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  • Writer's pictureKori

The Prisoner's Throne Book Review

You may or may not know that I'm just a tad obsessed with Holly Black's world of Elfhame. Her latest novel, The Prisoner's Throne, is the finale in the spinoff duology that follows Prince Oak and Suren. It was one of my most-anticipated reads of the year, and I'm glad to say it did not disappoint.


Pssst! This post contains minor spoilers for book one. If you haven't read it yet, beware. If you want check out my review for book one, you can do so here.



The Prisoner's Throne Holly Black Book Review Coffee Book and Candle


Genre: YA Fantasy


Category: Epic Read

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Rating: 5/5 Stars

Plot: 5/5 stars

Characters: 5/5 stars

World: 5/5 stars



 

An imprisoned prince. A vengeful queen. And a battle that will determine the future of Elfhame.

 

PLOT


Her gaze locks with his, and he can feel the frisson of something between them. Something that might well be terrible, but that he wants more of all the same.

Oak's actions in The Stolen Heir have landed him on thin ice—and the Ice Needle Citadle's dungeons. Though he knows he deserves his punishment, he also knows his imprisonment could pit Wren against the full might of Elfhame's army, not to mention his sister's wrath.


Despite being the High Queen of Elfhame, with an army at her disposal and dozens of Courts at her command, she still acted as though she'd have to handle every problem herself—and that each one would be best solved through murder.

Desperate to protect those he loves, Oak must figure out how to prevent a war, stop a conspiracy, and win back Wren's trust. But is it possible to save everyone without someone getting hurt?





As their homes and armies collide, we're reunited with beloved faces, making this a fun, epic conclusion to Wren and Oak’s story, as well as a nice segue into the next chapter Holly Black has in store for us. Frankly, I can’t wait to see where it goes. I can’t get enough of Elfhame or her characters.



CHARACTERS


While the plot itself is exciting, I loved the personal journeys both characters were on. The friends-to-enemies-to-lovers dynamic was *chef's kiss*.


"What do you want?" he asks, voice soft.
"Everything. Charm me. Rip me open. Ruin me."


“I adore you. I want to play games with you. I want to tell you all the truths I have to give. And if you really think you’re a monster, then let’s be monsters together.”

After learning the truth of her past and inheriting powers she doesn't fully comprehend—as well as a throne—Wren is out of her depth. Oak, on the other hand, has been protected his whole life (perhaps overly so), and it's starting to chafe. He's ready to show everyone how much he's grown by taking responsibility for his mistakes and saving both kingdoms. Watching the two grow as individuals and find their way back to each other was heartwarming, if a bit scary at times.


I'm glad this story is told from Oak’s POV; while I enjoyed not knowing if I could trust him or not in the last installment, I loved getting a sense for who he is and connecting with his character more deeply. Though at times, I wished for Wren's POV to illustrate her own internal struggle.



WORLD


While The Stolen Heir follows Oak and Wren on a quest in lands unexplored, The Prisoner’s Throne finds them back in familiar territory: the Shifting Isles of Elfhame. As you might expect from a story based in a fae kingdom, there’s plenty of revelry, manipulation, courtly intrigue, mistrust, and betrayal.


Here you'll journey to the deadly, wintery environs of the Court of Teeth; a dangerous sea; the Court of Elfhame; the Mandrake Market; and more.



IN CONCLUSION


Unsurprisingly, The Prisoner's Throne became one of my top reads of the year. Returning to Elfhame was a breath of fresh air after wading through so many disappointing reads. This duology, and its parent series, are some of the few hyped books that deserve praise. If you love fantasy adventures with a splash of romance, faerie realms, magic, bargains, courtly intrigue, or complicated characters, I can't recommend this series enough.


Thanks for stopping by to witness my fangirling! If you want to be notified of future reviews and posts, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on social media. You can find us on bookstagram, threads, and Twitter.

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