Fantasy, New Adult Romance, Paranormal

My Review: Shadowfever (Fever #5): by Karen Marie Moning

Publish Date: January 18th, 2011
Number of Pages: 608 Pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

***Warning!! This review contains spoilers from the previous books in the series, continue reading at your own risk. You’ve officially been warned!***

To see my review of book #1 – Darkfever — Click HERE

To see my review of book #2 – Bloodfever — Click HERE

To see my review of book #3 – Faefever — Click HERE

To see my review of book #4 – Dreamfever — Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the series – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

Finally…

At long last…

The time has come to get answers to the ever-growing list of questions that have come up since starting this blasted series, but I can say without a doubt that SO. MUCH. HAPPENS. IN. THIS. BOOK!

A few words to describe it: wicked, vicious, sexy, intoxicating, twisted, unpredictable, startling, unrelenting, infuriating, addicting, enchanting, and utterly mind-blowing! The most satisfying component about this book by far is how we finally get some answers that Karen Marie Moning had been deviously hiding from us since the very beginning. From the very first chapter, your heart and your soul is put to the ultimate test as you’re put right back into the thick of it with how the previous book ended, and from there on it just feels like a never ending emotional roller coaster!

Looking back on this series and where it’s taken me, I had no idea that it would truly suck me in like it has since the start of the new decade. I know I’ve probably said this before in my past reviews, but I seriously just remember scoffing at the description of Darkfever a little bit when my work friend, Erika, first told me about these books and how they’d completely sucked her in. Plus, with some of the cover designs, I figured it would just be another really stupid and trashy paranormal romance series… While I can say there have been over sexualized, strange moments in this series to prove my point, I can’t stress enough that they had quickly become so much more than that as I’d read on!

I was especially surprised at how deep the plot had ended up becoming as I’d devoured each book after the last; the Fae lore and all the big players that have only been mentioned in all the stories that we’ve been told, the Sinsar Dubh–that freaky as fuck possessed book that everyone is hunting and has been following Mac like some creepy stalker…not to mention all the incredible side characters we’ve gotten to know too! There’s Christian Mackeltar, Ryodan, V’Lane, Dani O’Malley, Inspector Jayne, the other Sidhe-Seers, Dreamy-Eyed Guy, the monsters, the Unseelie Princes, and even Darroc–aka The Lord Master–has become someone truly intriguing in this series. Also, I just love the unpredictability of it all…not the character tropes because I will admit a few of them are pretty cliché, but just how I truly didn’t know what was going to happen next and what direction everything was going to take…I had my guesses throughout, but almost every time was way off.

Before I can go further, all I can say to those who’ve made it this far; all the cliffhangers and frustration hasn’t driven you away, and I can say without a doubt this book will not disappoint. It finally answers a lot of questions while still leaving us with some loose ends in order to keep the series going further, BUT it’s not nearly as bd as it has been! It’s truly a satisfying ending.

What It’s About:

We left off with Mac losing her frickin’ mind over whoever the beast had turned out to be. She and Ryodan teamed up to kill the big, bad beastie while Ryodan had been tossed over a cliff to disappear, and were left wondering if he’s dead. Mac absolutely loses it and ends up on the ground in the fetal position over the body of….

…major spoiler ahead…

…Jericho Barrons. That’s right, he’s the beast that showed up shortly after she’d dialed the “IYD” number on her phone Jericho had given her way back. She’s sobbing, she can’t go on, she doesn’t know how to keep going, she realizes her true feelings for the mysterious and brooding alpha-hole we’d all come to appreciate. She’s devastated until there’s a shift within her, and suddenly she’s not anymore. She becomes like a shell of herself, and becomes cold. calculating. sinister. vengeful. She vows the last thing she’ll do is to finally capture that damned book and use it to create a new world. A better world with her dead sister, Alina, and Jericho both brought back to her. To do that, she has to gain help from the most unlikely source of them all…The Lord Master himself, Darroc!

Mac truly seems to have gone over to the dark side with her new alliance, and the Lord Master provides her with more information about the book itself, and believes he knows a way to be able to merge with it without letting it possess him and corrupt his soul. All the while, Mac waits like an Angel Shark beneath the sand and patiently waits for the perfect moment to strike.

