4.5 Starts to The Wicked King
4.75 Stars to The Queen Of Nothing
TWK Will Contain Spoilers For Book 1. QoN Review will Contain Spoilers For Book 2
So I finally finished the wonderful Folk Of The Air trilogy! Overall I really quite loved the series, the entire story together is fun, dangerous and thrilling – not to mention the manipulative trickster fae which are my favourite thing! But I will admit the series gets better as it goes along, I did like The Cruel Prince but it was a little simple (perhaps, not simple but not like the last two books) compared to the rest of the series (though the last half was better).
The Wicked King
Synopsis: Jude has placed Cardan on the throne, but she is the true power behind it. As Jude navigates the court, and politics of Faerie she runs herself thin thinking of every loop-hole that could free Cardan from her. Not long is left on her Year and a Day bargain, and Jude must protect Oak and Faerie from a looming threat – Jude may not be able to be glamoured, but she can be broken. She is mortal after all.
TWK dives right into the action promised at the end of book 1. 5 months have passed with Jude controlling the throne, and she is running herself thin trying to command Cardan to every rule she can in order to protect herself. But, even Jude cannot predict the threats she faces in this book and even she falls victim to the fae’s manipulative ways.
TWK is a beautifully and cleverly written as book 1, but this time we have so much more fun with the power of words. Jude has become cynical and evaluative, she tears apart every word, sentence and phrase to ensure no tricky bargains are spun and I loved it. The clever and careful prose weaves an incredibly trcky story where manipulation lies in truth. Drawing on the myth of Fae being unable to lie, Black carefully spins her web through words unsaid and implied. It was so much fun to watch the Fae trick their way around the court and with Jude’s keen eye she prevents many a disaster.
The fae may be tricky but so is Jude. We get a crueller, power hungry Jude in this book, one who is just as tricky as the Fae. Though Jude can lie, the Fae know it so she must spin careful words herself to form bargains and alliances, and she is good at it. Jude is a master of manipulation in this book, more so than in book 1 we see her really grow into Faerie life, doing what she can and must to survive. I actually liked this aspect of Jude, who is more than what mortals should be, she can play the game and she plays it well.
I also did start to ship Jude and Cardan in this book as promised, and I absolutely loved their arguments and tricky games. The angst and tension really does come through, and I preferred it in this book where Cardan is not so much a bully as he was before. Cardan is much better in this book, though I always feel we don’t get enough of him. He plays the game too, he plays the fool but Cardan is clearly much smarter than he makes out (when he actually wants to be and is actually paying attention.) Though it is much clearer that Cardan is playing the game without the intention of being cruel to Jude. He still does trick her and battles against her, but it is different this time and much more fun now that Jude can play and fight back.
The actual plot is stronger too. From navigating politics and Fae bargains to the promise of war, this book is full of twists and turns to keep you on your toes, and the ending (though I admit to knowing it before reading because spoilers) hits hard. We get more insight into the world of Faerie, its courts and alliances and much much more.
Overall, a strong second installment, a good middle book. Though I was not as blown away as I expected, I did love the wordplay and tricky bargains throughout!
The Queen Of Nothing
Synopsis: Reeling from the latest and cruellest betrayal, Jude must secretly infiltrate Faerie. But tension is rising, a prophecy threatens destruction and Jude must work out where her mortal heart truly lies.
QoN dives into Jude’s life after her betrayal and jumps straight into Fae problems after that. Jude must take Taryn’s place in Faerie, for ~reasons~ (BUT FINALLY, kind of mad this happened off page but I forgive because I waited for it), without getting caught because the punishment of breaking her exile is death. But this appears to be the least of her problems as once she enters Faerie under the guise of her twin she is whirled straight into the middle of another plot for the throne.
Cardan is no longer a puppet, and I adored him in this book but again I don’t think we got enough of him, and Jude must maintain her cover if she wants to get out alive. But the plot for the throne tests her loyalties, and Jude may have to risk everything to protect the side she chooses. QoN does not disappoint with its prose, again maintaining the beauty and cleverness that pervades the rest of the series. We again get a multitude of tricky bargains and words that Jude must pick her way through because now she is protecting herself as well.
The Queen of Faerie must protect her throne, but she faces more challenges than she anticipates. From duels, to assassins, to curses Jude must navigate and overcome each threat, of which a more heartbreaking than the one before. During this we get more of Jude and Cardan, more vulnerable real, and actually talking about their true feelings. I loved their relationship in this book and watching it unfold, especially with Judes insecurities, was raw and brilliant. Watching them as High King and Queen was absolutely delightful, especially with Cardan rooting Jude on – I really did love it.
The plot of curses and the prophecy was brilliantly executed, and stressful to read, particularly towards the end where hope seems to be lost (though it does finish perhaps unsurprisingly). A very explosive and strong finish to this trickster trilogy, with punishments and justice dolled out in a very satisfying way.
Overall, being the last in the trilogy it is hard to review but it was a brilliant read that had a lot of surprising twists and turns and showed us the real feelings of Cardan and Jude as they chip through each others armour.