I’m a huge fan of YA fantasy – and Holly Black is one of my favorite fantasy authors of all. I was a little late to the game with her Folk of the Air series – but holy did it live up to the hype. Given how much I loved the first two books, the bar was set super high for this third and final book, The Queen of Nothing.
After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.
When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.
When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.
Holly Black has long been a stand out in young adult fantasy – she writes complex and interesting stories with unique prose and nearly unparalleled world building skills. When you pick up one of her series, it’s nearly impossible to focus on anything else until you’ve read all the books and have seen how the story ends – such is the case with The Wicked King, the second book in The Folk of the Air series.
You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.
The first lesson is to make yourself that strong.
Jude has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were biddable. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her, even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.
When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a faerie world.
Lately, I haven’t been much of a fantasy reader – especially not a high fantasy reader. But, this summer I’ve been trying to broaden my reading horizons, and this book fit the bill. Obviously the hype for this book has been off the charts – plus the last book I read by Holly Black was phenomenal. With my expectations as high as they were, I’m glad to say that Holly Black has struck it out of the park again with this first entry to her new series.
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.