The Queen of Nothing

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Author: Holly Black
Genres: Fantasy
Pub. date: Nov. 2019 (read Dec. 2019)

If you’ve read my previous reviews, you might know that I liked but didn’t love Holly Black’s two previous books, The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King. They’ve been incredibly hyped up and a lot of people really like that, but for some reason they just didn’t work as well for me.

Mostly I think it comes down to me not really meshing with Holly Black’s writing style. I find her writing a bit juvenile. I feel like I’m reading middle grade even though the storyline is anything but middle grade. It’s a very simple style of writing. She doesn’t waste words and I think that works for a lot of people; I just fail to be overly impressed by it.

Something about the plot of the first book just didn’t really work for me either, I found it a bit disjointed. But I can’t deny that I was a lot more engaged in the second book, though I still didn’t love it. For someone who didn’t love either of the first two books though, I was crazy excited for the final book in the trilogy. The Wicked King does have a killer cliffhanger and despite feeling so-so about a lot of the book, I was definitely hyped up by the ending.

Enter The Queen of Nothing. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one! Hachette was kind enough to send me a finished copy, so I was eagerly awaiting for it to arrive. I ended up being off sick with a cold when it did finally arrive and I’m not embarrassed to say I read the whole thing the day it arrived. I still don’t love the writing style, but something about the final book just really worked for me! I wasn’t really super into the whole Jude/Cardan thing in previous books, but I was trash for it in this one. I couldn’t wait for them to finally be in the same room again so I could read all their witty banter. Plus I liked Cardan a lot more in this one. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve forgotten a lot of the particulars and just how cruel he was in the first two books, but I thought he had a lot of character growth and I liked how he finally dispensed with being an asshole to Jude.

The book builds up a lot in the middle, which really propelled me through it. So much was happening around the halfway mark that I felt like I had to be at the climax of the book, but no, there was still so much more action yet to come. Holly totally caught me off guard with that huge twist near the end, and while I did think the resolution after that was a bit obvious, she still gets major points for shock value. Although, that’s something that’s been present through all 3 books.

Anyways, despite my mixed feelings of the first two books, I’m kind of tempted to read the whole thing again. It’s definitely a juicy series and I wonder if I’d enjoy it more on  a second read through now that I’m able to look beyond the writing style. A great ending to a pretty good trilogy!

A Court of Frost and Starlight

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genres: Fantasy
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses (Book 3.5)
Pub Date: May 2018 (read May 2018)

Self indulgence at its finest. This is why you don’t write books about after the characters have ridden off into the sunset. Sure, I know the last book ended with the conclusion of a bloody war and that there was bound to be further conflict and a long healing time, but it’s not engaging and I don’t want to read about. What was the plot in this book? Does anyone know, because I sure don’t.

First off, I’m just going to say it, the sex scenes in this book are cringe-y. Especially anything from Rhys’ point of view. I know everyone was super excited to get some new POV’s, and I was too, but like from Mor, Amren, and Azriel. The Rhys in ACOMAF is like my one true love, but reading his POV was like reading Twilight from Edward’s point of view – his love is too perfect and all consuming – it felt fake, it made me cringe, and it was boring.

I do understand that Sarah wants to introduce a whole new storyline in subsequent books, focusing on more characters, and honestly this won’t deter me from those books because I trust they will have a plot, but this just felt unnecessary. Nothing about solstice was engaging. It kind of felt like fan fiction. I mean, you love thinking about your favourite books and characters and what might have happened to them after a beloved series ends, but this is why some things need to just end and why I appreciate authors who are able to walk away from a successful story. To decide they’ve said what needed to be said and move on. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, because I thought Deathly Hallows ended perfectly and that revisiting the story can sometimes just cheapen what came before.

I don’t think Sarah knows how to walk away from her characters. She’s literally never done it and always has to revisit them. I didn’t like Tower of Dawn either because I felt it was just way too overdone for a side story and that we didn’t need 700 pages on Chaol. He could have come back in Kingdom of Ash and I would have been fine just knowing that he healed himself and brought back a nice healer with him. Likewise I feel like 80% of what happened in this story is going to be totally irrelevant at the end of the day in the next book. I’ve also been very disappointed in Sarah’s editors for her last 3 books because I feel like they’ve stopped actually editing her now that she’s become so popular, but someone needs to cut out some of these extras. It’s just over-indulgent and I don’t want to read about it.

