Book Reviews

Blog Tour: The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis

You might recognise this book from the cover reveal I did back in March, but I’m happy to be on the blog tour too, so I’m bringing you my full review!

Book: The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis

Publication date: 5th August 2021

Ownership: Review copy sent free of charge by Bloomsbury Kids. All opinions my own.


Cordelia, Rosalind and Giles. They have lived in the tower all their lives, protected by their mother’s enchantments. Only Cordelia’s magic lets her steal moments of freedom – over the walls in the shape of a bird or beneath them as a scurrying mouse. The eldest of the three is heir to the Raven Throne of Corvenne – a land no one can rule for long and hope to live. Only their mother knows which is the true heir, and she will do anything to keep them hidden. But one day, thanks to Cordelia, destiny finds them.

The Raven Heir is an unbelievably epic new middle-grade fantasy. With incredible shapeshifting magic and unforgettable characters, readers will be hooked from the first page.

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Stephanie Burgis. Her stories just seem to tick every box for me, whether that’s feminist Regency fantasy romance, or dragons who love chocolate, or plucky girls learning that self-confidence is every bit as powerful as magic. The Raven Heir is pretty different from anything else she’s written, with its Tudor-inspired world and epic scope, but it’s just as gorgeous, and is sure to hit that comfort-read spot. If you’re in the mood for something that brims with magic and excitement, but never forgets its heart, this will be perfect for you.

Cordelia, our main character, is exactly the kind of middle grade heroine I love – capable and rebellious, with just enough mischief to be likeable. She struggles with the frustrations of being too young to do what she wants, and feeling trapped by the closeness of her family, but when things go wrong and she loses that safety net, she realises that perhaps the alternative is worse, and will fight through anything to get it back. I loved seeing her reluctantly take up the reins of responsibility to save her family, and thought she came across perfectly as a naive, but intelligent, twelve year old – I know that I would have fallen utterly in love with her as a child, and I suspect she would have been added to the ‘heroines who make up my personality’ box along with Alanna the Lioness, Chief-Cook-and-Librarian Cimorene, and Sophie Hatter. All of the sibling relationships are marvellously, realistically drawn, and I also loved her relationship with her mother (who was also a favourite character of mine – the depiction of motherhood in this book is beautiful and spot-on).

There are so many things about The Raven Heir that feel like they were designed to appeal to me personally. I loved the magic – Cordelia’s shapeshifting is the most dramatic, and it’s beautifully described, but there are also many magical elements woven into the world that feel natural and special at the same time. And the politics are really well done – realistically complex, but not confusing for the age of the intended audience. I can’t wait to see more of both in the sequel, The Raven Throne. These epic elements, combined with the seriously entertaining quest through the forest, are sure to satisfy those who want a really classic fantasy feel – I think it’s quite unusual among the current crop of middle grade fantasy for being entirely second-world, and taking itself a little more seriously. The result is something that feels fresh and classic at the same time.

This is pitch-perfect kids’ fantasy, and another triumph from Steph. I can’t recommend it enough – five out of five (shapeshifting?) cats!

3 thoughts on “Blog Tour: The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis

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