Book Review: The Stolen Heir (Stolen Heir #1)

Published: January 3, 2023

Author: Holly Black

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.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black returns to the opulent world of Elfhame in the first book in a thrilling new duology, following Jude’s brother Oak, and the changeling queen, Suren.

The Stolen Heir is the first novel in a new duology set in the Elfhame universe. It takes place about eight years after the events of the original Folk of the Air trilogy where the main character of this story was introduced. In Jude and Carden’s story, Lady Suren (Wren) was the Queen of the Court of Teeth and the daughter of Lady Nore, who fled to the human realm. Now readers follow Wren who is dodging assassins from Lady Nore and ends up being rescued by Prince Oak Greenbriar, heir to the Throne of Elfhame. There are mentions of Carden and Jude plus other characters from the original Folk of the Air trilogy are all mentioned, but the story focuses on Suren (Wren) and her POV.

 The two series, this one and the original trilogy, readers should read both, but could potentially read them separately without the other. Since the two series take place in the same universe, it was difficult not to make comparisons. Wren is not Jude and Oak is not Carden. The two seemed to swap personalities in a way and the romantic tension is more subtle by comparison. Since Oak and Wren have known each other since childhood, their dynamic follows the childhood friends to potential lovers’ route. There was some nice chemistry, but I felt there needed to be a little more to build up the romance. It felt like it existed too much before the novel began, so the reader is missing some of the connection.

After Oak and Wren reconnect, the main portion of the story is the two out on a quest where they face many obstacles along the way. The characters and plot has potential, but felt lacking in some places. As a reader, I got to know Wren a lot more, but I feel there is still to much to learn about the other characters. Since this story takes place years after the other series, Black not only attempts to create this new story, but tries to fill in the gaps where the timelines are connected. This was a difficult task that I felt needed more time. With only a single story to do this, it felt like it was not enough. Based on the ending, it seems the story will not fill in more history and instead focus on the present one. Overall, this duology has a lot of potential where it can be a favorite if the next novel can deliver. I have faith in Black’s writing and cannot wait until I can read the sequel!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Stolen Heir (Stolen Heir #1)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s