castles in their bones – laura sebastian | arc review + blog tour

Castles in Their Bones by Laura Sebastian

Series: Castles in their Bones #1
Published February 1st 2022 by Delacorte Press
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Rep: gay SC


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Empress Margaraux has had plans for her daughters since the day they were born. Princesses Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz will be queens. And now, age sixteen, they each must leave their homeland and marry their princes.

Beautiful, smart, and demure, the triplets appear to be the perfect brides—because Margaraux knows there is one common truth: everyone underestimates a girl. Which is a grave mistake. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz are no innocents. They have been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence with a singular goal—to bring down monarchies— and their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria.

The princesses have spent their lives preparing, and now they are ready, each with her own secret skill, and each with a single wish, pulled from the stars. Only, the stars have their own plans—and their mother hasn’t told them all of hers.

Life abroad is a test. Will their loyalties stay true? Or will they learn that they can’t trust anyone—not even each other?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound


Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tour for choosing me as one of the participants in the #CastlesinTheirBones tour. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. If you’re interested in the other tour stops, check out the schedule!


Startouched, the three daughters of Empress Margaraux are born for their mother’s ultimate goal: Reigning the entire continent of Vesteria. Once of age, the sisters are married off to three different kingdoms. Sophronia to Temarin where weekly executions are normal, Beatriz to Cellaria where magic is outlawed, and Daphne to Friv where it’s cold and dreary. Armed with the skills of deception and seduction, bringing down the monarchies would be easy until they have a change in mind. Their betrothal means nothing but a duty to their mother. Of course, easier said than done, the three sisters encountered issues of the heart while in their respective kingdoms.

Having multiple perspectives can confuse readers if the voices and personalities of each character aren’t distinct enough. I didn’t find that to be a problem in Castles in Their Bones as Sophronia, Beatriz, and Daphne each possess a unique quality. Moreover, they are distinctively separated from one another based on the side characters around them and the setting. Sophronia enjoys economics and code-breaking, Beatriz is best with flirtation, and Daphne works with poisons and archery.

The concept of stardust and startouched children in Bessemia added another layer to this setting. While stardust is not rare and can be collected during starshowers, the ability to wish upon a star is far more valuable. An empyrea can bring down a star while wishing upon it but only in the worst scenarios. Each country has its own politics depending on the rule of the monarchies. Despite being separated for most of the book, the sisters obviously care and love each other immensely. Sophie, Beatriz, and Daphne find themselves in a bind as they started to know their own betrothed.

“Like I’m a bolt of lightning. And you can’t decide whether I’ll kill you or bring you back to life.”

Once at Friv, Daphne received the news that her betrothed had passed on due to his poor health. Taking Prince Cillian’s place would be King Bartholomew’s bastard son, Bairre, who is pretty hostile and suspicious of Daphne from the start. From hiding in the shadows to being openly scrutinized, it’s no wonder that Bairre is guarded against Daphne.

Sophronia’s the most romantic of the three sisters. She paints scenarios in her mind even though she knows not to. Her first encounter at Cellaria is witnessing King Leopold’s ignorance in ruling a kingdom and Dowager Queen Eugenia’s hand in the game. In Cellaria, Sophie discovers that Leopold isn’t actually that bad, merely a puppet king. Things are dire with a burning every fortnight. Anyone found practicing magic or breaking the law is executed by fire.

Married to Pasquale, a man who has no eyes for Beatriz should’ve made her mission easier to accomplish. However, Beatriz soon finds herself wanting to protect the soft Pas and being attracted to the king’s cupbearer. Over there, Beatriz finds out something about herself that relates to magic.

In a series surrounding royals, there is no lacking of court politics, political maneuvering, quiet deceptions, and painful betrayals. With their mother’s skilled machinations, the sisters have to decide whether they want to follow their hearts or continue on down the path. By the end of it, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Can I have book two already?


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