The war between humans and the Fae continues to escalate, and become even more dangerous as new alliances are formed, shocking and bitter betrayals steal our breath away, and finally figuring out how exactly to stop the Sinsar Dubh, what exactly Barrons and his other men are, also figuring out who exactly Mac is. It’s been played with for a little bit now, but there’s definitely something off about the visions and memories she has that aren’t her own, other clues and newfound powers…what’s going on there? Also, the grand finale of it all will reveal a enemy that has been like a wolf hidden amongst the sheep: someone who’s started all of this, and someone who had the most to gain through everything that has happened…

What I Liked:

  1. That Finale! What a surprise! There were two major reveals in the climax of the book: one that involved multiple people and the other that was shocking, but part of me just wants to say…I FUCKING CALLED IT! Ever since I’d met this character, I’ve had an off feeling about them, and I’m happy to say my gut reaction was right about them all along!
  2. Dani O’Malley! Let me start off by saying that I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Dani, especially as she becomes a more central character and you hear from her perspective in a few chapters…Not a fan. I think she needs to go through some more growth before she takes center stage, HOWEVER…something happens in this book that makes her character a whole lot more interesting, and raises many eyebrows too. Suddenly, I want to hear more about what’s going through her head, and how certain things came to be.
  3. How Nicely Everything Ties (Mostly) Together! I’ve loved how tightly woven the plot and all it’s mysteries have been planned out throughout this series since the very first book. So many little factors that have stacked on top of each other and have added to the anxiety produced at how slowly things are revealed. I have to say overall how everything tied together in the end really well with this book; it was obvious that Karen Marie Moning knew about how this outcome would come to be since the very beginning and gave us clues and tidbits of info at an achingly slow pace that built until this moment. As far as I’m aware, every question that’s popped up has been accounted for, and there aren’t any holes left untouched!
  4. Mac and Jericho’s Relationship! In this book, it’s shown how their relationship has changed and honestly has become more satisfying than any of the other books in this regard. What I can truly appreciate about KMM’s work on Barrons is that he stays true to his character. He’s not some soft, vulnerable being who shows a sensitive side of himself whenever it’s just him and Mac, and he never becomes that guy either. He stays hard, cheeky, cold, snippy, but we love him for it anyways. The two of them still have those many, many arguments, but they also have those important conversations with them just looking at each other. The sexual tension continues to build and build between them, and while he doesn’t lose his edge to do it, Barrons finally reveals what his true feelings are and I am HERE for it!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Highlanders Cross-Over…For many fans of Karen Marie Moning, I’m sure you’re aware of her other series out there: The Highlander series. I personally have not read it, and honestly don’t plan on reading it either, but can tell you that the main characters of that series come over to Dublin. You’d met some of them in the previous book too, but as they’re the group of Druids that assisted the Seelie Fae Court since ancient times, they are needed in order to assist in the capture and containment of the Sinsar Dubh. For me, it was a jumble of other characters that were a struggle to be able to tell the difference between. I know some fans were probably jumping with glee about this crossover–I probs would be too–but with me not touching the other series, this addition was honestly kind of lost on me.
  2. What Barrons Turns Out To Be…I’m not gonna lie…this reveal was disappointing to me. I just thought with so much emphasis around the mystery of what exactly Jericho Barrons was would’ve lead to a much bigger reveal in the end. I was someone who’d suspected he was the Unseelie King, and he was after the Sinsar Dubh because as the king, he’d created it, but realized he’d made it too powerful, and wanted to destroy it once and for all. I think what he turns out to be is cool enough, and would be interested in learning more background info/history of what he is later on in the series, so we’ll see I guess…

Conclusion:

An epic finale of what I guess is only the first phase of this intricate and twisted urban fantasy series that has become a serious addiction since the start of 2020. All our frustrations as readers has finally been rewarded, and KMM gives us so many answers to our questions that have been with us since the very first book, Darkfever. While she ties pretty much all of her loose ends together, she’s also able to reveal some shocking new information too that tells us things are very much far from over…

