The Stolen Heir by Holly Black Review

The Stolen Heir by Holly Black is the first part of a new duology in the Folk of the Air series which takes place years after the events in the original trilogy. This novel focuses on Lady Suren, who escaped the Court of the Teeth after her family lost the Battle of the Serpent. Now, Lady Suren lives as Wren, hiding away in the mortal world. When she is chased by a storm hag, Prince Oak comes to Wren’s rescue and recruits her on a mission to save his father and to destroy her mother.

I was excited, but nervous for the release of The Stolen Heir. While I loved the original Folk of the Air trilogy, I am always skeptical of new releases in the same world as they may not live up to the other books in the series. Although The Stolen Heir did have some successful moments throughout the book, it did miss the mark in several areas for me.

In The Cruel Prince trilogy, I enjoyed the many twists and turns driven by the characters and politics of their court. However, I found this area to be lacking in The Stolen Heir. I found that this novel takes more of an adventure-based approach which results in most of the novel being event-driven as opposed to character-driven. While there are some strategical elements throughout the book, readers are mostly kept in the dark as Wren, the main character, is not directly involved in most of the scheming compared to Jude, who narrated the original trilogy. The Stolen Heir lacks many of the twists and turns which made The Cruel Prince so fun to read. I predicted the major plot twist of this book fairly early on in the story, so the reveal at the end wasn’t as surprising for me. While the end does promise an interesting premise in the second book of this duology, it wasn’t entirely worth what I put into reading for me.

Another aspect which made The Cruel Prince so successful were the dynamic characters. Often times, Jude and Cardan weren’t necessarily likable, but they were very true to their characters and this was very clear in their words and actions. In The Stolen Heir, many of the characters remained flat throughout most of the novel. The choices they made weren’t extremely dynamic and didn’t raise the stakes as much as I would have wanted. Throughout the novel, I felt like I was being told who these characters were instead of being shown through their words and actions. For example, readers are told by many characters frequently throughout the novel that Oak is extremely charming and manipulative, but I don’t see it to the level that I have seen it previously in this series. Ultimately, Wren and Oak came across as watered down characters of other characters which readers have previously seen in this series.

That being said, there were some aspects of The Stolen Heir which I enjoyed. In the original series, readers spend most of their time in Elfhame. While other places and people are mentioned, they aren’t fully explored. In The Stolen Heir, readers learn a lot more about the fae world, including different monsters and courts. Another reason why I’m such a fan of the Folk of the Air series is that I typically enjoy Holly Black’s writing. I think she often does a great job of selecting precise words which clearly describe ideas and places. At the same time, I don’t think the writing as smooth in The Stolen Heir. Sometimes, it felt like there were strong quotes surrounded by weaker writing in order to have a memorable line.

Overall, The Stolen Heir was a decent book with potential. Unfortunately, most of this book felt like a set-up to me for the next book in the series and lacked many of the elements which I enjoyed from the original trilogy. I give The Stolen Heir three out of five stars.

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Every Book that I Read in 2022

This year, I read 39 books, which was over my reading goal of 24 books. Overall, I enjoyed many of the books that I read in 2022, especially some of the series that I read. Here’s everything that I read in 2022 (any book with a review will be linked to the book’s title):

What are some of the books that you read in 2022?

Goodreads Year in Review 2022

Goodreads provides a good general sense of your reading year. I have been logging my Goodreads Challenge since 2016 and I always look forward to seeing my statistics at the end of the year. Here are my statistics for 2022:

Looking at my statistics, one thing that I immediately notice is the pages read. I recently did my StoryGraph wrap-up and I noticed that StoryGraph and Goodreads each counted a different total number of pages that I read. I think this falls on me though: I don’t pay particular attention to which edition I select when I mark a book as read. Different editions can have a different number of pages, so this is most likely the reasons these numbers differ. Either way, I was happy to surpass my reading goal of 24 books by reading 39 books during 2022!

