Eager for a new Young Adult fantasy series full of courtly intrigue, star-wished magic, and a dash of romance? Look no further than Laura Sebastian’s Castles in Their Bones. Sebastian, best known for her Ash Princess series, has created a new world for readers to get lost in.
The Empress Margaraux of Bessemia has been playing the long game. She’s raised her three triplets; Daphne, Beatriz, and Sophronia, with one goal in mind: to infiltrate the three other kingdoms and return the continent to a united land. One that she would rule, of course. Margaraux has educated her three daughters to know everything there is about poisons, lock picking, combat, secret codes, and the skills of seduction to achieve her ambitions. Each sister is engaged to the neighboring prince or king and the Empress finally has her plans set into motion when she sends her three weapons off to be wed after their sixteenth birthday.
One cannot be soft and wear a crown… or one will be crushed beneath its weight.Laura Sebastian, Castles in Their Bones
Daphne is sent to Friv to wed their prince, a cold and unstable kingdom that reminds readers of the wild Scottish Highlands. Daphne is her mother’s blade, and she feels confident she will have the kingdom of Friv in a further state of unrest far before the year-long deadline her mother has set. Daphne is confident, but unaware another faction is lying in wait and ready to claim Friv as their own.
Beatriz goes to tropical Cellaria and is betrothed to their crown Prince Pasquale. She excels in the art of seduction, but feels put to the test upon arrival when Pasquale’s father, King Casare, exhibits erratic behavior. She leads a precarious double life, as the magic she’s grown up with is absolutely forbidden in her new home. Beatriz has been trained all her life to accomplish her mother’s goals, but walking the tightrope of lies is harder than she ever imagined.
Sophronia arrives in Temarin already feeling connected to the king she is set to wed after years of exchanging letters. She has always felt like the weakest link of the trio, with more emotion and conflict swirling in her than her sisters. Will she be able to overcome her conscience and deceive the man she cares about to fulfill her mother’s plans for instability and invasion?
Castles in Their Bones excels with alternating points-of-view. Each sister has her own distinct voice and Sebastian, especially at the end, plays with the order and timing of their chapters to increase tension in a way readers will find enthralling and heart-stopping. There were many storylines and plots to keep straight, but they all have one goal in mind: exacting Empress Margaraux’s will upon the rest of the kingdoms. Laura Sebastian has clearly chosen a take-no-prisoners attitude, and it elevates the stakes and pressure the characters are under to fulfill their missions. Each sister experiences a different type of love, and it is to Sebastian’s credit that the three alternating types of love stories all carry weight and the reader’s interest throughout the book. As motivations and twists are revealed, readers will be left reeling and eagerly awaiting the second book in the series to see what happens.
Castles in Their Bones is available for purchase today at your local independent bookstore or anywhere fine books are sold.