Let’s start off with this: I have no idea how I feel about this book.
I have read it twice now. From the very beginning, I was hooked and by the end I was itching to know what would happen next. That said, I have some questions.
Let’s start at the beginning: Three daughters a born to the queen of a mysterious island. Triplets, one of whom will become the island’s next queen, but only after she kills off both of her sisters.
Each of the young queens are blessed with a gift from the Goddess. Katherine, a poisoner with no tolerance for poisons; Arsinoe, a naturalist who can’t bloom a flower to save her life; and Mirabella, who could probably drown the island with her elemental stormage if she wasn’t so sentimental about everything.
I was intrigued from the moment I read the synopsis. It’s dark, and slightly disturbing, like a YA Game of Thrones, where all the main characters are as badass as Arya Stark. And the politics of the place are just as batshit.
It’s hardly surprising that the ascension is so brutal, given that the former queen is never seen again after dispatching her triplets. Is she shipped off the island? Does she retire to a nice country home? Or is she murdered by the temple? Who knows. She is not important. She has given birth to her triplets and apparently is not fit to rule thenceforth. There are three new queens raise and prepare for the next battle to the death in 16 years time.
In the meantime, with the old queen most likely thrown down the gaping void of the Breccia Domain, who is in charge? The Black Council. Made up of representatives of the foster family, and the gifts, of the old queen. No wonder there have been only poisoner queens for the last century. They kind of have a head start, what with all those poisoners on the council. Surely, at some point they’ll figure out that they don’t need a queen, given that they’re running the place for the 16 years between one queen’s forced abdication and the next murdering her sisters and taking up the thrown.
But that is not the point of this book. The real issue here, is the question of which queen will step up and take the throne. Mirabella seems the likely choice, and has the support of the Temple. Her gifts are the strongest of the three, though there is the slight issue that she is not too keen on the idea of murdering her sisters. Arsinoe’s low magic shenanigans will definitely get someone killed, but no one is under any illusions that she will get anywhere near the throne. And frankly, she doesn’t really want it.
As for sweet little Katherine…well. She’ll probably over dose on practice poisons before she even see’s either of her sisters again.
So, I guess what I am trying to say is I did rather enjoy this book, as long as I just accepted what was happening and didn’t try to question anything. But I think my opinion might change depending on what happens in the next book.
For now, I will give it 4 out of 5 maggots in a bear suit.