This year I read three novellas, each written by Ali Hazelwood, so I suspected that one of these books would rank as my shortest book this year.As for the longest book, I read many Sarah J. Maas books so I assumed one of them would take the title. However, I wasn’t sure iif it would be Kingdom of Ash or a book in the Crescent City series. Since I typically read books around 429 pages according to Goodreads, it’s interesting to see that my longest book of the year was twice as large as books that I normally read.

The A Court of Thorns of Roses series has made a resurgence due to BookTok, so it makes since that it was the most shelved book out of the books that I read this year. I haven’t heard much surrounding Josh and Gemma Make a Baby on social media, so it isn’t too surprising to see it as one of my least shelved books this year.

Like I mentioned earlier, I am never surprised to see an A Court of Thorns and Roses book on my list due to its resurgence in popularity. As a result, it doesn’t surprise me that A Court of Mist and Fury was the highest rated out of books that I read as A Court of Mist and Fury is typically regarded as the favorite books by fans of the series.

What were some of your Goodreads stats for 2022?

StoryGraph Stats 2022

StoryGraph has quickly become one of my favorite book tracking websites as it does provide statistics available year round as opposed to only during an end of the year review. I like how StoryGraph uses a lot of stats besides numbers of books or page numbers to give a better sense of the style of books that you read in a year, for example, by tracking the moods and pacing of books that you read. Here are my statistics for 2022:

During 2022, I set my reading goal at 24 books so I would need to average at least 2 books per month. I was happy to surpass my reading goal by reading 39 books this year. Looking at my goal, it made me decide to try and read 36 books in 2023, so I need to read on average three books per month. I believe I met my reading goal back in June, so I read more books in the first half of the year than in the second half of the year.

Looking at my reading moods is one of my favorite features on StoryGraph and I always find it to be extremely accurate when I review the books that I read in a year. It doesn’t surprise me that lighthearted is the biggest part of my graph. Most of the books which I read this year would be classified as romance or romantic comedy, so it makes sense that it makes up the largest part of my graph. I am also not surprised emotional is a large part of my graph. I prefer contemporary romance books that do have an “emotional” element. Additionally, I read a lot of Sarah J. Maas books this year, which also have many emotional scenes. I do believe reading many Sarah J. Maas books can be attributed to adventurous and dark being on my graph. I read every book from the Throne of Glass series this year which is a huge adventure with several dark elements.

As for pacing, I definitely agree with my results. Slow is my smallest part of my graph, which I think it probably related to The Wall of Winnipeg by Mariana Zapata is the slowest of slow burn romances. For the “fast” part of the graph, I feel like this is probably due to reading three of Ali Hazelwood’s novellas released this year which were only a little over one hundred pages each, so the plots moved quickly. For pacing, I would say reading books at a medium pace are my favorite, so I am not surprised to see that as my largest category.

My page number stats are a little different than usual due to the types of books that I read this year. My largest category is typically 300-499, however, it usually occupies more of my graph. Like I mentioned earlier, I read many Sarah J. Maas books this year and her books can easily tip over 500 pages, so I think that accounts for a large portion of the 500+ category. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I read three novellas by Ali Hazelwood, which most likely accounts for the less than 300 pages category.

Recently, I discussed my most read authors of the year on my blog. While I knew I read a lot of Sarah J. Maas this year, I didn’t quite realize how much I read by Sarah J. Maas this year. In 2022, I read all of the books in the Throne of Glass series (except for book one), both Crescent City books, and I reread some books in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. That being said, I am still shocked that I read double the number of books compared to the second author on my list. One of the authors on this list that really surprises me is Ali Hazelwood. I wasn’t a huge fan of her debut book, The Love Hypothesis, but I wanted to see if I enjoyed her other books. I would say my favorite by Ali Hazelwood this year was Love on the Brain, her second full-length novels, which appears on my favorites list of 2022.

