This weekend I’m excited to be part of the TBR and Beyond Tours book tour for CASTLES IN THEIR BONES by Laura Sebastian, a spellbinding story of three princesses and the destiny they were born for: seduction, conquest, and the crown. Make sure to head check out the other stops on the tour, and read on for my review and favorite quotes, as well as links to buy your own copy!
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?
Even back when I was in High School, I always loved YA fantasies about royals, and Castles in their Bones is one of the more unique and captivating ones that I’ve read. I really enjoyed getting to read from the perspective of each sister, and one of the aspects I really loved was the different setting for each Princess in their respective new country (my favorite was the Scotland-inspired Friv).
“We’re three stars of the same constellation. Distance won’t change that.”This was one of my favorite quotes because of how it represents the relationship between the three sisters: connected by a force beyond understanding, even when things would threaten that bond.
It really felt to me that each of the three sisters had fleshed out personalities and motivations that had me rooting for them all, even when they weren’t always necessarily on the same side. There’s a super interesting portrayal of sibling relationships, familial relationships, and romantic relationships with all of the different characters and I loved how that was enmeshed within the larger plot.
“You wish to appear smaller?” she asks, shaking her head. “You are a queen. Why shouldn’t you take up every bit of space you deserve?”While I loved all three sisters, Sophronia kind of stole my heart just a little bit more, and I loved watching her journey as she learns to use her power and trust in herself.
Speaking of–the plot! While this was a chonky book, and there was a lot to get through, I was really drawn into the politics of the world, and by the end I was Stressed. While some of the plot points were more predictable, there were a few plot twists (especially the ending) that I REALLY did not see coming, and that made me so excited for the books to come in this series.
“It’s always easier to love people who need us than people we need, I think. Being needed makes one powerful. Needing, though, makes one vulnerable.”Romance…when you’re out to betray and out to rule…it can be a messy thing, folks!
All in all, this was a compelling and entertaining novel, and I really liked the nuance Sebastian brought to a specific style of YA book, bringing it to life in a new way that really captured me. Badass royals, sensitive royals, sneaky royals, and so many conversations about the different ways women can exercise power that resulted in a fascinating book.
“You took enough control to write the tale of your life. I commend you for that, I do, but the tale you’ve crafted for yourself is a tragedy.”And with THAT ending…this last quote from the ending of the book…once you read you’ll understand why I was screaming!!!!
Laura Sebastian was born and raised in South Florida and has always loved telling stories–many apologies to her little brother who often got in trouble because of them. She got her BFA in Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design before realizing she preferred the other side of storytelling.
When Laura isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, cooking/baking, or buying more clothes than her overstuffed closet can fit. She currently lives in London with her two dogs, Neville and Circe.
Her NYT bestselling series, Ash Princess, is out now from Delacorte, along with her debut adult fantasy book, Half Sick of Shadows.