*Although this review is spoiler free for The Queen of Nothing, it will contain spoilers for The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)
The high stakes conclusion to The Folk of the Air trilogy was the BEST way to end 2019! I read The Wicked King & The Queen of Nothing back to back & so I didn’t have to bear the painful cliffhanger many of my fellow bookworms experienced. This last installment had double the schemes & politics making for one hell of a ride! While I’ll still maintain that The Wicked King is my favorite of the three, this was a satisfactory ending to a beloved YA Fantasy. Jude is living in the mortal world with her sister Vivi after having been exiled by Cardan when last we saw her. She’s taking odd jobs given to her by another exiled member of Fae in order to keep up appearances of making a living. She’d pretty much given up all hope of returning to Fae & also was harboring a lot of anger for how dirty she was done in by Cardan. Hope is restored when her duplicitous twin sister Taryn shows up in the mortal world asking for Judes help in clearing her name. Returning to Fae comes with much risk but Jude is up to the task if only to get closer to Cardan.
From the minute Jude is back in Fae it’s non-stop twists & turns with very little time to catch your breath. To top off all of the plotting & scheming we get a curse that is now plaguing the land of Fae itself. You’d think Holly Black wouldn’t be able to pull it all off in 300 pages but the Queen has done it again! it may not be my absolute favorite in the series but I won’t sit her & lie, this is entertainment at it’s FINEST!!!!
If I had to choose one thing I loved above all else in this trilogy & the very reason for why it will go down as an all time favorite, it would be the complex father/daughter relationship we see play out. We know Maddoc is the General who killed Judes parents but his choice in taking the twins & raising themas his own is hard to wrap your head around. He is trained in the art of war & Jude in many ways is his protégé. The complexity of their relationship is always at the forefront especially when she makes moves that will directly affect him. Her relationship with Tarryn is also filled with challenges they are still trying to overcome till the very end. Overall I’d say the bonds & relationships Holly Black developed on these pages are what gets you invested as a reader because in their own way these characters are relatable. Measuring up to someones standards, sibling rivalry, and the complexities of humanity come in to play making for one unforgettable story.
Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having magnificent starts/ends to your day 💜 this post is scheduled so I imagine by the time you’re reading this I am somewhere under the concrete jungle that is NYC playing Frogger jumping from one train to the next all in an effort to get to work. Your comments down below are the first thing I see when I get in the office (with some time to spare 🤞🏼) & reading them is my fave way to decompress in the AM before adulting. Feel free to comment down below if you’ve read any of these titles or if you feel I should bump up any one in particular on my TBR 💜
*I’m already using the Carpe Diem notepad cause one can never have too many stationery 😂 LOVE the travel mug 💙 the candle I can do w/out, I’m just not a fan of strong musky scents. The art print is beautiful 😍 and this is honestly one of the books I’ve been really interested in. Definitely cool getting a book I hadn’t read as an arc but had high interest in 🙌🏼 Overall this box gets…
*I was fully prepared to start this one two nights ago until I realized I had a buddy read scheduled & this had to be paused. I feel like Circe is going to need my undivided attention, super stoked to get to this one next 💜
I hope you all are having wonderful days & reading all the great books! I also wanted to congratulateDarnell again on winning my Dread Nation Giveaway! 🎉🎉🎉🎉 I hope to have a few more giveaways throughout the rest of the year, for books as good as this one! 💜
*Thank you Little Brown Books for Young Readers and Holly Black for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion
Where to begin?….well maybe with the fact that up until now I hadn’t come across a fae character that I liked in any of the books that I’ve read. This all has changed of course now that I’ve read this magnificently twisted book by Holly Black. I get it now! I get why you all call her the Queen of the Fae! The Cruel Prince was EVERYTHING I never knew I needed & now I simply cannot get enough of this world.
The opening scene is one of the most cold blooded I’ve ever read, we meet our MC Jude in her home with her two sisters Taryn & Vivi. A knock on the door brings a stranger into their home changing the course of their lives. Jude’s sister Vivi is half Fae & her father Madoc has come to take her back to Elfhame, the home her mother took her away from when she left him. Murdering both their parents, Madoc is now responsible for his daughter Vivi and her two human siblings. We fast forward 10 years from the date he stole them away to find them all grown up into teenagers with very different personalities and feelings towards their new home & Madoc himself. Elfhame is no easy place to live in especially if you’re a human which is why our MC Jude has given it her all to try & fit in by earning a place in the royal guard. Always having to look over her shoulder, Jude knows the fae world is a treacherous place to live in & the only way to survive is to always be ten steps ahead.
Our antagonists are Prince Cardan and his fae friends who look down on all humans which make Jude & Taryn easy targets. For the most part, the bullying is directed towards Jude for wanting to be in the royal guard so badly that she is actively competing in the tournament. Taryn on the other hand tries to lay low & encourages a non-yielding Jude to do the same. Jude however, is not the type to stay down for long & pushes back each & every single time. She manages to capture the attention of Prince Dain who is rumored to be chosen by the king as heir to the throne. Dain offers her a position with his royal spies & Jude begins to unravel court secrets one by one. She soon realizes that nothing is at it seems & the kingdom of Elfhame is in danger. The Cruel Prince is filled with political intrigue, ruthless double-crossings, and tons of twists & turns that will leave you second guessing all of your theories. If you enjoy watching pieces on a Chess board move Game of Thrones Style, then chances are you’re going to LOVE this book!
