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Book Review

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The Queen of Nothing (Hardback)


Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Bonner Books UK
308 pages
RRP: £12.99
ISBN: 978 1 4714 0758 1
Publication Date: 13 November 2019

Exiled to Earth, Jude, Queen of Faerie, is counting the cost of relinquishing her hold over the High King, Cardan. Unexpectedly, her sister arrives with a proposal. Jude is to cover for her in the upcoming tribunal into Taryn’s husband’s death. Though Jude agrees, to save her sister from a death sentence, she is walking back into a land from which she was banished on pain of death...

The Queen of Nothing (305 pages) is the last book in the fantasy trilogy, written by Holly Black.

The novel works fairly well as a stand-alone and there is little more you need to follow the plot. However, because she has this tale to get through, many important aspects of the characters interrelationships are only quickly touched on. For instance, we are told that Madoc killed Jude’s mother and father. Well, it was a little more complicated than this, but that information is contained in the first two novels. If you are to get the best out of the story, you would be well advised to start with The Cruel Prince.

In this novel, Jude returns to the realm of the Faerie. In theory as she and Taryn are twins, it should be a quick in and out job. Attend the trial, answer truthfully that she did not kill the husband and then they can swap back. At first things seem to be going well, but her continued, extended presence means that more than one person starts to suspect that she is not who she says she is. To make matters worse, Madoc attacks the castle, thinking he is rescuing Taryn. The old switcheroo is quickly going south.

At a little over three hundred pages, this was a quick read, partially due to its length, but also to the unremitting pace that Black sets up. After the initial set up, Black cranks the story into high octane, so you never really want to put it down.

All the surviving characters from the trilogy get an appearance , although, because this is the climactic ending, there is little in the way of character development, save for Cardan, as this was all covered in the previous two books.

Spoiler Alert!

There may be some who will disagree with the end of the story. We have become used to grim dark novels, full of angst and killing. There is killing here, but for the most part the story ends happily for nearly all the characters. If you think that this is somehow a cheat or let down, after all, everyone likes to see the villain get his comeuppance, then I think you are forgetting something. At its heart, this series has been a fairy story, so, it is only fitting that it ends with "and everybody lived happily ever after".


Charles Packer

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