Being a huge fan of The Cruel Prince trilogy, my expectations were super high for The Stolen Heir.
And oh I am shouting, because this was so so so so good. I’m absolutely obsessed!! I adore Holly Black’s style of fairy tales and fairy worlds, and this was absolutely addictive, biting, wickedly magical, beautiful and powerful. I just felt so stuffed full of inspiration and excited magic when I was finished–I love this feeling!! I am absolutely pining for book 2, of course, and after the way this one ended–2024 is going to be a good year for books.
An important question is probably, “Can you read The Stolen Heir without reading The Cruel Prince series?” And yes! I think you can. It does have spoilers for TCP obviously because it’s set several years later. But this follows the POV of Wren, who was a minor character (and just a child) in TCP, and while her story is built off the events of TCP, she brings a brand new perspective and storyline.
Also let me just say I am OBSESSED with the dark fairy tale bent to this. How the folk were so vicious and monstrous and stunningly beautiful. How the games had that macabre bent. Wren has been through hell and considers herself a feral, guarded, sharp-toothed thing. She can’t possibly understand why anyone would like her, let alone help her, and distrusts Oak extremely. Gentleness under a feral exterior is one of my favourite types of characters to read about, so this just had me living.
“Stop waiting. Sink those pretty little teeth into something.”
“Perhaps it is Oak who is the fool, who caught a wolf and thought that by putting it in a gown and speaking to it as though it were a girl, it would become one.”
The story is full of the good old fairy tale tricks and twists too. I LOVED every single aspect of it, the schemes and “don’t trust anyone” vibes. There are new characters to adore and old ones to fall in love with all over again. Oak is such a complex character, you just keep finding out new layers to him as each scene progresses. Charmer with a dark side? YES.
Read it for:
♡ dark fairy tale vibes and folklore
♡ feral girl x charmer boy
♡ clever plots and twists
♡ beautiful prose
♡ mentions of old The Cruel Prince cast
♡ thoroughly addictive storyline
This story had me falling in love with dark fairy folktales all over again with it’s vivacious writing and stunningly layered characters and plot twists to explode your heart. Highly recommend!!
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for the review copy!
Return to the opulent world of Elfhame, filled with intrigue, betrayal, and dangerous desires, with this first book of a captivating new duology from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black.
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, Lady Nore, 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.
published 03 Jan, 2023