SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers for Castles in Their Bones, the first book in the series.
Raised to be weapons for their mother to use against neighboring kingdoms, triplet princesses Daphne, Beatriz, and Sophronia have lost their faith in the plan – and in the end, her defiance costs Sophronia her life. Beatriz and Daphne might have a chance still, but only if they can unite forces.
Castles in Their Bones ended with such a twist that I found myself in shock, unable to believe that what I had read had actually happened – so of course I immediately had to read the sequel, at the very least to find out how Beatriz and Daphne would react to their sister’s death and the revelation that their mother had always been lying to them.
Though Sophronia, my favorite character, is gone, the introduction of Violie as the third narrator and the progression of Beatriz and Daphne’s character arcs and how they are shaped by their grief over Sophronia’s death kept me invested. I was surprised and pleased by the direction that the plot progressed and how characters from different storylines began to link up and affect each other. It was also interesting to learn more about the magic system alongside Beatriz, as the author filled in a lot of gaps that are elided over in the first book, as well as hinting at broader problems beyond the political ones with Empress Margaraux.
However, this book definitely suffers from second book syndrome. We get characters moving around a lot and a fair amount of plotting and intriguing on the part of our heroines, but plot towards the middle of the book especially becomes slightly threadbare. I am very excited for how things are set-up for the third book, but I could have done with more action in this one! I also felt that secondary characters rather faded into the background, especially Pasquale and Ambrose who are mostly around to provide support to Beatriz and do little else.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.