The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

book cover of The Queen of Nothing

This was addictive reading. Immediately after I finished, I went to read reviews because it was the closest thing to talking about it with someone that I could do. As such, I’ve read a number of less-positive reviews of this book, and honestly, many of the issues they highlight are things I totally see. A number of massive plot points from the last book – like the Ghost’s betrayal or Lady Asha’s return to court – fizzle out to nothing, forgotten; Jude’s duplicitous twin Taryn basically does a complete 180 to stand loyally in Jude’s court without that fully being explained; Cardan seems to have forgotten the “hate” part of his love-hate dynamic with Jude and apparently tried to bring her back to court immediately after exiling her, claiming the exile was just a test?!? However, I did not notice or care about any of those things while I was actually reading. I was swept along for the ride.

So why did I enjoy this book so much? Honestly, just lots of great character moments. Jude’s confrontation with her father figure, Madoc, felt so high-stakes and thrilling. I liked how the Jude/Cardan thing played out. It was satisfying to see Jude outwit her enemies even though I admit she was a bit slow to do so, to the point that when I left off reading yesterday it was in a huff about how she could be so stupid. For me, it was a rewarding follow-up to the brilliant The Wicked King, and certainly leagues ahead of the first book. Maybe not the tightest-plotted novel ever, but still so fun.

Books in the Folk of the Air series

  1. The Cruel Prince (no review available)
  2. The Wicked King
  3. The Queen of Nothing (you are here)


a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.