Publication Date: September 20th, 2016
Every generation, the queen bears triplets - all girls. Katharine, the poisoner with a stomach of iron. Mirabella, the elemental who control storms like breathing. Arsinoe, the naturalist who brings nature to life and controls the fiercest of animals.
But to be queen, the girls have to fight for the throne. One will have to kill the other two. On the night of their sixteenth birthday, the fight begins.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Date Read: January 8, 2018
I heard a lot of hype around this book, and the idea of three sisters trying to kill each other really appealed to me, so I knew I had to pick this up when I saw it at the library.
The beginning of the book was not quite what I expected, but I soon grew to understand the world. It's not an easy thing to write from multiple POVs in different locations, all leading to one great event that will change everything. While there were a couple of times when I had trouble telling the voices apart, I generally had a good grasp of who was talking and where we were.
There are a decently large cast of characters, of which we see at least 6-7 different POVs. If you're not careful, it's easy to lose track of some of the minor characters, as they don't appear much and take a few pages to remember. However, Kendare Blake is careful to give us helpful prompts whenever we start to feel like we can't remember someone.
I read the entire 398 page book in three days. Partly because it was due back at the library the day before I went back to college, but also because I was having a really good time reading it. I enjoyed myself greatly throughout the book, and wished that I had the sequel to pick up soon. Unfortunately, by the time I got to the end of the book, I was out of the fantasy mood and told myself that I would pick up the sequel later in the semester.
Of all the romances in the book, I really only enjoyed one of them. It was easy for me to say that the rest felt lack-luster compared to my OTP, but also, I just didn't care as much for some of the other love interests. Yes, there is a pretty heavy undertone of romance in the book, but it does a good job of moving the plot forward instead of just being the mushy-lovey part of the book.
The book has a pretty slow build, all the way to the climax. While this isn't the longest book I've read, it felt slower than some books that exceed 500-600 pages. Everything moves slowly to show you the process of how it all comes together. We get a lot of detail because of this, but it can frustrate some readers that it's taking so long to get truly exciting. BUT, once the climax hit, everything moved really quickly and I sped through the last 50+ pages to the end.
Though the ending didn't surprise me or have any kind of great effect on me, I was intrigued enough that I knew I wanted to read the sequel this semester. Whether that happens will be another story, but I don't want to put this off until I realize the series is complete and I've only read the first book.
Of the three sisters, Katharine was my least favorite. She, as the poisoner, was initially the one I liked best, but as the story progressed, I disliked her more. There's something about her that feels too complacent and in need of being coddled that I struggled to enjoy reading from her POV. I'm hoping she gets better in the next book as I see great room for character development.
Arsinoe, the naturalist, is my favorite. Her personality reminds me a lot of my own, mostly in that she's wild and doesn't really care about a lot of things. She had her annoying moments too, but I greatly enjoyed reading from her POV and spending so much time with her.
Mirabella, the elemental, initially reminded me of Kora from The Legend of Kora, which I didn't like. I think it's hard for me to think of elementals without comparing them to the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender. But, as the story progressed, I began to like her a little more. The jury is still out on her, just because of some decisions she made, but I have hope that I'll come to really like her by the end of the series.
Jules is my favorite of all. She should be protected at all costs and if anything bad happens to her in the sequels, I will start a riot. Though she isn't one of the queens in running, we see are fair bit from Jules' POV. Of all the girls in the story, I see the most of myself in her. And because of that, I want all the best for her.
Pietyr might grow on me later in the series, but as of right now, I don't really like him. He rubbed me the wrong way from the moment we met him, and I can't say that feeling has gone away as the book ended.
Billy has his moments, but I really want him to remain as a solid friend. I don't think there's much reason for him to be a love interest, even though the story seems to be moving in that direction. I like him as a friend because he does more in that role than I see him doing as a love interest, but I'm open to what Kendare Blake has in store for him.
Joseph is my favorite of the three love interests, and only because of the person he has the potential to be. I don't want to spoil anything about him, so I'm only going to say that I really hope Kendare Blake treats him well and doesn't turn him into another Chaol Westfall. I don't think I could handle that.
4.5 stars. I would recommend this if you're a fan of fantasy and competitions. There are some mixed reviews out there, so check with people you trust who have a similar taste in books before you go out to get this. It's not for everyone, but I think a good amount of people will enjoy it.