Daphne understands, suddenly, exactly what she is – not a girl, not a princess, not a spy or a saboteur. She is a poison, brewed and distilled and fermented over sixteen years, crafted by her mother to bring ruination to whomever she touches.
Beatriz, Daphne, and Sophronia have been raised since birth to wed into the royal families of their neighboring countries – and then sow discord to bring them under their mother’s control. But the triplets find that when their loyalties are tested, it is hard to stay true to that vision.
One thing I often complain about in YA fantasy books is that the stories are too simple, the characters too cookie-cutter, the romance too overpowering. Perhaps it has turned me unfairly against them, because there are definite stand-outs in the genre as well, and Castles in Their Bones is one of them.
Despite juggling three storylines, each with their own characters and plots, the author does a good job of keeping everything both distinct and engaging. The relationships between Beatriz, Sophronia, and Daphne and their mother were quite interesting and showed the real variance in their natures. I also enjoyed the various friendships that the princesses developed – especially that between Beatriz and Pas, as well as Sophronia and Violie – and how those influenced their plots.
A moment of whole-hearted appreciation, also, for how the romance was handled. I love romance but dislike when it gets in the way of the story in books where the story really ought to be the focus. Therefore, I was really pleased with how the romance was handled here. It’s present in every storyline, but is used as a subtle flavor that enhances the plot instead of overpowering the dish.
However, while I did think the political machinations were definitely more complex than one generally gets in YA fantasy, I thought the princesses did a fair amount of blundering with their schemes – but despite being raised as weapons, I suppose they are still sixteen after all. The plethora of twists at the end of the book did have me on the edge of my seat though – and I am definitely going to be reading the next book in this series!
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.