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The Heir Review

Described as a gender-bent Hades and Persephone retelling, The Heir is the first book in a new high fantasy trilogy.


Rating: 3.5/5

Three rulers.

Two sides.

One plot for revenge.

Welcome to the Kingdom of Lavdia.


In a village all but forgotten by the country’s rulers, Finn leads two lives. One of a simple country doctor, and the other of a smuggler with cargo of a rare variety: Wielders, a nearly extinct race of people born with the ability to control Magic. With their rights being threatened by the very people in power meant to protect them, the Wielders see Finn as their last chance for a better life. But when Finn is abducted and blackmailed into the service of a vengeful royal, his loyalty, and his heart, will be put to the ultimate test.


On a throne miles away, Andromeda, selected at birth to inherit the role of Mother Queen and continue her family’s royal line, has waited years for her chance to exact revenge on those who stole her freedom and tore her family apart. But she can’t do it alone. With the help of a handsome and intriguing young doctor, she will right the wrongs committed against her, and forge a path of a most gloriously scarlet retribution.


With the fate of their kingdom hanging in the balance, these two unlikely allies must navigate an intricate web of political rivalries and long-buried secrets in order to achieve their goals. But as hidden plots unfold and the true rot at the heart of the country is revealed, what starts as a quest for justice spirals into a desperate game of survival.

 

Content Warning: depression, self-harm, death, rape, abuse, suicidal thoughts and ideation.


I received a copy of The Heir from the author, Benét Stoen herself. In return for an honest review. Thank you so much for this opportunity! All thoughts are my own.


Described as a gender-bent Hades and Persephone retelling, The Heir is the first book in a new high fantasy trilogy. We follow a physician, Finn who is abducted from his home and blackmailed to become the personal physician to one of the three Queens, the Mother Queen, Andromeda, whose young, moody, and ill-tempered. Andromeda needs Finn’s help removing her sister’s husband from power as she believes he’s poisoning her sister to take over the kingdom. As the two work together they become unlikely allies placing trust in one another to save their kingdom.


This was a unique high fantasy read, not like something I’ve read before. Despite being fantasy, this is filled with several dark and intense themes. Including several that could be triggering for some ~ depression, self-harm, death, rape, abuse, suicidal thoughts and ideation.


This was a unique high fantasy read, not like something I’ve read before.

I found this to be captivating as we got to know our main characters especially our Mother Queen, Andromeda. She was such a fascinating character filled with callous determination. She was one bad bitch, not willing to let anything ruin her plan. But deep down, she’s got a complex personality filled with sorrow. And we get to see Finn break down the walls Andromeda has built around her the more time they spend together trying to save their kingdom.


She was such a fascinating character filled with callous determination. She was one bad bitch...

I really admired Finn, despite being ripped from his home and blackmailed to stay there and service Andromeda. He took his role as her personal physician seriously and grew to truly care for her well-being, willing to do anything for her.


Besides this Hades-Persephone love story trope, we also see our two main characters are fighting to save the kingdom from a corrupt leader set on removing magic from their world. And it's this part of the plot that I struggled to enjoy. I felt there were several avenues missed, lacking details.


I felt there were several avenues missed, lacking details.

Magic is an extremely big aspect within our story, but we’re never properly introduced to it. It felt as if it was there but only in the background especially as we focus most of our attention on the love birds. Don’t get me wrong I truly enjoyed following them. But I felt as confused as Finn was as to why he was abducted to work in the castle. What is going on here? And while we learn a lot about the politics within the royal kingdom, I felt we missed a lot of the world-building for this high fantasy universe as we never properly get to know the details beyond the basics, especially around magic.


Magic is an extremely big aspect within our story, but we’re never properly introduced to it.

Even though this is the beginning of a series and is addressed as such, so you know there’s more to come, I feel like adding these details later simply won’t have the same impact as learning them in this first book. Usually, in a series, while small reminders are nice to have, I personally don’t enjoy lots of world-building after that first book as I should have learned most of everything I needed to know to understand the world within the first book. And as I’m sure with this sequel, we’ll be focusing on the events that are set to occur after everything that’s happened within this first book. Which doesn’t leave a whole lot of room to go back and fill in all these gaps. Especially after that cliffhanger of an ending!


You know those TV series season finale episodes where you don’t know the fate of some of your characters? That is where we are at. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED! You can’t just end it like that! You evil, evil person.


While I have my speculations of what could happen next, I don’t know for certain. And I won’t know until that damn sequel comes out. But just know, I AM DEVASTED by this ending. I wholeheartedly plan on continuing this series, if you can’t already tell, I’m dying to know what happens next. What’s next for these love birds?


I AM DEVASTED by this ending. I wholeheartedly plan on continuing this series...

Overall, while I didn’t love everything within this unique Hades and Persephone retelling, I fully intend to read the sequel. I was captivated by our cold-hearted Queen and our caring physician. I found this to be an addicting dark fantasy that I can see several others enjoying as well.


But please keep in mind, this is not for the faint of heart. This is filled with several dark and intense themes that can be uncomfortable and triggering for some.