Once, the Raven Kingdom was a place of beauty. Starflowers bloomed along the soft grass shared by nature and humans alike, ruled by a kind person who valued everything under their regime. Like most good things, however, the peace was temporary. It was not long before war broke out over the throne and the land was fraught with terror, suffering, and the cries of victims who had nothing but dirt to their name. From that moment, the land broke the crown into three pieces and hid it away, waiting for the moment it would be returned to its rightful heir.
It seems the time has come when triplets are born in the heart of a forest. The eldest is destined to become the newest heir to the throne. However, frightened for that child’s safety, their mother refuses to reveal who the eldest triplet is. Instead, she hides her children away, fervently hoping the truth will never be revealed.
Despite everything, Cordelia, one of the triplets, feels a call in her bones to explore the forest. Not only can she shape-shift into different animals, but she also has a wild streak unfit for being cooped up in a house. When she finally decides to act on her desires, everything changes…and in a world torn apart by war, the only people she can trust are her family. But can Cordelia really trust them when her heart is so different? Most importantly, can she trust herself?
The Raven Heir was a spellbinding book bursting with tension, passion, and classic internal conflict. I loved the forest setting, which was absolutely spectacularly described in a way that immersed me into the story. It almost gives Disney’s Brave vibes, but honestly, the concept is so unique, it’s almost unfair to draw comparisons. Through prose and flashbacks, it was clear how the land in the story was affected by the constant warring of the people.
Ah, the plot! It was so well developed and very easy to follow. It’s suitable for exactly its age group—middle grade—with fantastical elements I would have loved at that age and still adore now. There were constant twists and turns that made sense when you got to them, but also managed to hurt your heart, especially at the end.
Personally, it was a little difficult to connect to the characters—they were all quite boxed in by one or two main personality traits for much of the book. However, the twists at the end definitely amped up the quality of character-building, providing much more insight into how they truly operated. The Raven Heir truly doesn’t disappoint in its execution toward the end.
At once lovely, tense, and bittersweet, The Raven Heir is the perfect type of book for anyone of any age. From the bottom of my heart, I recommend this novel to reluctant readers and total bookworms alike!
The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2021. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!