I wrote a spoiler-free review (click here), but I have so many thoughts that are linked to certain scenes of the book, whether they are bad or good, and since I don’t want to ruin anyone’s experience: here’s a separate review. Please, if you’re planning on reading this book or are in the middle of doing so, please don’t read the following text!
Synopsis: Jude has been exiled by the wicked king Cardan, forced to live in the mortal world with no one knowing she’s the legitimate High Queen of Faerie. But when her twin sister Taryn appears on her door step and desperately needs her help, she is forced to return to the world of Faerie in order to safe her sister’s life.
Facing Cardan again, Jude is not only confronted by her feelings, but also by her father, who’s planning on overthrowing the king to become the new ruler. Jude is forced to choose between her ambition and humanity as Faerie is on the brink of war. She’s forced to engage in the country’s political intrigues and and her action will shape the country’s future more than ever…
I will devide this review in negative and positive aspects, but will start off with the negatives ones!
#1 Cardan’s unknown intentions actually being super sweet
This is one of the main reasons why I hyped this series so much. Cardan was the only literary characters who’s intentions I wasn’t able to figure out and who’s actions weren’t just a little see-through at some point. I spent hours trying to figure out what sort of a character he is and I loved that Holly Black was able to create such a complex character. But then it turns out that the exile was only meant to be a kind of joke/provocation and that he truly loves Jude. Don’t get me wrong here, I totally ship them, they’re awesome – but it just went a little too fast from wicked and cruel to super sweet and emotional.
#2 Not many political intrigues
Another very important aspect why this series was super special were the political intrigues that played a huge role in book 1&2. Here, however, there was no intrigue to be found. No people turned to be very bad and manipulative and Jude didn’t realize any actions/ advice that turned out to be false afterwards. That was just a little disappointing…
#3 Unclear endings
Okay: Oak is returning to the mortal world with exiled Madoc and Oriana accompanying her husband. During the whole second book, Jude is trying to prevent Madoc from influencing Oak and that’s the whole reason Vivi and Oak escaped to the mortal world in the first place. Now she exiles her father but is super okay with the fact that the future king will continue being raised by that “tyrant”?
Plus, what about the whole mortal – immortal conflict? At some point it’s mentioned that while staying in Faerie, mortals will remain young – but what if she wants to visit Heather, Vivi and Oak. And what about that marriage?
#4 Taryn killing Locke – motive?
Don’t get me wrong here, I never liked Locke (obviously no reason for killing someone and totally unjustified), but where is that sudden anger coming from? They were super happy and Taryn spend most of the books standing up for Locke and arguing with her sister about this and then after the wedding, he’s suddenly gone all the time and when he comes back, she sooo angry she cuts his throat? I would be angry as well, any emotional human being would be, but killing the father of your unborn child?
#5 Jude exiling Madoc – I wanted a happy ending for him
I am that person that always kind of liked Madoc and wanted a happy father-daughter relationship. I totally understand that some (most) of his actions are utterly stupid and manipulative, but he loves his daughters and at the ending apologizes and holds nothing against Jude. Exiling him into the mortal world seems like a bad judgment on her part…
#6 Taryn’s pregnancy doesn’t play a role
Taryn’s carrying Locke’s unborn child and that’s one of the reasons she has to escape. However, aside from occasional mentioning, it doesn’t play a further role. Then why even add it?
#7 Jude being able to safe Cardan by cutting the serpent’s head off
Hear me out here, it may seem like that was something super risky for her to do, but she spent so many hours trying to figure out what to do to safe the crown, Cardan and not let Madoc win and then she cuts the head off and for some reason, unexplained, Cardan walks out of the serpent’s body?
#8 Cardan sending Jude messages that his mother is able to hide from her
I really liked the aspect that Cardan’s mother is evil and hiding something and her part of the plot was great in the second book, but here all she does here is holding back letters Cardan tries to send Jude to apologize. Isn’t that just random? I wish she’s have got a bigger and more important role, because she’s not very present at the ending…
#9 Jude going into the cave despite this being super important
Remember the scene when Jude is about to escape from the Court of Teeth to safe Taryn, but then hears someone (she can’t identify who) screaming in that cave and stops escaping to take a look? I guess that shows her moral high ground and makes her a great person, but she puts off saving her sister. I don’t know if this makes me the most evil person in the universe, but would you risk sacrificing your sister?
It may seem like I hated this book because of the many negative aspects, but those really are only minor issues. Overall, this book was satisfying and I was hooked from the start.
Now to the positive aspects!
#1 Every page was a page turner
This might have to do something that I waited what seemed like forever after The Wicked King to finally experience the ending, but I couldn’t stop reading. I finished this book in under 24 hours and I hardly ever do that – so that must mean something!
#2Cardan’s sentence that her exile can be undone by the crown
Another great word play: I would never have guessed this and that’s why it caught me off guard.
#3 The crown being a curse and turning Cardan into a serpent
I was kind of disappointed when it seemed like they had won, but then Cardan breaks the crown and it’s cursed (okay, Jude could have known as she knew everything made by Grimsen is cursed, but let’s not overdo it here) and Cardan turns into a serpent. Nice twist!
#4 Vivi’s new relationship with Heather
A big issue during book 2 and this one was Vivi’s relationship with the mortal girl, Heather. And while I wasn’t a fan of their relationship at first and didn’t agree with many desicions made by Vivi, this solution is great! Vivi is trying to prevent all her mistakes and erases Heather’s memory and then they date all over again, but this time, she’s being honest about everything – goof twist!
#5 Jude revealing her status as the High Queen of Faerie by trying to heal herself through the land
I panicked a little because I had no idea how Jude would survive that blow, but that was a great way of revealing her status!
#6 The Ghost being commanded by his real name and Madoc tricking Jude to run off and save Cardan
This is what I am talking about when I praise Holly Black’s unforeseeable plot twists: she so had me thinking Madoc really sent the Ghost trying to kill Cardan, while he only sent a message to the Bomb and she then thought Jude was the traitor.
That’s it – all the positive and negative aspects that are connected with certain scenes or actions! Of course, I should also mention that Holly Black is an amazing author, I love her writing style, the characters were amazing to the point of perfection, the world was incredible and the atmosphere gripping!
There you have it – what do you think, do you also have the same issues I have or did you 100% love this book? Feel free to comment! Happy reading!