Book Reviews, Middle Grade

Review: The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis


Cordelia and her triplets Rosalind and Giles have lived safely in the castle at the centre of the forest all their lives, protected by the spells their mother has woven. The only time Cordelia feels truly free is when she turns into a dragonfly or a blackbird and can fly beyond the great stone walls. But then one day the outside world comes to them. Two rival dukes and their soldiers have come for the triplets – because whoever is the eldest is the heir to the throne.

But their mother knows that since the Raven Crown was broken, no one has been able to rule the kingdom of Corvenne and live, and she will not give up any of her children to that death sentence. When she refuses to reveal which child is the eldest, she is taken prisoner, and Cordelia and her brother and sister find themselves on the run in a dangerous new world. And as they set out across Corvenne to rescue their mother, Cordelia begins to see that there is a deep magic at work, driving her towards a destiny that could tear her family apart, take away her freedom forever or, just maybe, heal a kingdom devastated by a war that has raged for generations.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Raven Heir is a really fun new middle-grade fantasy adventure full of magic, sibling banter, and long-kept secrets. The cover alone captivated me, with it’s beautiful colours and tantalising background of mountains and castles, and I was intrigued by the premise, which is different to a lot of other middle-grade stories I’ve read. And I really liked the idea of triplet characters – twins are quite prevalent in literature, but it’s quite rare to get anything beyond that.

As I started reading the book I learnt that, as well as her triplet siblings, Cordelia has an older brother, and that made me really happy as well! I’m the oldest sister of quadruplets, and so I really liked seeing myself reflected in the character of Connall, even if he had quite a minor role, and I definitely appreciated the family dynamics that Burgis fits in amidst all the other chaos happening.

Cordelia, the main character, loves her family, but she’s always felt a strong tug deep within her that calls her beyond the walls of her mother’s castle, and it takes all of her energy to stop herself from launching to the skies as a bird, or scurrying off as a fox to find freedom, and answers to the questions her mother refuses to answer, about their past and the outside world. But one day, an army presents itself at their door, demanding the heir to the Raven Throne, yet Cordelia’s mother still refuses to reveal the meaning of those words, and so Cordelia flies off, which leads her mother and older brother to be captures, and the triplets alone in the wild, alone for the first time.

From here, the siblings must evade those hunting for them, as some of the Dukes want to place one of them on the throne to use as puppets, while the others want to kill them and plant their own heir to gain power, and Cordelia discovers the location of the Raven Crown, broken and abandoned after the rulers broke their covenant with the earth. To stop the war and save their mother, the triplets will have to find the crown and reunite its pieces, but Cordelia learns other secrets about herself that she can’t bear to tell Rosalind or Giles, and the tension between them builds along with the danger.

It was a touching story, and it gripped me from beginning to end. I think any child looking for a new adventure will love this, and the fact that it’s the start of a new series means there’s more fun to come!

Book Info

Published: 5th August 2021 by Bloomsbury
Genre: fantasy, middle grade
Pages: 272
Series: The Raven Crown, book one
Narration style: third person, single point of view
Format read: eARC

3 thoughts on “Review: The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis”

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