The Stolen Heir by Holly Black: A Review
"And when he handed it over and their fingers met, I recognized the sharp pain of longing, the unwillingness to ask for what you knew you would be denied."
❗This review is spoiler-free❗
It has been a few days since I finished this masterpiece and I am still not over it. Miss Holly Black delivered. I had sky-high expectations because I loved the Folk of the Air trilogy, and let me tell you, Holly Black took me all the way to space with this book. This book drove me absolutely insane in the best way possible, I actually physically could not put it down to the point where my friends got a little concerned. This was just an absolutely exceptional book and I am so excited to talk more about it.
The Stolen Heir by Holly Black
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.
First off, let us talk about the characters. I will admit, it took me a hot second to get used to thinking of Suren and Oak as more than two little kids, as that's what they were in the last book, but after 50ish pages that was a thing of the past. I loved getting to know Suren more since in previous books she had just been this creepy child queen who was on their enemies' side, but she is so much more than that! She is honestly a phenomenal character with so much depth. She has so much history and so many experiences in her life, and you can really see how that affects her ability to trust, and her decisions throughout the book. I also loved seeing her battle with what's wrong and right, and honestly if anything's really either. And that really helped her grow as a person! And her character arc?? Mind blown.
As for Oak, he reminded me a lot of Cardan and Jude but brighter. When I think of Cardan I think more of the moon, and when I think of Oak I think of the sun. That's all I can really say to explain the thoughts swirling in my head. He's this charismatic, alluring, "perfect" prince. But he's also strategic, cunning, and daring. He is deeply passionate and emotional, but hides all that behind this gorgeous smile that, and I quote, "makes people want to smash things". Through the story, we got to learn a lot about him, but I think Miss Holy Black is saving a lot of his character arc for the second book, because as I remember the second book is in his POV??? Words cannot explain my excitement.
"When his eyes meet mine, desire, as keen as any blade, bends the air between us. The moment slows. I want to bite his lip. To feel the heat of his skin. To slide my hands beneath his armor and trace the map of his scars."
One thing I did not expect was the romance and sexual tension between Oak and Suren!!! Holy moly, they had me gasping. Every time they were interacting (basically the whole book...) I swear I was yelling at them to kiss. All of their scenes together melted my mind, I actually didn't know what to do with myself. I loved how their dynamic was reflective of both of their experiences and their chemistry was so obvious. It wasn't forced or anything like that.
Speaking of chemistry, I couldn't write this review without talking about my favorite side characters. Tiernan and Hyacinthe. Oh my goodness. I can't say too much because this is a spoiler-free but them. Their dynamic, their past, their everything. They were something I didn't know I needed.
"Sometimes life gives us the terrible gift of our own wishes come true"
And lastly, it's not a review with me raving about the plot. THE PLOT WAS SO GOOD. Holly Black did not wait at all to get started. It was so fast-paced, something was always happening, and I ate it up. Holly Black is such a phenomenal writer, I was hooked. She could quite literally make a grocery list sound beautiful. The way she writes romance and tension is absolutely stunning!!!!!! And the way she writes battle scenes? Dare I say it tops the romance? Maybe. Her writing really stood out to me in this book, not that it wasn't good in the past, it's always been fantastic, it was just even better.
Plus, learning more and more about Elfhame and the way the magic works, the different types of fae, trolls, etc., was such a good time. I am obsessed with this beautiful world Holly Black has woven.
"My sister thinks she's the only one who can take poison, but I am poison. Poison in my blood. I poison everything I touch."
I also loved the little dark twist at the end, but I did not like that cliffhanger. The plot twist wasn't completely shocking, as Holly made it to where you kind of knew what was going to happen, and you were able to watch Suren figure it out. Which I actually really liked. I definitely wasn't expecting the darker take on Elfhame in this book, but like every single other part of this book, I ate it up. It was stunning.
One thing I'm not over is there was no Jude or Cardan spotting. There were mentions of them, and every time either of their names was on the page I swear my heart skipped a beat. I love them so much and I can't wait to get a lot more of them in the next book....because they better be in the next book.
I think I have made it clear that I adored this book. Holly Black did it again, and I am stunned, shocked, and my jaw is still on the floor. I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the next one.
Have you read this yet? Let me know in the comments!
Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram