A runaway queen. A reluctant prince. And a quest that may destroy them both.
Eight years have passed since the Battle of the Serpent. But in the icy north, Lady Nore of the Court of Teeth has reclaimed the Ice Needle Citadel. There, she is using an ancient relic to create monsters of stick and snow who will do her bidding and exact her revenge.
Suren, child queen of the Court of Teeth, and the one person with power over her mother, fled to the human world. There, she lives feral in the woods. Lonely, and still haunted by the merciless torments she endured in the Court of Teeth, she bides her time by releasing mortals from foolish bargains. She believes herself forgotten until the storm hag, Bogdana chases her through the night streets. Suren is saved by none other than Prince Oak, heir to Elfhame, to whom she was once promised in marriage and who she has resented for years.
Now seventeen, Oak is charming, beautiful, and manipulative. He’s on a mission that will lead him into the north, and he wants Suren’s help. But if she agrees, it will mean guarding her heart against the boy she once knew and a prince she cannot trust, as well as confronting all the horrors she thought she left behind.
The Stolen Heir had been one of my most highly anticipated releases for 2023. As a devoted fan of The Cruel Prince trilogy, which holds a special place among my favorite YA series, I was thrilled at the prospect of revisiting the world of Elfhame. The story didn’t quite capture my heart to the same extent as its predecessor.
The narrative of The Stolen Heir revolves around Suren, the former child queen of the Court of Teeth, who now finds herself exiled to the human realm. Engaging in foraging expeditions in the woods and liberating mortals from their fae bargains, she yearns to reconnect with the human family she once called her own. A chance encounter with Bogdana from the Court of Teeth alters the course of Suren’s life as she becomes entangled with Prince Oak, the rightful heir to the Elfhame throne. Prince Oak seeks her aid in a perilous quest to rescue his father, necessitating Suren’s return to the treacherous Court of Teeth and the life she left behind. Will she survive the dangers that await in that deadly realm, and can Prince Oak’s motives be genuinely trusted?
Throughout The Stolen Heir, I found numerous elements to appreciate. Holly Black, undeniably the queen of faerie realms, once again displays her exceptional talent for breathing life into enchanting worlds. While certain portions of the story felt somewhat sluggish, the overall narrative remained engaging and compelling enough to enthrall me, resulting in a one-sitting reading session that consumed half the book. Although I managed to predict a reveal that unfolds towards the story’s conclusion, my curiosity remains piqued, eager to discover the trajectory of events in the forthcoming second installment.
For me, the standout aspect of this book undoubtedly resides in the character of Suren. She comes as a truly intriguing and complex individual, grappling with the scars of a harrowing childhood while endeavoring to find her rightful place in the world. Witnessing the development of her relationships with the other characters proved to be a genuine delight, and I eagerly await the path her journey will traverse. Ultimately, The Stolen Heir delivers a delightful and entertaining reading experience, brimming with Black’s trademark style, it is definitely a great addition to your TBR, see you next time!
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