Like I mentioned earlier, romance is typically my most read genre, so it doesn’t surprise me that it is the highest read genre for 2022. Looking at these statistics, I think this probably takes some sub-genres in account to because romance looks to be about 37 books. I did read 39 books in all, but I wouldn’t necessarily classify each book that I read into that genre. For example, the Throne of Glass series, does have romance, but I would primarily classify that series as fantasy.

This statistic isn’t necessarily accurate for me as I didn’t add some of my early reads of the year until March. This year, I want to make sure I am adding books and updating them frequently on StoryGraph to get the most accurate data for this category. However, I do like to see the trends of this graph, which is accurate to my reading year as I did read more books and pages in the beginning of the year compared to the end of the year.

I really like how StoryGraph incorporated these statistics into the end of the year review. I always like to look at new-to-me authors, so it was interesting to see that nine of the books that I read this year were by authors that I hadn’t read in the past. I also found it interesting that 30 books that I read were part of a series. I have noticed recently there has been in an increase ins contemporary companion series, so combined with fantasy series that I read this year, it made my total higher than I was normally expect.

I knew Sarah J. Maas would have my longest book of the year, but I wasn’t sure if it would be Kingdom of Ash or one of the Crescent City books. It’s hard to believe that my longest book of the year and my shortest book of the year accounted for a little over 1,000 pages of my 17,000 pages read!

What were some of your StoryGraph stats in 2022?

January TBR

A new year means new books to read! Here are the three books that I hope to read in January:

  • The Stolen Heir by Holly Black

The Stolen Heir is the first book in a new duology by Holly Black which follows some characters originally introduced in The Cruel Prince. This duology will take place eight years after the ending of The Queen of Nothing and follows Suren, who was the child queen of the Court of Teeth, after she escaped to the human world. However, Suren soon is tracked down, but is saved by Prince Oak, who was Jude’s younger brother in the original series.

Overall, I really enjoyed the The Cruel Prince series, although I was slightly disappointed by the final book in the series. That being said, the first two books in that series ended up on my favorites list, so I’m hoping The Stolen Heir will fall more in line with those books. That being said, there’s always some nervousness when a new book is released in a series long after the original, as readers don’t want it to ruin the original series. Regardless, I am very curious about this book and I hope to read it when it is released early in the new year.

  • Lore Olympus Volume One by Rachel Smythe

Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe is a graphic novel retelling of Hades and Persephone which has a more modern setting. I read some of Lore Olympus on WebToons, where it was originally published, and absolutely loved it. I really love Rachel Smythe’s drawing style and her use of colors throughout the story. When I saw it was published in book form, I knew that I had to add it to my collection. This book features the first 25 episodes of the online comic, as well as a short story exclusive to the print addition, so I’m excited to reread this story which I love and see some new content.

  • Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren

I have been disappointed with Christina Lauren’s recent releases, however I have heard a lot of positive reviews for Love & Other Words. I have also heard many comparisons between this book and Every Summer After by Carley Fortune, which I also hope to read in 2023. Love & Other Words follows Macy and Elliot, who have a second chance romance. Some reservations that I have with this book is that it is told in different time lines to show their past relationship and the current interactions and the second chance romance trope, and this type of writing and this trope aren’t always my favorite to read.

What books do you plan to read in January?

Blog Goals for 2023

Recently, I discussed my reading goals for 2023. Today, I will be discussing my blog goals for 2023. Here are my top four goals:

  • Goal #1: Complete Blogentine’s Day.

My first goal for my blog in 2023 is doing Blogentine’s Day. In the past, I have written fourteen posts for the first fourteen days of February. I didn’t do Blogentine’s Day this past year, but it is something that I have always enjoyed writing for my blog. I have already started planning out my posts for Blogentine’s Day, so I’m hoping that my early planning will make writing that many posts at the beginning of the year less stressful.

  • Goal #2: Complete Blogmas.