Part of me really wishes I could go back and reread all these first five books, and catch all the little details and easter eggs I’d missed and become even more impressed at the masterful storytelling this series has given me, but know I have so many other books I haven’t touched on my “to read” shelf that I seriously need to give a try already. It’s okay, because I love this series so much already that I have hardcover copies already giving my bookshelf a massive glow-up with their presence, so it’ll happen at some point, that much is guaranteed.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fancasts/Dreamcasts

My Fancast/Dreamcast: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Credit to owner

An Enchantment of Ravens is a brief, but wonderfully told story that’s a debut YA Fantasy novel written by Margaret Rogerson. The story is about a girl named Isobel, a young human who’s an amazing painter. She’s so talented, she’s gathered the attention of the Fair Folk—i.e. The Fae—to have her commission portraits of them in exchange for magical deals.

One day, the Fae prince of the Autumn court arrives on her doorstep, Prince Rook, and is next in line for another masterpiece. When it doesn’t turn out as he’d hoped, Rook takes Isobel into his magical realm to go before the court to speak on her crime, but become thrust into the enchanting and dangerous land of the Fair Folk and meet many…interesting characters. Isobel and Rook start off as enemies, but a spark ignites between them, and both try to hide their growing feelings for one another, because a human and Fair Folk falling in love together is a forbidden betrayal, and the punishment from Rook’s people is absolutely vicious…

You can read my full book review of An Enchantment of Ravens by clicking the link HERE!

~~~

Here’s my official Fancast/Dreamcast:

~~~

Isobel: Scarlett Leithold

Image courtesy of fashionmodeldirectory.com

Scarlett is a model, and she has the perfect mix of innocent-but-has-a-mischievous-glint in her eyes kind of look, if that makes any sense? Isobel appears like a damsel in distress, but for those like me who’s read this book, she’s more clever and cunning than she lets on.

Prince Rook: Thom Morell

Image courtesy of setbyus.com

He’s a model, but with those piercing eyes and swoon-worthy hair, Thom Morell would make a captivating Autumn Prince. Totally Book Boyfriend worthy!

Hemlock: Tilda Swinton

Image courtesy of bifa.film

She may very well be a Fair Folk, because there’s a chance that Tilda Swinton is not actually human. She looks like a Fae queen, but how about a badass, warrior chick on the hunt like Hemlock? Plus, the author totally fancasted her for this role herself!

Gadfly: Matthew Bomer

Image courtesy of sharovarka.com

I mean…slap on a Rhaegar Targaryen wig on Matthew, and he’d be a fantastic Gadfly, who was an incredibly sneaky and sly Fair Folk within the story. You could never tell what side he was truly on!

Lark: Isabelle Fuhrman

Image courtesy of celebmafia.com

Isabelle may seem familiar from another, mega-popular YA series because of its movie adaptation…she was the knife wielding Clove from the first Hunger Games movie! Based off that, she’d for sure be able to play the childish, but lethal young Fair Folk named Lark. She’s cute as a button, but deadly like a cat playing with a mouse.

Foxglove: Mila Kunis

Image courtesy of fanaru.com

Foxglove had been described as having an extremely unique and ethereal look with striking hazel eyes, so my mind instantly went to Mila Kunis! She’s one of my favorites starlets in Hollywood, and I know she’d absolutely nail this part!

