A runaway queen. A reluctant prince. And a quest that may destroy them both.

Eight years have passed since the Battle of the Serpent. But in the icy north, Lady Nore of the Court of Teeth has reclaimed the Ice Needle Citadel. There, she is using an ancient relic to create monsters of stick and snow who will do her bidding and exact her revenge.

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.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black returns to the opulent world of Elfhame in the first book in a thrilling new duology, following Jude’s brother Oak, and the changeling queen, Suren.

Bite Size Review

2,5 stars (and 5 stars for the ending)

I think so far it’s been my biggest disappointment!

I am a huge Holly Black fan.

I also adored The Cruel Prince trilogy. So I never expected to rate that book so low!

Most of the book felt flat and boring to me BUT the ending is worth a five stars.

I loved Wren right from the go but Oak was… shifty. Probably because Holly Black repeatedly told us that he is a courtier and so…unreliable.

He had surprising moments though when he fought like a lion, so at odds with the shinning image of a spoiled prince falling in love easily that he presented for the world to see.

If there were some moments when an intimacy was hinted between Wren and Oak from their childhood to these modern days they were too far and between for me to really feel any real romance or love between these two.

I didn’t dig their ship. And that’s a shame.

Even now I don’t feel a passion between them. If Cardan despised Jude at least their emotions and feelings were high and hot! Here it just feels meek and that’s what is bothering me the most I guess.

What I did love though was Wren’s past. Her childhood, her trauma, all that she went through and that was so unfair but also that made her real in my eyes, worth caring for.

Now I also recall ending “The Cruel Prince” saying that Cardan didn’t impress me and that he better amp up the stakes in the next instalment and… he did!

So maybe there is hope, certainly after that ending! We’ll see.

Thanks for reading.


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  1. Sorry this was such a disappointment, Sophie. I’ve been on the fence about reading this one. I enjoyed the original trilogy so I might like this one. But I was also satisfied with how things ended and am okay leaving the story as it is.

  2. Oh wow, I’m so sorry this one didn’t work for you. I keep seeing it around but have been on the fence about whether or not I want to read it. If I do, I will definitely go in with low expectations.