The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black is back with a spinoff! THE STOLEN HEIR takes the readers back to the ethereal world of Elfhame where you can trust no one. Part grizzly but primarily entertaining, the first book in this duology will have you spellbound.
THE STOLEN HEIR by Holly Black revolves around Suren – the child queen of the Court of Teeth – and Oak, the young Faerie prince, and heir to Elfhame. The story is set eight years after the Battle of the Serpent in The Queen of Nothing, the last book in The Folk the Air trilogy.
From the moment Suren was introduced in the original trilogy, I knew I wanted to see more of this girl – where she came from and what her future holds. I remember thinking, “I would love to read a story where she is the protagonist”. With Oak, I was most certain that he would get a story of his own. This book is my wishes coming true.
I read and reviewed the Folk of the Air series in 2022. It’s one of those rare YA fantasy series that gets better with every new release. I’m not personally a fan of fae stories. They are overdone and it’s hard to find a fresh spin on this particular side of the fantasy realm. However, the world of the Elfhame Ms. Black has created swept me off my feet. I find myself enthralled with not only the world – with its raw energy and descriptions – but also the characters. They’re nuanced and almost always have hidden agendas. It’s so much fun reading about the trickery and the politics of the Folk.
THE STOLEN HEIR is no different. In fact, the main characters, Suren and Oak, behave such that I empathize with them right from the start. Some of their experiences and beliefs about themselves reflect how I’ve felt on many occasions (am I secretly from Elfhame, who knows *winks*). Knowing their background from the trilogy may also have had an impact. Whatever the reason, I found myself pulled into the narrative right away.
The writing style is easy to get into, and the world-building is reminiscent of the original series, maybe even better. Since the characters did a lot of traveling, the atmosphere seemed to come alive even more than it did in The Folk of the Air trilogy. It’s hard not to compare the two series, but I do so in a positive light.
I did find the story meandering a bit in the middle which may have slowed the pace a little. Also, if you’re expecting the same level of tension between Suren and Oak as Jude and Carden, then you may be left disappointed. However, these are two very different characters and I appreciate the author choosing to not give them the same relationship dynamics as Jude and Carden. In numerous aspects, I found Suren and Oak’s chemistry to be far more mature than the rest of the Folk romances in the series. Having said that, it was still fun to see the push and pull between Suren and Oak with both finding the other extraordinary and respecting their abilities. I’m in love with these two. Also, the side characters show so much potential.
I must say though, the Folk don’t make for great parents. Suren, especially, had quite a traumatic experience. It was hard to digest a few things her birth parents did to her. More than the brutality of the creatures in this world, it’s the bad parenting that got me horrified. Considering everything, Suren turned out just fine. *clears throat*
All in all, I had quite an adventurous time reading THE STOLEN HEIR (and that ending had me blown away!). The characters and the world-building charmed me. The puzzles and the notoriety underneath the words anyone said kept the element of surprise fresh in the story.
Kudos to the author for putting a new spin into the age-old tales of the faeries. It’s an absolute delight to forget yourself in the earthy richness of the Elfhame. I can’t wait to see more of this world and the characters. After a long time, I find myself invested in a YA fantasy series. Consider me a fan for life.