Aster: Nina Dobrev

Image courtesy of celebuzz.com

Aster is described as having an incredibly fragile bone structure; she’s very petite with pale skin and dark hair and eyes, and Nina Dobrev is a favorite of mine, she’d be a great pick!

~~~

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fantasy, New Adult, New Adult Romance, Paranormal

My Review: Bloodfever (Fever series #2): by Karen Marie Moning

Publish Date: August 26th, 2008
Number of Pages: 349 Pages
Publisher: Gollancz
Genre(s): Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, New Adult

***Warning!! This review may contain spoilers from the previous title! Continue with caution, you’ve officially been warned!***

To see my review of book #1 – Darkfever – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the series – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 3.75 Stars

You know when you want to give someone a big highfive?

Right in the face?

With a brick?

And repeat it over and over and over?

This was me to Karen Marie Moning after I’d finished this book…Like seriously, I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her yelling: “What the fuck?!?!”

Once again, I was shocked at how utterly absorbed into this series I’d become, but there I was reading this book into the next morning instead of getting a healthy amount of sleep. The Fever series just continues to add more and more mystery and intrigue to make readers literally addicted in wanting to find out what happens next. So many questions, but so few answered right away, but then more and more questions keep popping up and my anxiety can’t take it some of the time. I need to take breaks between these books for my own mental health…you laugh, but I’m actually serious.

This series gets deeper and deeper into the streets of Dublin, Ireland and deeper into whatever plot is going on in order for the Unseelie–the evil fae beings–are concocting in order to take over our world. We’re getting to see a different side of Mac, and her uneasy alliance with mysterious and temperamental bookstore owner, Jericho Barrons, reaches its boiling point at multiple times throughout, but the hunt is still on for that dang ancient and evil book, the Sinsar Dubh, that is the key to either our salvation or extermination…it all depends on who gets their hands on it first!

What It’s About:

So Mac had gone into the Dark Zone, discovered the Lord Master’s hideaway, battled it out with him and Mallucé with Jericho by her side, and the closing scene is her doubling over because that dang book, the Sinsar Dubh, had gotten close enough to have her blackout…

We continue into this next installment where Mac is alive and (not) well, but has a safe place to call her temporary home in Jericho’s bookstore, Barron’s Books and Baubles. That is, until a hoard of those nasty & shapeless Fae monsters called “Shades” somehow break in! Mac almost meets her gruesome end, when low and behold…V’lane, the Seelie Fae Prince, makes a surprise appearance and rescues her. Their….interesting relationships shifts into some new territory–one where maybe he doesn’t try to rape her in the middle of an art museum, but instead maybe they become tense allies, because it’s not like Mac doesn’t have enough of that with her current employer/landlord/co-hunter for Fae artifacts/lust muffin…

The hunt for the powerful and evil book, the Sinsar Dubh, continues with more adventures and tension between Mac and Jericho rise, both regular and sexual, and more players join the game of cat & mouse: we’ve got Dani O’Malley, a young sidh-seer like Mac, who discovers there’s a secret coven of seers who have similar abilities when it comes to dealing with the Fae. We’ve got Rowena, that crazy older lady we’d seen twice in the last book who turns out to be more important than some regular old batshit hag. We’ve also got the Dreamy Eyed Guy who’s shown up enough times to be considered an actual character without knowing his actual name, and we also have Christian Mackeltar, who works at the Ancient Languages Department of Trinity College, and is yet another alpha male that enters Mac’s life that is total eye-candy–with a sexy Scottish accent to boot!

The rest of the plot would reveal some major spoilers, so you’ll have to actually read the book to see what else happens!

What I Liked:

  1. Mac is Turning Into a Total Badass! The pink loving, Elle Woods-esque barbie doll is still inside her, but that era has been hidden behind a dark makeover, along with more of an edge to her usually bubbly demeanor. Tainted with the need for revenge on her sister, Mac continues to grow and become sharper along the edges as she gets closer to Jericho, and delves deeper into the many mysteries surrounding her, even some new ones that come to light within this title. However, she is still a young woman out in the world for the first time ever, and starts to realize she might be better off not trusting anyone, not even those she’s supposedly allied with. That part is probably the most anxiety inducing: when Mac is thinking inside her head and speculating about everyone and what their motives possibly are, how can she survive amongst all the dangerous players in this deadly game?
  2. There’s More Romance This Time! For a paranormal romance genre series, Darkfever didn’t include much romance, which was disappointing, but also made sense in the sense of setting the scene, plus Mac ain’t no chick that will just let some guy just get it. In this next title, there’s an ember that can quickly escalate into an entire raging storm of fire with the tension building between Mac and Jericho. They don’t trust each other, they keep secrets from each other, and nearly come to blows…but beneath all that lies something sensual and filled with complete unadulterated lust.
  3. V’lane (Again)! The Seelie–good guy Fae–Prince continues to make incredibly brief appearances, but they are filled with meaning and importance. V’lane helps Mac out of a dangerous situation early on, and afterwards their relationships shifts a little bit. She still can’t trust him, but he shows her that he is looking out for her well being…so long as it probably serves his own goals and motivations–which we are still not entirely sure about quite yet….more frustrating questions commence!
  4. The Worldbuilding Continues! Not a whole lot is actually added, but I’d say the foundation we were given in the previous book was just enhanced even further. The author continues by adding layers over everything to make it still feel so new and exciting, and creatures we’ve only heard about in passing may or may not make their first appearance!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Left with Even More Questions than Answers…We dive way deeper into the series and a whole lot happens, so much that more and more questions keep popping up, and very few actually get answered…It’s so frustrating!? Was Mallucé really a vampire? Who exactly is the Lord Master? What are everyone’s true intentions? What exactly is Jericho?…there’s plenty more where all of those come from, but that would reveal spoilers, so you get my point…

Conclusion:

This series is quickly becoming an addiction to me, curse my co-worker friend, Erika, who turned my attention onto this series! It’s weird, it’s different, and sounds kind of trashy when I try to explain the series to my other friends, but it’s becoming another one I’m incredibly invested in, both emotionally and financially, as in: I will have no hesitation in throwing some dollar bills someone’s way to keep finding these books and sinking my teeth into them!

The story continues at a slightly slower pace with what feels like some filler in there, most of it is Mac trying to organize her thoughts on everything and figure out what everyone else’s game-plan is exactly. It’s actually making me just as anxious and paranoid, and had started giving me some strange dreams…

These books are going to kill me…especially as I looked and there’s going to be, like 11 books total in this whole series.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fantasy, New Adult, New Adult Romance, Paranormal, Romance

My Review: Darkfever (Fever Series #1): by Karen Marie Moning

Publish Date: August 26th, 2008
Number of Pages: 347 Pages
Publisher: Dell
Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

Total Star Rating: 4 Stars

So just what I needed…another series to dig my hands into.

Especially, another book about the Fae – not that I’m necessarily complaining – I’ve absolutely adored other series like Throne of Glass, and The Folk of the Air to be specific that have had the Fae as a central part of their story plot. It’s really fun to see how authors showcase different variations of the fair folk, all the while, still using the same rule set as a base to go off.

Darkfever is the first book in what looks like a long series involving the Fae: an urban fantasy, paranormal romance that I can tell – even just by the first book – can be something that is absolutely addicting to read. It seriously has it all: murder mystery, a well developed world rich in myth and lore, comedic one-liners and commentary, multiple swoon-worthy leading men, and what is most likely going to turn into a slow-burn romance between one of them.

Recommended to me from a friend and coworker, I started the book with honestly no expectations, and then found myself enjoying it, and really getting into the world the author had created. I saw something special in the main character, Mackayla Lane: I loved her hilarious commentary throughout the story, especially as she’d called out a certain character who may or may not be a vampire – she wasn’t afraid to point out the clichés like the creepy castle on the hilltop, the lightning timed perfectly to their arrival, his secret lair in a cave, his whole creepy demeanor: the works.

What It’s About:

When MacKayla’s sister was murdered, she left a single clue to her death: a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone. Journeying to Dublin, Ireland in search of answers, Mac is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to master a power she had no idea she possessed: a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae.

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious bookstore owner, Jericho Barrons. They decide to work together in order to find a rare artifact that her sister had been searching for, but their alliance doesn’t ease both their reluctance to put their trust in each other, especially with the plethora of secrets they both carry.

Despite discovering the reveal of monsters literally littering the streets, theres also V’lane – an alpha Fae Prince – who’s hot on her trail, no pun intended, because he’s some High Fae who drags out human sexual attraction to incredibly dangerous levels.

