Getting an early copy of one of my most anticipated books of the year was such a joy. It was a book that I had to read as soon as I could get my hands on it and would have read in one sitting if I’d had the time. So I just read it in two instead. Considering that this book has 511 pages, that’s pretty impressive for me.
This is the first book in a new trilogy by Laura Sebastian. I loved her Ash Princess trilogy and also have a copy of Half Sick of Shadows to read at some point. I adore all her work and let me tell you, this book is definitely worth reading.
Castles In Their Bones follows three princesses: Daphne, Beatriz and Sophronia. They were raised by their mother to marry into specific countries, to lead them to war. Empress Margaraux wished on a star to have her daughters, and she trained them to bring down the other monarchies. Separated for the first time in their lives, the princesses all learn more about themselves and the very countries they’re supposed to bring down.
So this is a very political court fantasy, and I love that. You follow three princesses who are getting used to new courts and are plotting treason. Following all three characters meant that the reader learns about and experiences these different countries and courts. Each felt very different, and the political situations were too. I will say that only one of the characters actually has any political say and makes a change in her country, and she was actually my favourite. I loved seeing this timid character come into her own and change the situation as she thought that was the right thing to do.
I did like all three characters, but I found that I liked Daphne the least. Ironically though, I enjoyed her romance best. I love to have some fighting and banter before the romance happens, and I certainly got that with her and Bairre. They were so much fun, and I look forward to seeing them in the next book. I don’t usually use quotes in reviews, but since I have a finished copy to share from, I just have to:
“If you’re hoping to kill me, you need to work on your aim.”
“If I were hoping to kill you,” she tells him, nocking another arrow, “poison would be far less conspicuous. Less messy too.”Castles In Their Bones – Laura Sebastian (pg.267)
Sebastian actually shared this quote on her Twitter a while ago, and it was the quote that made me excited for this book. This chemistry is just everything I need, and I love it so much.
The magic system in this book is pretty interesting. All these cultures worship the stars, and certain people can pull the stars to earth by simply making a wish at night. The stars can be pulled down for others to wish on the stardust too, and it’s considered pretty powerful magic. This isn’t something I’ve really seen in a fantasy novel before, and I liked it. We don’t get to see much of the magic used in this book, but it did make for an interesting religious culture across all four countries. I’m hoping in the next book we’ll get to explore the magic system more, but consider me fascinated.
I adored this book so much, and I cannot wait until next year to get the second. Especially not after that ending. Oh boy…I really need to find out what happens now. Sebastian really knows how to write a good political fantasy, and this one packs a punch with intriguing magic systems and decent action too.
This is going to be a series that I’m obsessed with, and I’m pretty sure that almost every one of you will be too.
Title: Castles In Their Bones
Author: Laura Sebastian
Age Range: Young Adult
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: 1/2/22