Book Review: The Raven Heir
The Raven Heir
Written by Stephanie Burgis
Published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Publication date: 5th August 2021
Summary (from Goodreads):
A set of magical triplets, two warring dynasties, and a broken crown waiting for its rightful owner…
Deep within an enchanted forest lies a castle where a set of triplets and their sorceress mother have lived for years — safe from the decades-long war for the Raven Throne that rages in the kingdom beyond. Cordelia, one of the triplets, has the power to become any animal with just a thought, and she yearns to discover more about the world outside her castle.
But one day, the world comes to her, when the eldest of the triplets becomes the newest heir to the throne. Knowing that being named heir means certain death, Cordelia’s mother hid the truth about which child is the eldest when she hid them in the forest. When her family is captured, it’s up to Cordelia to use her powers to keep her siblings hidden and discover the truth about the Raven Heir — before it’s too late.
A thrilling new fantasy full of magic, adventure, and the power of family.
First impressions: As soon as I heard that this book, The Raven Heir, was on the way, I knew that I had to get my hands on a copy! Stephanie Burgis has become one of my go-to authors for magical middle-grade adventures with plucky heroines, lots of heart and stories that leave you feeling satisfied.
The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart is a book that I picked up on a whim in the library and absolutely adored. I have recommended it to lots of people since, as well as read everything else written by Stephanie that I can get! (Hint: She send out lovely short stories and excerpts in her author newsletter so it is well worth signing up to)
The Raven Heir is the beginning of an epic new fantasy series and is already shaping up to be a new favourite for me (even if the heroine of The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart, Aventurine, will always have a special place in my heart!).
Cordelia knew the taste of secrets. It was the bitterness that coated her tongue each time her mother walked away from another question about the past, why they had to hide inside their castle, and why no other humans were allowed into their forest. Over the years, she’d come up with a thousand different stories to make up for it.
She had never imagined this one.
The reader is thrown straight into the action, joining Cordelia as she surveys the castle in which she lives with her siblings, hidden within an enchanted forest. Her mother will not answer questions about their past, but spends hours every day weaving spells to keep them concealed.
Within the first few pages, their sanctuary has been discovered, the triplets have been forced to flee and there is no time for anything to be explained…they just have to survive. But how can they know who to trust when they have no experience with the outside world?
I really enjoyed the fast pace and how deft the character creation was, with each displaying their own motivations and character traits. The relationship between the siblings and their ‘family’ within the castle is also shown very tenderly. One particular point I liked was that each sibling had a chance to show their strength, as well as their vulnerability, bringing home the point that they are stronger together than apart.
This is a strong opening to a fantastic fantasy series that I am excited to continue reading!
For one wonderful moment, the world outside their forest had seemed so wide and full of possibilities – as if she could finally explode out into it and be free. Cordelia should have known better than to imagine it could ever really happen.
What I liked: Strong, interesting characters and family bonds – many defy stereotypes or display magical powers with a slight twist on what you may expect. Excellent world-building gives you enough information to understand what is going on without ever bogging you down in excessive exposition.
Even better if: I want to find out more about how magic works in this world and perhaps meet some magical creatures? I also felt that some of the clues were very obvious. Just wish I had the next book here already…
How you could use it in your classroom: As with all books by Stephanie Burgis, I would recommend The Raven Heir to any fantasy fans aged 8 plus, or as gateway books for those who have not yet read much fantasy. These books are the equivalent of a cup of hot chocolate, a cosy blanket and a hug, while featuring girls who wait for nobody to start their own adventures.
About the Author:
Stephanie Burgis lives in Wales with her husband, their two sons and their tabby cat, surrounded by mountains and castles. She writes fun MG fantasy adventures, most recently the Dragon with a Chocolate Heart trilogy and The Raven Heir.
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Thank you so much for reading!
While you’re here, why not check out my reviews of The Girl with the Dragon Heart, Do You Speak Chocolate?, No Ballet Shoes in Syria, 44 Tiny Secrets, Mohinder’s War, The Longest Night of Charlie Noon, The Switching Hour or The Dictionary of Difficult Words?