As the boundary between our world and the fae’s begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: to find the elusive Sinsar Dubh – the rare artifact both her and Jericho are searching for – before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book of magic. Whoever gets to it first would hold nothing less than complete control of both worlds, human and fae.

What I Liked:

  1. Mackayla’s Character Growth! Mackayla, or Mac, starts off as a literal human barbie doll living in Atlanta, Georgia: she has long blonde hair, a bubbly personality, loves the color pink, and has tons of gorgeous friends to go on shopping excursions with. She seems pretty shallow and vapid to start off with, but actually develops even in just the first chapter when she learns that her sister has been murdered. Her parents are absolutely torn apart about the devastating news, but Mackayla reacts unexpectedly; she burns with the need for revenge.
  2. The Murder Mystery! Her sister’s murder is the lead driving point of the plot, it drives Mac to drop everything and catch the first flight to Dublin, Ireland where her sister had been studying abroad. I always love a good whodunnit murder mystery, and while I wished it’d stayed more central to the plot, even after Mac discovers the whole world of the fae, it still drives her whole story arc and the book in general.
  3. The Worldbuilding! I hadn’t expected this to have become such a big draw of the book! Anyone who is a fan of the fae has probably read plenty of other books, but what I liked was the lore behind this series in particular. Basically, theres the Seelie and the Unseelie: the good and the bad. Each court has a ruler: The Seelie Queen and the Unseelie King, along with their followers of either Fae warriors or vile monsters. There’s also sidhe-seers, mortal beings that can see through the glamours of the fae. Mac, of course, turns out to be a sidhe-seer, along with having the other abilities to sense sacred fae artifacts and being able to stop fae power with the touch of her fingers for an extended period of time.
  4. V’lane! He was probably the character that had drawn my attention the most, which is ironic considering he was the one who’d appeared the least… He’s a powerful Fae prince to the Seelie Queen, and has the ability to draw out sexual attraction in humans that come into contact with him, like some pheromone on steroids. I’m not even joking: Mac gets so hot and bothered in his presence that she actually strips in public several times and has to try to stop touching herself – seriously…it was some really fucking weird shit that actually made me crack up. Anyways, because we see so little of him and his gorgeous face, I’m extremely curious to see how he plays out as the series develops. Is he a potential love interest to Mac? Where do his loyalties really lie? Will he become a villain? What’s his purpose to the story?? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The (Lack of) Romance…It’s called a paranormal romance series, but besides a few quickly thrown in actions towards the end, there was actually very little romance involved with this first title between Mac and Jericho. I’m all for slow burn romance, and obviously their relationship is incredibly unconventional with plenty of tension, secrets, and lack of trust does not make for sexy times…I was still hoping to be given a little more than daydreams, a quick peck that may or may not have happened, and Mac being turned into a freaky exhibitionist in the middle of a museum because of V’lane.
  2. The Stereotypical Characters…Some readers would be turned off to keep going with this series because I can admit it: the characters do seem pretty cliché. Mac is the stereotypical bubbly, shallow blonde who is naive and maybe not the brightest crayon in the box – a complete Elle Woods knockoff who at least turns into a Buffy the Vampire Slayer warrior babe who wants to kick ass and take names. Jericho Barrons is also given a similar treatment: he’s the tall, dark, brooding and handsome type who has a fiery temper and little time for gorgeous little blonde’s who stumble into his bookstore with dangerous questions. He’s the type of alpha anti-hero we’ve probably all seen before. I do suggest taking all this with a grain of salt, as this series has been out for quite some time now. This book was first published in 2006, and I’m reviewing this in 2020…obviously books don’t always hold up well, even just five or six years after their published. I mean, look at all the “classics”: They’re boring and probably wouldn’t even get published in today’s world of literature.

Conclusion:

A series that I didn’t need to add on top of all the other series I’m reading, but enjoy nonetheless! It’s going around the office amongst my coworkers as the next juicy series to sink our fangs into, so consider me added to the bandwagon! I’m VERY curious to see how this series plays out!

I recommend this title to anyone who enjoy’s reading about the fae, or enjoy’s Urban Fantasy genre titles like TV Shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Trueblood, The Vampire Diaries, or pretty much any book written by Cassandra Clare. To me, they all match the tone of the Fever series in both plot and characters.

I’ve started the second title almost immediately after completing this first book, so I can say it’s a good sign that I’m that eager to see what happens next!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