On my blog, Blogmas lasts all 31 days of December. I am almost finished with Blogmas this year and it was so much fun to review recent books that I’ve read and to reflect on my reading this past year. Like with Blogentine’s Day, Blogmas can take a lot of planning. I didn’t plan as early as I typically do this year, so I had to do a lot of writing during the month of December, which can add a lot of pressure since it is such a busy time of the year. As a result, it is my goal to start planning this month-long celebration on my blog a little sooner than I did this year.

  • Goal #3: Keep up with monthly TBRs and reading wrap-ups.

In the past on my blog, I loved doing monthly TBRs and wrap-ups to keep track of what I read each month and to reflect on whether or not I stuck to my TBR. How many books I read in a month can greatly fluctuate, so even if it isn’t monthly wrap-ups, I at least want to do seasonal wrap-ups of books that I have read.

  • Goal #4: Review more types of media.

So many books are being turned into movies during 2023 that I want to start reviewing more types of media aside from books on my blog. I love watching book-to-movie, or more often now, books-to-streaming series, so I would love to write comparisons between books and movies as well as reviewing the books and media content separately.

What goals do you have for your blog in 2023?

24 Books I Plan to Read Before 2024

Since it’s almost time for the new year, I wanted to write a list of books I wanted to read before 2023 ends. Instead of just thinking of my most anticipated releases of 2023, I also wanted to think of previously published books that I want to read in the new year. Throughout the year, I plan to document my progress on my list! Here are my choices:

Observations:

Looking over the books I chose to put on my list I noticed several trends, including:

Genres

I am not surprised that the most books on my list fall into the contemporary romance genre, as it is my most read genre during 2022. Among the contemporary romances, there are a couple books on this list which are holiday romances. This December, there were a few holiday romances which I wanted to read, but ran out of time to read, so I want to put them on the list for the next year.

However, there are a few fantasy books and graphic novel books sprinkled into my list this year. In my book goals for 2023, Many of the fantasy books on my list are reappearances from series that I loved in the past. A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel to The Hunger Games, so it is a must-read for me before the movie releases in November 2023. The Stolen Heir is a new boo kin a duology which follows characters from The Cruel Prince, a series which made it into my yearly favorites when it was released.

Something else that I noticed was the number of graphic novels included in my list. In my book goals for 2023, I mentioned how I wanted to get back into reading graphic novels. Since I have been wanting to read the Lore Olympus series, which has been published in print form, I thought this would be a great way to meet my goal.

Authors

There are a few statistics that I noticed regarding authors on my list. Out of 24 books, 16 books are from authors that I have previously read. The other six books are from authors who would be new-to-me. Additionally, on my list, there are quite a few authors repeated. Tessa Bailey, Christina Lauren, and Rachel Smythe each appear three times on my list. Tessa Bailey has two new releases planned for 2023, a duology which takes place on a vineyard, and I haven’t read My Killer Vacation, which she released last year. The author duo Christina Lauren has one new book to be released this year and I also included two previously published books that I would like to read. I haven’t been a fan of Christina Lauren’s newest releases (I DNF’d Something Wilder in 2022), but I’m hoping that I will enjoy the books that I have selected for my list. For Rachel Smythe, I would like to read at least three of the four published copies of Lore Olympus.

Publication Date

Reviewing my list, 8 of the books will be published in 2023 and 4 of these books were published in 2022 (it should be noted that Lore Olympus was published in print form during 2022, but was released on WebToon a different year). This means that half of the books which I planned to read in 2023 were published within the last couple years.

The List of Books (from left to right):

  • The Stolen Heir by Holly Black
  • Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren
  • Secretly Yours by Tessa Bailey
  • Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune
  • Happy Place by Emily Henry
  • The Reunion by Kayla Olson
  • The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren
  • Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez
  • How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black
  • Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
  • My Killer Vacation by Tessa Bailey
  • ‘Tis the Season for Revenge by Morgan Elizabeth
  • Unfortunately Yours by Tessa Bailey
  • Lore Olympus Volume 1 by Rachel Smythe
  • Lore Olympus Volume 3 by Rachel Smythe
  • Love Olympus, Volume 2 by Rachel Smythe
  • Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison
  • Shipwrecked by Olivia Dade
  • The American Roommate Experiment by Elena Armas
  • In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
  • Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood
  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
  • Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim
  • Lore Olympus Volume 4 by Rachel Smythe

What books do you plan to read in 2023?

