STARRED REVIEW
January 2023

The Stolen Heir

By Holly Black
This highly anticipated spinoff to Holly Black’s bestselling Folk of the Air trilogy offers a tale deliciously wrought with mistrust and longing.
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Author Holly Black returns to the world of Faerie with this highly anticipated spinoff from her bestselling Folk of the Air trilogy. The Stolen Heir follows Wren, the exiled queen of the Court of Teeth, and Prince Oak, the heir to Elfhame and Wren’s former betrothed.

Wren grew up a changeling, a faerie left in the care of a mortal family when she was just a toddler. She spent a blissful childhood among humans until her vicious faerie parents, Lord Jarel and Lady Nore, stole her away to the Ice Needle Citadel in the Court of Teeth. There, she endured years of humiliation and abuse before finally making her escape. She’s lived in isolation in the woods ever since, hiding from humans and faeries alike. 

A charismatic and beguiling young man, Oak has spent much of his adolescence in the cutthroat Faerie court learning to combat the many assassination attempts on his life. While his sister, Jude, and her husband (the central couple of Black’s previous trilogy) rule Elfhame, Oak has been trying to put a stop to Lady Nore’s growing power and the threat it poses. He has hatched a dangerous plan that involves infiltrating the Court of Teeth. To carry it out successfully, however, he needs Wren’s insider knowledge of the citadel. 

Wren crosses paths with Oak when he rescues her from a kidnapping attempt, then conscripts her into joining his plans. The Court of Teeth—her former prison—is the last place Wren wants to return to, but if she’s ever going to stop living on the run, she must confront her past and embrace her power, no matter how monstrous it makes her feel. 

Black centers The Stolen Heir, the first book in a planned duology, on the scars of childhood trauma. Wren is the rightful claimant to a throne she is too frightened to command. Although she longs to return to her human family, her pale blue skin and sharply pointed teeth are constant reminders that she can never rejoin the mortal world. Oak’s unworldly allure—his golden curls and amber, foxlike eyes—makes her doubt the sincerity of his affection. As in all of Black’s books about the world of Faerie, beauty and cruelty exist side by side, and neither is ever completely what it seems.

Readers awaiting cameos from Jude and Cardan may feel slightly disappointed that Black keeps them in the background here. The Stolen Heir belongs wholly to Wren and Oak, but their story is just as satisfying as readers could hope for, deliciously wrought with mistrust and longing. Meanwhile, newcomers to Black’s Faerie books will be enticed to gobble up everything she has ever penned.  

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The Stolen Heir

The Stolen Heir

By Holly Black
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN 9780316592703

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