YA Fantasy, YA romance

My Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3): by Holly Black

Publish Date: November 19th 2019
Number of Pages: 305 Pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre(s): YA Fantasy, YA Romance

***Warning!!! This book review contains spoilers from the previous titles in this trilogy, continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***

To see my book review of book #1 – The Cruel Prince – Click HERE!

To see my book review of book #2 – The Wicked King – Click HERE!

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the series – Click HERE!

Total Star Rating: 2.75 Stars

I just gotta say…WHAT a book series!

Like seriously, some of the most fun and utterly enchanting books/series I’ve had the pleasure of reading! I loved almost everything about them. Were they the most original? Were they the most innovative or unique? Were they….No okay… the answer would’ve been a big “NO” but the point is that none of that matters! What matters is they were absolutely addicting and entertaining! When I opened the pages, my mind was warped into the storyline and anything else was blotted out because I HAD to find out what happened next.

Upon finishing this title, I’m feeling that existential crisis-like book hangover when you’ve completed something major and now you feel dread and hopelessness along with the question “What now?” It’s that bittersweet feeling of torturous bliss; I’m just so sad the journey is already over! I’d hoped for this series would go on for much longer! I definitely feel like there are plenty of untold stories within this wondrous world that Holly Black has created. Maybe one day another book or series will come out, but we can only hope!

(Holly…girl, if you ever actually read this, PLEASE CONSIDER!)

It felt like it’d been forever since The Wicked King had come out, but it only came out back in January of this year! It’s so weird to think that, but what a huge treat to have two amazing books come out in the same year, even though 2019 has been a long one and it feels like it’s been 84 years since January. I still remember the dread after finishing that title and the expectation of having to wait ANOTHER year to get answers (especially after that demon of a cliffhanger at the end), but Holly knew our inner struggles and later this year had announced on her twitter that “The Queen of Nothing” would actually arrive 2 months early, and my wig was snatched and I flopped back dead in my chair from my heart exploding out of my chest.

The series is over, much to our non-fae dismay, but I am certain they will remain in our hearts forever and that Holly Black will in fact continue to bless our eyes, minds, and hearts with more wicked tales of the Fae.

What It’s About:

***ONCE AGAIN, SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE WHO HASN’T READ THE PREVIOUS BOOKS! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED TWICE NOW***

So we left off almost immediately when Jude had been exiled from Elfhame by King Cardan, who also happens to be her husband because they’d secretly eloped! It was a pretty big betrayal that Jude took really hard, and is fuming back in the human world over it with her baby brother, Oak, and her older sister, Vivienne.

She passes the time acting like nothing is actually wrong; it’s almost like she’s accepted her fate. She does a few odd jobs here and there with other Fae folk also stuck in the mortal world in order to get rent money (including battling it out with a cannibalistic Redcap), but is surprised when her twin sister, Taryn, shows up on the front steps unannounced, and soon Jude is thrust back into Elfhame on a mere favor.

Besides facing Cardan again, Jude learns about a prophecy and curse upon the land, and as the true queen of the Fae, she must do whatever it takes to save those in danger and put everything back in balance before it’s too late!

It’s honestly pretty hard to more in depth with what all goes down, but that means I’d be going into some major spoilers, so I just have to say that you really need to read it in order to find out what else happens!

We have lived in our armor for so long, you and I. And now I am not sure if either of us knows how to remove it…”

– Holly Black, “The Queen of Nothing”

What I Liked:

  1. So Many Unexpected Twists! One thing Holly Black absolutely excelled at with this trilogy was her ability to really keep me guessing, like, I honestly was not expecting certain things to happen, oh but they did! It was absolutely delightfully wicked, and it made these books so much fun!
  2. Jude and Cardan’s Relationship! So slight spoiler alert but not really…these two have their confrontation and FINALLY lay it out on the line! They admit how they really feel and how much they mean to each other, and finally understand that they need to trust each other in order to keep going in the plot. I’m not gonna lie, but Cardan had my salty and bitter heart melting throughout the book, because he’s not a cruel prince or a wicked king…it turned out he was more an awkward loser who got drunk whenever he didn’t know how to explain his feelings! Yay I think…There’s the family issues too, but that’s a whole other can of worms…
