Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 5 stars Series: second book in trilogy
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for CASTLES IN THEIR BONES*
Princesses Beatriz and Daphne have lost their older sister, but their mother’s grand scheme of taking the continent of Vesteria is far from complete. With the country of Temarin now under the Empress’s control, only the nations of Cellaria and Friv remain free from her rule. What’s worse, an ominous prophecy has begun to shine through the constellations: the blood of stars and majesty spilled.
Usurped by conniving cousins Nico and Gigi, Beatriz fears for her life, while in icy Friv, Daphne continues her shaky alliance with the rebels even as she struggles to stay a step ahead of them. But when an unlikely ally offers Beatriz a deal, she finds herself back in her mother’s sights.
With enemies around every corner and the stars whispering of betrayal, Daphne and Beatriz can’t trust anyone–least of all each other. If they’ve learned anything, though, it’s that the Empress’s game is constantly changing. And the arrival of surprise visitors from Temarin just might tip the scales in the princesses’ favour . . . if they manage to avoid meeting their sister’s fate before they can make their next move.
Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
STARDUST IN THEIR VEINS is a tense, intricate second entry into this series about schemes to destabilise countries. It’s full of twisting plans, betrayals, and other such goodness, and was a delight to tear through. I had a hard time putting this book down as it’s such a tangle of danger and hope and intrigue that I had to know what came next.
The book starts with Beatriz turned against her mother but Daphne still on her side, leading to a disconnect between the sisters, made painful by Beatriz’s hope that Daphne will see sense. It also means that Beatriz et al have to be extra careful (particularly when her allies reach Daphne) lest Daphne betray them all.
I am very glad the big shocker at the end of the previous books was allowed to stand and Sophronia was not somehow miraculously returned to life by escaping in some improbable way. It gives the books a real sense of cost and danger. One of the POVs has already died, and gives you the feeling that no one is safe, upping the tension and stakes, particularly as more of Margaraux (their mother)’s plans are revealled.
There is a new POV to replace Sophronia – Violie, Sophronia’s maid and spy sent by Margaraux who’s trying to save Leopold. She’s a commoner, unlike the Princess, but just as resourceful and fun to read about (she got a lot of training as a spy.)
I really liked how the POVs interwove and interacted in person more this book. Daphne and Violie spend a lot of the book in the same place, skipping around each other and affecting each other’s plans. It’s something I really appreciate in multi-POV books as it makes it feel tighter and more like one story rather than separate ones.
One book to go! While this ending is not quite as horrifically shocking as the ending of CASTLES IN THEIR BONES, it’s not exactly left everyone in stable positions, and Margaraux definitely has yet more plans up her sleeves.
Read my reviews of other books by Laura Sebastian:
Castles in their Bones (this series):
- ASH PRINCESS (#1)
- LADY SMOKE (#2)
- EMBER QUEEN (#3)