The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read The Cruel Prince a couple years ago before the second two books came out and recently returned to the trilogy to get out of a reading slump. The Queen of Nothing was much like the first two: a fun and interesting read, but nothing that stood out as impressive. It’s your standard YA fantasy series: seemingly ordinary heroine, powerful and attractive love interest, adventure and twists along the way.
The Queen of Nothing itself wasn’t a particularly intense culmination of the trilogy and its flow was very similar to the first two books. The plot is very up-down, up-down with an obstacle introduced, resolved, introduced, resolved, rather than a spectacular ending that neatly ties up a huge jumbled mess that doesn’t seem resolvable (my preferred conclusion style). The characters other than the protagonist and her father feel pretty flat and under-developed, especially the love interest, and the romance definitely feels forced.
What stood out in particular was the protagonist’s voice. She was incredibly self-aware and honest with herself about her weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Her self-reflection and narration of why she became who she has become was the main reason why I kept reading, and her dynamic with her father was especially interesting. However, I do think there was wasted potential in possible character development–as complicated of a character she is, she hasn’t changed much since the first book.
Nevertheless, I would suggest this read for anyone who wants a regular fantasy series that you can easily move on from without having to ponder major plot twists or suffer intense emotional turmoil. -Review by Angela J. ’22
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