Addictive and atmospheric, this YA standalone fantasy will have you reading “just one more chapter.”
Maralyth Graylaern loves growing up on her father’s vineyards, with one not so minor gripe: she’s been relegated (out of sight) to the sidelines (mostly to the kitchen). Alac Thungrave is the spare prince. Meaning, he’s heir to the throne only if something were to happen to his older brother — and doesn’t anyone ever let him forget it.
When Mara is kidnapped (by a shady Lord), she discovers that she’s a true descendant to the throne of Perin Faye. Coerced (by said shady Lord), Mara joins a bloodthirsty plot to overthrow the king, her path setting her on a deadly collision course with Alac — because to claim her birthright, Alac and his family must die.
Told in alternating chapters and POVs, The Stolen Kingdom quickly draws readers into the very different struggles Mara and Alac face — life on a vineyard vs. a castle; a girl forced to hide her magic vs. a spare heir who despises his family’s stolen magic.
Mara (with her innate magic) is the rightful heir to the throne, but Alac’s claim is the more obvious one — after all, his family has ruled Perin Faye (with dark, aka “stolen magic”) for generations. Though their motivation to fight for the crown comes from different places, Mara and Alac love their kingdom and hate the devastation that dark magic has wrought. Their hearts are in the right place, and I love that — YA fic with TWO teens with good hearts! That’s not to say that mistakes aren’t made (and lives lost) and the morally gray isn’t explored (it is!). The Stolen Kingdom has layers of intrigue and complexity.
There are too few standalone fantasy reads out there if you ask me, and The Stolen Kingdom is a great addition to my list of favorites that includes Sorcery of Thorns.
Book: The Stolen Kingdom
Published: Tor Teen
Publication Date: March 2nd, 2021
Age Range: 13 – 18
Tor Teen kindly sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion, rating, or the content of my review.