Most Read Authors in 2022

As 2022 comes to close, I like to reflect on some of my reading stats. One of my favorite reading stats to look at is my most read authors of the year. It is always interesting to see which authors I picked up again and again. This year, my list wasn’t too surprising. I read some series, both contemporary and fantasy, so I expected to see the authors of those series on the list. Here are my most read authors of 2022 from least to most book read:

5. Julia Quinn (2 books)

After the first couple of months of the year, I got into a reading slump. I needed a quick and easy read to get me back into reading. The second season of Bridgerton came out around this time, so I decided to read one of the books in the series. As a result, I reread the third book in the Bridgerton series, An Offer from a Gentleman. I did get into a reading slump a little later in the year and I decided to read this again. An Offer From a Gentleman isn’t my favorite romance book and I think the Benedict in the show is a better character than the one in the books, but it did help me get out of two reading slumps this year.

Books Read: An Offer from a Gentleman (read 2x)

4. Sara Desai (3 books)

I saw Sara Desai’s book on my virtual library and I was instantly drawn to the beautiful covers. These books were easy-to-read and enjoyable contemporary books. I really liked Sara Desai’s writing style and I can definitely see myself picking up more books by her in the future.

Books Read: The Singles Table, The Dating Plan, The Marriage Game

3. Ali Hazelwood (1 book, 3 novellas)

I wasn’t a huge fan of The Love Hypothesis last year, but I decided to pick up Ali Hazelwood’s novellas to see if I would like her other works. After reading three novellas and one novel by Hazelwood this year, she does have a very formulaic writing style with similar plots and characters. That being said, I did enjoy the novellas and her novel released this year, Love on the Brain, more than the first book I read by her because I thought they were a little more quickly paced.

Books Read: Under One Roof, Stuck With You, Below Zero, Love on the Brain

2. Elle Kennedy (5 books)

The Off-Campus and Briar U series are ones that I see recommended a lot for sports romances. Unfortunately for me, this series was hit-or-miss with a lot more misses. Especially as the series went on, the plots were not very strong and they became very repetitive. I tried to read the next book in the second series after The Chase, but no matter how many times I checked it out of the library, I just couldn’t get through it.

Books Read: The Deal, The Goal, The Score, The Mistake, The Chase

1. Sarah J. Maas (11 books)

It definitely didn’t surprise me to see Sarah J. Maas at the top of my list. I read all of the books in the Throne of Glass series this year except for the first one as well as both books in the Crescent City series. Additionally, I did start rereading the ACOTAR series this year. As a result, I read many of her books during the 2023 year. At first, I wasn’t really interested in reading Throne of Glass or Crescent City. I read the first book of Throne of Glass and I wasn’t that motivated to continue in the series and Crescent City didn’t really seem up my alley. However, I am really glad that I gave both series a chance because I did end up liking both of them.

Books Read: House of Earth and Blood, House of Sky and Breath, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Assassin’s Blade, Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn, Kingdom of Ash

Who were some of your most read authors in 2022?

The Brittany Awards: Least Favorite Books of 2022

Welcome to the 2022 Brittany Awards! The Brittany Awards are my end-of-year awards where I talk about my favorite (and sometimes least favorite!) books of the year as well as other bookish topics. The 2022 awards will use the following categories: favorite book covers, least favorite books, favorite books, and my favorite book reviews that I wrote during this year.

This week, I will be discussing some of my leas favorite books of the year. These books were not necessarily published in 2022, but they are from books that I read during the 2022 year. To see my other Brittany Awards posts this year, click the links below.

