Monday, March 16, 2020

Review: THE QUEEN OF NOTHING by Holly Black

Rating: 3/5 stars

This book (and really this whole series but it is most apparent in this book) felt like a surface-level story. It kind of felt like Holly Black wrote a really thorough outline and that’s what got published, but she never went back and filled it out and made it deeper. Everything about this story could have been more. More world-building, more time spent getting to know each character in-depth, more scheming present on the page (I hate seeing paragraphs that say, “she did a bunch of planning and was able to accomplish the thing” instead of us getting to see what actually happened).

I liked the story but everything was rushed. There was no time spent getting to know the characters, no time spent building the setting (I still can’t imagine what Elfhame looks like), no time spent in each scene before we rushed off to the next plot point, etc.

Basically, I just want more of everything. Each of these books needs another hundred pages to adequately describe everything that deserves to be included. Every conversation was so short that I feel like they reached the point too quickly and the outcome happened too fast. Every scene felt rushed, which caused there to be no tension in this book because conflicts were getting solved as soon as they started.

I like Cardan and Jude together, but also I really wanted to see more of their thoughts and actions regarding each other. I never felt like they really hated each other, nor did I ever feel like they really liked each other. Once again, this story didn’t go deep enough for me to feel a connection to any of the characters, and I’m so sad about that.

Overall I’m glad I read this series—it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it—but I’m also disappointed that it wasn’t better. With how long Holly Black has been writing fae stories, I expected this, her most recent series, to be top-quality writing and that she would have really homed her skill as an author, but somehow she missed the mark here on developing anything about the world of Elfhame. I thought the overarching plot was clever and enjoyable, but I wanted to see more behind-the-scenes actions and political machinations, more time spent developing characters, more details and descriptions to create a richer world, and more pages overall devoted to telling this story. The Folk of the Air was a fun series, but it made me want to immediately jump into a dark adult fantasy, where I know I’m going to get all the descriptions and world-building that I wish for.

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