mess and the second book was absolutely fantastic, so I was very curious to see what I’d think of the concluding novel. I didn’t love Queen of Nothing, but thought it was a satisfying conclusion to the series.



He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

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…
It will be really tough to review this book without spoilers, but I’ll do my best. However, this may end up being a short review! There were some aspects of the book that I was disappointed by because I felt that Black didn’t deliver. The thing that jump to mind is the resolution of Cardan’s banishment of Jude — this felt like it was being set up to be more complex or important to the plot than it actually was.. Jude’s banishment after becoming the Queen of Faerie just fell completely flat because it felt like Black was cutting corners.

In addition, I feel like my enjoyment of The Wicked King was due to the scheming and backstabbing and plotting, which was pretty absent from Queen of Nothing. My favourite Jude is scheming Jude, and I love the tension and sense of immediate danger that surrounds our devious couple in that book. Pretty much of that evaporated in Queen of Nothing and it felt more in line with The Cruel Prince, a book I didn’t particularly enjoy, because everything felt so toned down due to the changes in the plot.

On the more positive side, I really enjoyed the dynamic between Jude and Taryn in Queen of Nothing. Their relationship is nothing if not complicated, and I think Black did a good job of resolving their story line. I also really enjoyed the overall arc between Jude and Cardan. I’ve been reserving judgement on the relationship in the series until this final book and I thought the completed arc between the two is really fantastic and well done.

I don’t want to say any more, but please feel free to message me if you’ve read this book and want to talk about it! While I didn’t love Queen of Nothing, it was an incredibly fun, fast-paced, and satisfying conclusion to one of the biggest YA fantasy series of the past few years. It just didn’t have the same depth as The Wicked King.


Want to buy Queen of Nothing for yourself? You can find it at the following sites (affiliate links):

Book Depository | Blackwells


Have you read Queen of Nothing yet? What about the other books in the series? What did you think? Let me know!

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

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