Book of the Month YA is a monthly book subscription box. Each month, 5 curators pick out their favorite new young adult hardcover books, and you can choose which one you want to receive on the first of the month. You can also add up to 2 additional books for only $9.99 each.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
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About this YA Book Box
The Subscription Box: Book of the Month YA
The Cost: $11.99 a month
ACTIVE DEAL: Get 1st book for $9.99
The Product: Subscribers get to pick from a selection of hardcover books each month. Skip any month you aren't interested in. Add up to two additional books for $9.99 each.
Ships to: The US for free
Book of the Month YA December 2019 Review
Looking for the regular Book of the Month reviews? Find them here!
This month, subscribers picked from the following 5 books:
I'm reviewing The Queen of Nothing:
The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black - Retail Value $19.99
HEADS UP, THERE ARE SPOILERS IN MY REVIEW BELOW.
Book Summary from Amazon:
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.
He will be the destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne
Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.
Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan's betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.
Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict's bloody politics.
And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity...
Let's get some housekeeping out of the way before we dive in. This is the third and final book in a trilogy, so if you haven't read the first and second book, I recommend doing so before jumping into this one.
I actually read the first book, The Cruel Prince when it first launched in 2018 and honestly, I really didn't like it at all. I found it really difficult to connect to any of the characters and the world-building felt lacking in terms of the visuals Holly Black's writing conjured in my mind. I remember I walked away from it quite frustrated and uninterested in continuing. Here is why:
The relationship between Jude and Cardan was more than a little unhealthy, and ventured into a Twilight-esque realm for me personally. I found the majority of their interactions problematic in general. If you happen to be into troubled bad-boy romances though, maybe you feel differently? I mean, at least it is a well-written toxic relationship!
“I hate you,” I breathe into his mouth. “I hate you so much that sometimes I can’t think of anything else.” —The Wicked King
Jude herself was another glaring issue. For a main heroine, she does have some good qualities: she is strong, self-reliant, and fiercely independent. She is also ruthless, at times cruel, unbelievably power-hungry, and maybe even a bad person. She starts off for all the right reasons, namely to protect her younger brother Oak, but she is also kind of a controlling tyrant who thinks she deserves power because her life has been hard and because others are too weak. This is Jude's delicate dance, back and forth. I am not ashamed to admit that I found her often unlikeable though I admired her creativity and tenacity.
So why did I chose to pick up the third book? I don't know. I thought maybe I got it wrong on that first reading, so I decided to download the audio versions of both book one and book two for a really long holiday road trip to catch up. My feelings remain pretty much the same, and I was just not into it until the second half of book two, when I felt like the whole story became better paced and exciting. It also took a dive into the politics behind all the courts which sucked me in immediately and the massive cliffhanger ending left me more excited for this book, book three.
The Queen of Nothing was a mixed bag. Just like the first books, it was filled with characters making super questionable choices for even more questionable reasons, incredibly controlling and cringeworthy romance moments, violence, and Cardan's TAIL. It also did a much better job at making you feel like you were there in the middle of the story, and the whole book was easier to imagine inside my head.
If you happened to love this series, I promise I do understand its charm. It is a story about a strong young woman who triumphs against all odds, wins the love (or at least affection) of a handsome prince (with a TAIL), and ends up ruling a kingdom. Even if I take my own personal feelings on this series out of the picture, I can't imagine readers not loving how neatly and completely this series wraps up. And here I am, left with super mixed feelings about all of this. Did I hate this series? No. I found it endlessly entertaining, wildly frustrating, eye-roll inducing, and yet often enchanting. Have I ever really read anything like it? No. If you are looking for a trilogy that you can dive right into and you love YA fantasy, maybe give the first book a try and see what you think.
And Book of the Month YA includes a bookmark every month.
If you picked this book this month, please let me know what you think of it!
Verdict: I have so many feelings about this December Book of the Month YA. I am really impressed that this sub offered a book from a trilogy that is so immensely popular and I will admit that I am glad I finished this story to its conclusion. It will never be my favorite, but it was entertaining and hugely imaginative.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this book if you sign up today? No, but the January selections are currently available!
ACTIVE DEAL: Get 1st book for $9.99
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What do you think of the Book of the Month YA subscription? Which book (or books) did you pick this month?