I don’t even really want to talk about the plot in this book. What’s the point. If you care at all about this series, you know what’s going on. If you haven’t read this series, it is worth your time just to read the second book in the series, A Court of Mist of Fury because it is in my opinion the best book Sarah J Maas has ever written and has the most wonderful blend of character development, plotting, and romance.

In conclusion, I did not like this book. The only real new POV in this book is Cassian’s and to be honest I didn’t really see the point, it didn’t seem to add that much to me. She did have a few random chapters from other POV’s, but it was mostly Feyre and Rhys, which really seemed counter-productive to me. I’ll still be here for the next book, but I really hope it’s better than this disappointment.

The Cruel Prince






Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Author: Holly Black
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Read: Jan. 2018

First off, I definitely liked this. It was an intriguing story with some pretty interesting characters. But I didn’t love it quite as much as I was hoping. This may be a good example of a book where the hype gave me unrealistic expectations. The Cruel Prince only came out the first week of January, but I’ve been seeing so much buzz about it everywhere and pretty much everyone seems to have totally loved it. Like I said, I did actually quite enjoy this book and I will definitely be reading the next one, but it’s one of those 3 stars reads that I liked not loved.

This was my first Holly Black book. I know she’s written a ton of stuff and that she’s quite popular, which surprised me because I didn’t love her writing style. Her writing is very simple and I honestly had to go back to goodreads to check what genres this was listed under because, with the exception of the opening scene (which is gruesome), I felt like I was reading a middle grade novel for the first half of this book. Between Jude’s bullying at school, her boy woes, and the simple writing, I didn’t feel like I was reading a YA fantasy novel.

Anyways, to give you a quick summary, The Cruel Prince is set in the world of the high fae, which is closely linked with the mortal world. The first chapter is stellar and starts off with a brutal double murder and the faerie general, Madoc, dragging Jude and her two sisters back to Faerie to be their surrogate father. Jude and her sister Taryn are both humans and suffer a lot at the hands of the fae. Humans are often enchanted and used as servants by the fae and it’s only Madoc’s status as the general that protects them. They are bullied at school, but Faerie is really all they’ve ever known and they are both desperate to fit in.

Jude wants to prove herself by besting the fae and becoming a knight to the royal family. But she is at odds with the young prince Cardan, who’s in her class at school and it unbelievably cruel. When rumours fly that the high king is going to be abdicating his position to one of his 6 children, Jude gets caught up in the drama and the secret scheming for the crown.

Okay, what did I like about this book? I liked Jude as the narrator. She had spunk and she was quite stubborn, but also ballsy. I also liked Cardan – the book is called ‘the cruel prince’ so you know there’s going to be more to Cardan than meets the eye and I was really intrigued as to what his deal is. I also thought Madoc was a fascinating character, even though I HATED him. I liked Vivi too, so I guess the strongest part of this novel for me was the characters, which is a pretty good because in my opinion, characterization is key.

Things I didn’t like – apparently there’s a few of them. Firstly, I did not like the pacing, which I thought was all over the place. The novel starts off strong with the double murder and then gets ridiculously boring for the first third. Things get super intense again two thirds in with the coronation scene, but then they inexplicably slow down during the last third when the novel should be at its climax! I like a good planner, but I didn’t really like having to read about all the planning in lieu of just reading about the action.

I also thought this book was king of predictable. There was a side mystery going on throughout the course of the book, but I didn’t find it particularly compelling and I found it kind of hard to follow, so I was never really that intrigued in trying to solve the mystery because I never felt like I even really knew what the point was. There were definitely some surprising scenes in the book, but overall I could kind of guess where things were going and I was never really surprised by betrayals because I never trusted any of the characters to begin with.

I can’t decide if I liked the relationship between Jude and Taryn or not. They were really all each other had in the world and I found it hard to believe they would be so at odds with one another.

I’ll give Black props though, this book had a lot of characters and I never had any trouble following along with them all (with the exception of the side mystery element). I love when minor characters matter and I love when they have depth, and Holly Black had both in this novel. The Cruel Prince has the perfect kind of cliffhanger. Black has closed off all her loose ends, but she’s still left a wide up open space for the story to move into. I am genuinely excited to see what’s going to happen with Jude and Cardan in the next book and I really like the dynamic between the two of them. The most disappointing part is that I’m going to have to wait a whole year for the next installment!