It’s rare that I end up loving the MC of a Fantasy so hardcore & yet even more impossible…that I end up loving the MC as much as the antagonist haha! I’m still not sure that any of the characters in this book can be described as wholly good or bad, they’re all so complex & deeply layered. Starting with our MC Jude who can be seen as a outcast & a bit of a anti-hero, she is going to put the kingdom and its people above all else. Jude was unpredictable & resilient to the very end, very much a product of her environment. Her twin sister Taryn who is also human has a very different mindset although ultimately she’d also like to just fit in. Unlike Jude, Taryn has no interest in training for battle & instead plans to marry a fae of the royal court. We find these two siblings at odds throughout the book as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a strange land that doesn’t want them.
Madoc is also an interesting character, described as blood lustful and a winner of wars. He also is the person who murdered their parents & then gave them a new home with everything they could’ve possibly ever wanted/needed. Each of the girls has a difficult relationship with Madoc who is the only father figure they’ve known since the age of 7. Vivi who is his legitimate daughter by blood has never accepted Madoc or Elfhame. We see her often steal away in the human world where she hides her true identity. Vivi has held onto a lot of her anger & resentment towards Madoc & we see her rebel against him at every turn.
Prince Carden & his crew of friends who go out of their way to make Jude’s life all the more difficult, are just as complex as our three siblings. There’s definitely a lot more underneath the malice & I ended up really enjoying this character’s development.
There are plenty more characters in this book the I truly enjoyed, the cast is large & I could talk about each one for days but then that would take the fun away from meeting them for yourselves. Besides the main characters and group of antagonists we also have another set of players in the background who are just as crucial to the story. When we first start this story, it’s on the heels of a coronation where the King would choose his heir. You can bet on there being tons of moves being made between his heirs for the highly coveted seat. With so many players on the board I found myself HOOKED! with many theories that ultimately didn’t even come close to the final play for the throne 😉
Never have I ever entered a Fantasy world & felt the need to watch my own back! Such was the case with this book & I can’t even begin to explain just how deeply fleshed out this story, it’s characters, and world really are. The plot alone is FLAWLESS!!! well executed & guaranteed to leave you holding your theories with a big Oh So You Thought That’s What’s Happening Here?HA! Think Again! I am in awe of how Black brought all the pieces together, she thought of its all! past, present, and future. As if that weren’t enough, the characters were morally gray & really hard to turn away from. There isn’t a heroine in this Fantasy, this isn’t that type of book & I found this to be ingenious! EVERYONE is effed up at some point or another & EVERYONE is flawed. The world building is A+ bookworms! yet again in awe of how Holly Black managed to give us so much in under 400 pgs. Elfhame comes to life with its many different races of fae, their customs, food to tempt any human, and a high court filled dangerous characters. I couldn’t get enough & every time I opened this book, I found myself sucked into the land of the fae very easily. I didn’t see the ending coming and had to pick my jaw up off the floor at the very end. The good news is that Black leaves us with an amazing epilogue to hold us over & I’m going to need the sequel like yesterday! *sobs* It’s not too early to place this book on my Top 2018 reads, already have. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, please do not hesitate! the hype is well deserved with this one & I just know you won’t regret it 😉
It’s been a while since my BFF & I buddy read a book so when she suggested it I wasn’t going to say no! LOL. I cleared all of my planned TBR books because buddy reads with my twin are always fun & I knew this would be no different. I’m so glad it was a book we both really enjoyed & are now totally OBSESSED with! Check out her full spoiler free review here!
When I asked Gretchen how her experience reading Holly Black for the first time went, she immediately gushed on how AMAZING It was! “I loved the world building, characters, and how they took me by surprise. I loved how dark the characters were because the match my soul!”*she LOL’d when she said this* Gretchen LOVED Carden who plays the antagonist, she admits not liking him at first but then realized he had reasons for being the way he is.
The world building as I mentioned in my review, is one of my favorite aspects of this book. Although this was my first Holly Black, it isn’t my first book with Fae & I found myself wondering why this time I ended up LOVING them so much. I asked Gretchen, compared to other Fae books she’s read, what made the world of Elfhame in The Cruel prince stand out?“The many different races of not just Fae, the inclusion of termites, Goblins, and pixies”…we both agreed that this book had so much detail in the best of ways & we soaked it all up.
The main characters in this book also battled internally with whether they were given a choice, would they stay in Elfhame or return to the human world. Vivi who is the Fae sibling, hasn’t accepted Madoc as her father or her new home. She can be seen often sneaking away to the human world & clinging on to human things. We also see Jude struggle with the desire to be one of the Fae. I asked Gretchen if she were give the choice would she live in the human world as a Fae? or would she continue to live in the Fae world as a human? “I’d prefer to be a Fae living in the the human world, living undercover with modifications to keep people from finding out my true identity”…for those that are wondering, it’s totally possible with the help of some contacts & our wonderful author herself has surgically re-shaped her ears to those of the fae 😉
Lastly, I asked Gretchen whether she plans on picking up any of Holly Black’s other books that have already been published & she said ABSOLUTELY! Gretchen is interested in reading Tithe 🙂
Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), The Darkest Part of the Forest, and her new series which begins with The Cruel Prince in January 2018.
She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.
Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a wonderful day, possibly even a snow day for some like myself *fingers crossed* Sound off in the comments if you plan on reading The Cruel Prince? & if you’ve already devoured it like we did, how was it for you?