Now onto my least favorite books of the year, in no particular order:

  • The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle Kennedy

For me, The Off-Campus and Briar U books decline as they continue. I found this to be especially true for The Chase. This was actually the last book that I read by Elle Kennedy this year, I DNF’d the second book in the Briar U soon after this one. With The Chase, I found myself having to push through while reading it. I had to check it out multiple times from the library to finish it. I found many of the characters to be unbelievable, with the cringey scenes and dialogue ramped up even more that the Off-Campus books. As a result, I didn’t not really enjoy reading this book.

  • The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Seigemund-Brocka

I have liked young adult books by this author duo in the past, so I was excited to read their first book categorized as adult. This book is supposed to be a romance, but I didn’t find it romantic at all. There’s a large emphasis that the two main characters have never been in a relationship, so they have never cheated on their respective partners. However, I believe that the two main characters actually engage in a lot of emotional cheating throughout the book, which made me not root for them as a couple.

  • Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter

If I had to pick my least favorite book of the year, it would have to be Mr. Wrong Number. This book came across as very immature with aged up characters to include more intimate scenes. I do like books where the main character is passed off as “quirky” when the character really isn’t quirky, the character just makes a lot of bad decisions. There are a lot of actions that the main character takes in this book that are supposed to come off as humorous, but they just make the main character appear unlikable and childish.

What were your least favorite books of the year?

Books I DNF’d in 2022

While we want to love every book that we pick up, there are some that just aren’t meant for us. Here are five books that I DNF’d during 2022:

  • The Risk (Briar U #2) by Elle Kennedy

The Off-Campus and Briar U series are frequently recommended for hockey romances. For me, this series goes downhill as it continues. While I could power through the first book in the Briar U series, The Chase, I could not say the same for The Risk. I checked The Risk out multiple times from the library, but never made it past the 50% mark. Like many of the other books from the Off-Campus and Briar U series, The Risk is filled with cringey scenes and dialogues. I feel like I may have enjoyed this book, as well as the rest of the series, more if I read it when it was released and I was younger. Now, I cannot see myself finishing this series.

  • These Hollow Vows by Lexie Ryan

I had These Hollow Vows on my TBR for awhile and decided to read it when it became available in my library. This is another case where I think that I would have enjoyed this book if I was younger. I think These Hollow Vows was actually a decent story, for as much as I read, but it definitely has a very young adult fantasy feel. I have seen a lot of the tropes in this book, as well as the world building, done in other books, so it was a little too similar to other books that I’ve read. However, if I had read this book when I was a young adult, I think I probably would have finished it and read the next book in the duology.

  • Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren’s books are hit or miss for me. I have found this to be especially true for Christina Lauren’s later works, which stray a little from complete romance. I found this to be especially true with Something Wilder. From the description and cover, I expected a second chance romance. However, there is a situation in the book which is completely unexpected and completely changes the tone of the book. In fact, it really sucked all of the romance out of the book for me and made me incredibly anxious. After this event occurred in the novel, I didn’t feel like continuing because I was in the mood to read a romance when I picked up this book, rather than what it become in the novel.

  • A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

This series is frequently recommended online for readers who like fantasy romance. I read another book by Scarlett St. Clair earlier this year, and while it isn’t one of my favorite novels of the year, it was very entertaining. I checked A Touch of Darkness out of a few times because the description sounded exactly like something I would like. However, I could not get into the writing at the beginning, which made it not fun for me to read.

  • To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn

I had read the first four books in the Bridgerton series and wanted to finish the books which focused on the rest of the siblings. However, I could not get past the first few chapters of To Sir Phillip, With Love. I just found myself incredibly bored with the plot and the repetitiveness of the Bridgerton novels.As of right now, I cannot see myself continuing on with the rest of the novels. However, I do plan on continuing to watch the Netflix series.

What books did you DNF in 2022?