The plot has officially arrived, and while it felt sort of meandering and messy, at least things were happening. After Beltane, the three Queens of Fennbirn are officially free to murder one another, and the last Queen standing takes the throne. If they haven’t killed each other by the end of the year, they will be locked in “the Tower” and forced to fight to the death.
1. There was still too much love drama. Blake backed off a bit on the love quintangle of doom, but the effects of stuff that happened last book were still being felt, so it didn’t disappear completely.
2. I still didn’t get enough worldbuilding. There are two more books where info could be parceled out, so again, I will wait to judge on this one.
3. The book was too long. Almost 500 pages, and didn’t need to be. 400 would have been a better number, and would have forced her to get to the heart of the story.
4. The relationship between the sisters is still the most intriguing part of the book, but some of that is ruined by Katharine becoming a full-on psychopath for most of the book. SPOILERS She comes back unrecognizable from being thrown down the Breccia Domain (for a stupid reason, might I add), and you have to put up with this new, bloodthirsty, emotionally impenetrable narrator for most of the book before you realize she’s been possessed by the dead queens. I don’t know, I think I was supposed to get some readerly thrill from her bloodthirstiness, but I just found it irritating. And her obsession with eating the poisons despite them hurting her was just unbearable. What a stupid thing for a character to do. I did think it was a nice touch, though, what happened to Nikolas Martel at the end, with her unwittingly poisoning him because her body is so riddled with the stuff END SPOILERS.
5. Why has no one put it together that SPOILERS Katharine is a naturalist? Not one person who knows Arsinoe is actually a poisoner has thought to wonder if the girls were simply switched? Why are they all assuming there are two poisoners? END SPOILERS
6. Madrigal is also still irritating. I wish there were less characters. There just isn’t enough room for all of them to get fleshed out properly. A character like Madrigal might have been really interesting if she also weren’t fighting for space with Elizabeth and Bree and Natalia and Genevieve, none of whom I know much about at all, and who just take up space.
7. I greatly enjoyed Braddock the Bear, but I am slightly confused as to why no one could control him last book and suddenly this book he’s as tame as a kitten.