The stolen heir is an irresistible return to the captivating world of Elfhame from bestselling Folk of the Air author Holly Black. She’s a master of her craft and she totally nailed it with The Stolen Heir.
The Stolen Heir is set in the same world as Holly Black’s “Folk of the Air” trilogy and takes place some years after the events of the final book in that trilogy.
The main characters are Wren and Oak, who were previously introduced as children in the “Folk of the Air” trilogy.
Oak is a prince and the heir to Cardan’s throne, while Wren is the puppet queen of the Court of the Teeth, a faery realm that was defeated by Cardan and Jude.
It is not at the same level as the “Folk of the Air” Trilogy but it is just as equally an amazing read.
I was very unsure going into the book but I decided to give it a try after enjoying all of her previous books, and I’m glad I did.
The Stolen Heir Official Synopsis
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.
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.
A bit of a recap from the first series before this: (Folk Of Air Spoilers Ahead)
Oak is the brother of King Cardan. Cardan is the current High King of Elfhame. However, Cardan was tricked into becoming king when Oak and Jude tricked him by putting the crown on his head making him King Cardan.
However, Oak has a claim to the throne as it is assumed or almost implied that Cardan is warming the throne for Oak till he is of age. Oak has no interest in the crown so we don’t know his fate regarding that yet.
Madoc is a faerie and the former Grand General of Elfhame under the rule of High King Eldred. He is the father to Vivienne, foster father to Taryn and Jude Duarte and Oak and husband to Oriana Oak’s adoptive mother.
Madoc Longs for the throne, comes before the throne by challenging King Cardan (The High King, Oak’s Uncle and his Adoptive daughter’s Husband. Jude – High Queen) for the crown.
He eventually aligns with the Court of Teeth to take over the High Court of Elfhame and offers to be Jude’s advisor and make deals with the Court of Teeth for the benefit of her and her family.
He also admits he agreed to the Court of Teeth that Oak would marry Queen Suren, that way when he ascends the throne, so will she.
However, Jude defeats the Court of Teeth and Suren was freed upon Oak’s request. Following her mother’s removal from the throne, Suren was made Queen of the Court of Teeth.
Suren and Oak had become friends at some point during the war but Suren left Elfhame and Oak stayed to become a prince.
Now to The Stolen Heir Book Review.
I loved this book. I wasn’t expecting much to be honest and, after reading the prologue and realising that Suren or Wren would narrate the story as she’s called in the human world, I had doubts but a few chapters in those doubts were squashed.
Initially, I had assumed this book would be majorly about Oak and I didn’t know what to expect as I hadn’t paid much attention to either He or Suren in the previous books. Also, I remembered him as a child so I wanted to see how he’d be portrayed as a teenager.
At the beginning of The Stolen heir, Suren is living feral in the woods in the mortal world and helping mortals escape from foolish bargains. When Oak comes for her and they begin their quest with other members of their party. This includes Tiernan – Oak’s Knight, and his prisoner Hyacinthe – a former soldier on Madoc’s army and now currently Half man, half falcon.
The first few chapters were a lovely re-introduction, to be honest, I took my time reading those chapters as it took a long second to get attached to those characters, or even care about their quest.
However, once I read through the first couple of pages it became interesting and I didn’t realise that I had read almost 70 per cent despite just getting by the first chapters.
I was also sceptical of the fact that it was a quest rather than a one-location book. But I loved the journey, the places they went, the scheming and tricks played on their mission to stop Lady Nore (Wren’s mother)at the Court of Teeth—her former prison and The last place Wren would like to go but Oak needs her to put a stop to Lady Nore’s growing power and the threat it poses.
Because this is told from Wren’s Perspective, it is a bit gloomy due to her nature and character personality, so it seems like you’re barely getting the content of who or how Oak is.
We see what she sees and thinks of him which is as a trickster, not to be trusted, a bit spoilt and quite clueless. We get glimpses that he is more than all these.
I loved this book. I think the writing was brilliant and the pacing was well done.
Wren as a character also grew on me reading through the book. I loved her character development. She’s not Jude and that’s why I like her more. She’s been through a lot so she comes off as melancholic and moody But she’s more than that as we discover through the book.
I loved the plot twist and progression of the book. I predicted it but it was still interesting to watch it play through. Totally looking forward to book two.
Do you need to read the Folk of air series before this?
While I recommend that you read the previous series before this? You don’t necessarily have to read them before this. You can start with The stolen heir series.
Do Jude and Cardan appear in this book?
Jude and Cardan do not appear in this book and are kept in the background. Readers awaiting cameos from Jude and Cardan may feel slightly disappointed that Black keeps them in the background here.
The Stolen Heir Is Wren and Oak’s Story but their story is just as satisfying as readers could hope for, filled with riddles, plot twists, tricks and reveals.
Is the Stolen Heir a Standalone?
No, it is not. It is a duology. This is the first book of a two-part series. The second book would be told from Oak’s perspective. Hopefully, we get to see more of what goes on inside his head reading from his own perspective.
What we know about book 2
Book two has been titled The Prisoner’s Throne and the expected publication date for book two is February 27, 2024
The Prisoner’s Throne Blurb
After the shocking events of The Stolen Heir, Prince Oak is in deeper trouble than ever before.
As his situation grows more precarious, Oak is desperate to find a way out, before all of Elfhame is caught in the coming storm