This is another book that I was luckily given an eARC through NetGalley. This book intrigued me for two reasons; 1.) The cover. I’m not usually a fan of realistic people on book covers, but this one is just so pretty, 2.) The idea of triplet princesses who were trained since birth to bring down other monarchies so their own mother could rule over the entire continent was just too appealing to miss out on.
I was so excited to read this book, but did it live up to my expectations?
Let’s jump straight into the review because I have a few things I want to say about this book.
(Spoiler Warning!! Please be warned that I allude to some of the unexpected twists in the book, so please stop reading here if you do not want to get spoiled. Feel free to come back once you’ve read the book though!)
Castles in Their Bones
by Laura Sebastian
Edition: Hardcover, 514 pages
Publication Date: February 1st 2022 by Delacorte Press
ISBN: 0593118162 (ISBN13: 9780593118160)
Series: Castles in their Bones #1
A spellbinding story of three princesses and the destiny they were born for: seduction, conquest, and the crown. Immerse yourself in the first book in a new fantasy trilogy from the author of the New York Times bestselling Ash Princess series.
Empress Margaraux has had plans for her daughters since the day they were born. Princesses Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz will be queens. And now, age sixteen, they each must leave their homeland and marry their princes.
Beautiful, smart, and demure, the triplets appear to be the perfect brides—because Margaraux knows there is one common truth: everyone underestimates a girl. Which is a grave mistake. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz are no innocents. They have been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence with a singular goal—to bring down monarchies— and their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria.
The princesses have spent their lives preparing, and now they are ready, each with her own secret skill, and each with a single wish, pulled from the stars. Only, the stars have their own plans—and their mother hasn’t told them all of hers.
Life abroad is a test. Will their loyalties stay true? Or will they learn that they can’t trust anyone—not even each other?
(Last Spoiler Warning!)
I’m here because I want to be. Because you are lightning– terrifying and beautiful and dangerous and bright all at once. And I wouldn’t wish you were anything else.”pg 429
“Castle in their bones” by Lauren Sebastian is the first book to an ongoing series that tells the tale of three princesses who were raised to learn the art of deception, seduction, and violence all for one goal– to bring down the monarchies so their mother can rule the entire continent. Each princess has a duty to marry a prince, preform their individual responsibilities and ; all this so that their mother reign over the land. This book is about princesses who do more than wear a crown, unexpected romances, and the ultimate question of where our true loyalties lie.
First of all, can we talk about how stunning the cover is? I am usually not the biggest fan of realistic looking people on the front cover, but there’s something about how whimsical and regal the cover appears that I don’t mind it. This book is told in three POV’s, one for each princess, and each chapter is relatively short as it follows each of the princesses’ try to complete their individual missions to overthrow the monarchies that they’ve been married into. Each chapter is just as exciting as the previous one, with the story moving quite quickly throughout the book. I managed to finish this book in one sitting because I just had to find out what happens at the end.
The characters are fairly well-written, with each other princesses given a distinct personality and charm. Daphne is the daughter that is the most like their mother; cunning, smart and has a knack for archery and poisons. She’s the daughter who yearns the most for their mother’s approval. Beatriz is the more rebellious sister. Her charming looks and bold personality have been known to get her whatever she wants whenever she pleases. The last sister is Sophie. Although the princesses are triplets, Sophie seems like the youngest among the three simply because she’s the more empathetic, sweet, and is the only sister who seems to have harboured some feelings for her pre-arranged royal spouse. However, her naturally kind-hearted nature is seen as a failure to their cold-hearted mother. The chapters alternate between the sisters, following them as they complete their set duties. The shifting between the sisters’ perspectives keeps the story interesting and heightens the anticipation when one chapter ends on a cliffhanger, but then next chapter focuses on another sister.
There is quite a big cast of characters to keep track of in this book as the sisters encounter lots of new faces (some good, some not so good!). I loved how all the characters were all key elements of the narrative, and they weren’t just introduced out of the blue only for us to never hear of them again. It is worth keeping track of every character because they do contribute to the overall plot of this book– so make sure to pay attention to all the characters, even the unexpected ones. I also really loved how the sister’s real missions weren’t revealed until the later part of the book, and I loved the fact that we got to find out about things alongside the characters, it really raised the tension and anticipation for what’s to come. There is some LGBTQ+ representation in this book, with one of the characters admitting to being gay. Unfortunately it’s not a major storyline so I do hope we get to see more of this character in the next book because I am curious to see how their story evolves.
Everything about this book was so charming– from the world-building, the Kingdoms, the political elements etc. It was like straight out of a fairytale but with badass women who don’t need saving. t’s one of those books that you can get lost in despite the fact that there is nothing too complicated or fancy about the setting. The main focus of the book is on the characters and the plot; hence, why there’s no need to stress about memorising intricate names or titles , which I greatly appreciate. The romance subplot was also really amazing (literally had me squealing like a weirdo at some parts) and well-written. It did not take away from the main plot, in fact, it actually enhanced it in my opinion.
One of my favourite tropes in fantasy books is the betrayal trope– especially when it’s done by an unexpected character (or one that you were starting to love!!!!). This kind of plot twist is sometimes difficult to execute when the betrayal is done by a character that readers do not care about or have not formed any sort of attachment to. It’s like an “okay. And what about it?” kind of moment. It’s so much for impactful when the characters and the readers both feel the betrayal. However, when it’s done correctly, emotional damage can be done (which is what happened with Me and this damn book). I remember gasping and nearly flying out of my bed in shock when it was revealed that Nick and Giselle were going against them. I literally had to take a second to pause before continuing.
Now, don’t even get me started on the last couple of chapters and the ENDING. After reading the last line of the book, I literally sat there and had to rethink everything I had just read– it was that impactful.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be here desperately waiting for the next book
What are some of your favourite tropes?
Let me know in the comments below!
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