  3. The Morally Grey Characters! Over the years, it’s become apparent that the best stories don’t just have heroes and villains and it’s not all just in black and white. The great procrastinator, George R.R. Martin, once said that in order to make a story with many characters more compelling, you have to make them think they’re the hero of their story. They could do something absolutely heinous, but in that character’s head, they did it for their own happy ending. One character who really comes to mind in this idea was Madoc. The guy wasn’t necessarily a villain, more just an antagonist, but he was also a stone cold killer throughout! Despite that, it was always clear that he had a certain moral compass, a sense of honor in his beliefs and actions, and part of me respected him for it. He wasn’t all bad, and it made him much more complex and intriguing of a character. His relationship with Jude was absolutely spectacular and one of the highlights of the story; it’s unlike a father/daughter relationship you will ever read in literature!
  4. Chapter 22! Without giving too much away, I just want to commend Holly Black on the brilliance of all that goes down in this specific chapter! Emotions are literally thrown across the room, and *out of context spoiler alert* it goes from comparable scenes in Mean Girls to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in less than two pages! It. Was. Awesome.
  5. There’s Multiple Redemption Arcs! While everyone in these books were horrible people to some degree, the author allowed some to have a couple arcs of being able to make themselves suck a little less! I know, hard to believe, right? Let me break it down: **MORE SPOILERS** Taryn freakin’ killed a guy! Not just anyone, but her husband and total douche-nugget, Locke! Actually, Jude’s relationship with all her siblings pretty much gets better as the story develops because we all know there’s no stronger bond than blood! Nicasia, the princess of the sea, also got some spotlight onto her and we see a different side of her when Jude makes her return, and it made her more than just the token mean girl who used to hook up in Jude’s Love Interest (thank god)…Jude and Cardan both got a lot better once they both realized they needed to toss aside the chessboard with each other and just admit they’re feelings, and who know, but Cardan is a total sweetheart!
  6. The Curse/Prophecy/Exile! So while these aspects are nothing new and nothing we haven’t seen or read before, the author’s play on words and how they play out is what becomes a real highlight! Like the Fae, it’s not always what they say but more about how it’s said and interpreted. The curse does come to be and it’s a twist for sure, but I enjoyed how things played out and still stuck within what the prophecy and curse originally said. Also, the outlines of the exile and when Cardan revealed his loophole to Jude had me feeling like a jackass…like, it was seriously that easy?…

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Needs More Heartbreak…Call me a sadist, a masochist or whatever, but I wanted more death and more tears…A story can be so much more impactful if there’s more danger and unpredictability to make it more exciting. A couple big names in these books do get killed, and while I won’t spoil who they are exactly, I personally thought more could’ve met a gruesome end…but like I said, I’m not a sadist.
  2. Over Before You Know It…I think I said this in my previous review of The Wicked King, but these books are short! Part of me enjoyed it, because 2019 was filled with thick volumes so it was a nice change of pace, but I wanted more for these books! It felt like the author had left so many things up in the air and didn’t conclude a lot of her subplots. What happens with Taryn and Ghost? Why didn’t Orlagh make a single appearance? What happened to Lady Asha? What about Oak or the unborn child? Way too many questions for what is supposed to be the finale of the series…
  3. Very Little Confrontation…This pertains more to Cardan and Jude’s eventual reunion in the story. I don’t know, I was kind of hoping for Jude to be on his ass more about it; she let him off way too easy! I kinda wanted a drawn out, sexually-tense fight like something straight out of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, with sexy times in the conclusion (tail included).

Conclusion:

It’s hard to say goodbye to a series that has captured my attention much like The Folk of the Air by Holly Black did. It was truly over before I knew it, and I can definitely say I (mostly) enjoyed the ride while it lasted. Like I mentioned before, but it wasn’t like these books were the most innovatively unique books, but they were for sure one of the most intricately plotted, truly entertaining books I’ve read recently. The characters stick with you way after you finish reading, and the unpredictability of it always left me guessing until I too experienced every emotion that swirled through Jude’s mind as the narrator.

Anyone who likes magical beings, or the Fae to be more specific, will absolutely adore these books because of how much fun they are, but also because of how much Holly Black seems to know about the Fae in general. A few of their quirks and behavioral traits are familiar with other tales I’ve read, but her work takes it 500 miles further. I have a feeling these books will go down as one of the most popular YA Fantasy series of all time, just read them if you haven’t and I think you’ll agree with me!

Thanks For Reading!

— Nick Goodsell