Author: Ellen Goodlett
Publication date: September 11, 2018
Genre: YA fantasy
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Three girls with three deadly secrets. Only one can wear the crown.
The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos.
Or rather, three unexpected options.
Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her band of Travelers. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she’s already gone.
Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.
Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady’s maid and scheming her way out of the servants’ chambers. But one such plot could get her hung for treason if anyone ever discovers what she’s done.
When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny… to rule.
Magic, mystery, and blackmail abound in this sensational and striking fantasy debut
I absolutely love high fantasy and was really looking forward to this one, the cover is absolutely stunning and the book has a really intriguing premise. I believe this was blurbed as Three Dark Crowns meets Pretty Little Liars. I’ve never read Three Dark Crowns but it definitely has the PLL aspects to it.
If you are someone who doesn’t read a lot of fantasy or you’re just getting into fantasy I think you would really enjoy this book a lot more than someone who reads fantasy constantly like I do.
I didn’t hate this book but, I also didn’t love it. Usually I can read a book in a day or two but this took me FOREVER to get through. Why did it take me so long? Because I’ve read this story so many times before. While the synopsis was intriguing to me the actual story wasn’t, I couldn’t get into it and I really couldn’t connect with the characters.
I found the book pretty slow paced and actually pretty boring, nothing interested really happened until after 50% of the way through. That’s a long time to read for something to happen. The majority of the book is the three girls dealing with their new lives as the Kings daughters and being incredibly irritating. I couldn’t connect with any of the main characters and I found all three of them dull, annoying or irritating. Akeylah is quiet, timid and a complete doormat while Zofi is angry, rebellious and hates everyone and Ren is ever the proper courtier, looking down on her two sisters because they come from “lesser” areas of the kingdom. I will say that each girls secret is pretty brutal and is definitely not something they want people to find out.
While I’m not a fan of the three main characters individually there is a point in the book where they start to work together, at this point they became more tolerable and enjoyable. They are like a three headed dragon, each has their own strength and together they can accomplish a lot more and are a force to be reckoned with.
This is your typical fantasy kingdom setting; rich people looking down on the backbone of the kingdom (those who do all the work), discriminating against certain groups of people, the king being a terrible ruler, tyrant in the family, rebellious parts of the kingdom wanting to upset the throne, etc.
One big thing this book lacked that I can’t overlook was description. I couldn’t tell you what the castle looked like or the surrounding areas, I definitely couldn’t tell you what the three girls looked like. Descriptions play a huge role when I’m reading a book, I like to be able to imagine that I’m in the setting with the characters and I’m able to visual them. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that.
The one thing I really enjoyed was the magic system. Its called Blood Arts and in order to use the magic you have to tithe, draw your own blood. Once you tithe you focus on what ability you would like to do such as speed, strength, invisibility, healing, etc. I thought this was such a neat system. Along with Blood Arts there is also the Vulgar Arts which is basically black magic, doing evil things to people. All in all, pretty cool magic.
Another thing that I enjoyed was the PLL aspects of the story. If you’ve ever seen the show you know the girls are tormented by an unknown person who leaves them creepy messages in strange ways and is constantly trying to murder them. And just when the girls think they have the upper hand the unknown threat comes at them full force. That’s pretty much what is going on in this book and I liked it. Its interesting to try and figure out who the threat is, I have a few ideas but I guess I’ll have to read the second book to find out if I’m right.
Between the lack of description, being unable to connect or care about the characters and the lack of interesting things happening, this book just wasn’t for me. However, if you do like fantasy, magic, mystery, murder, blackmail and writing that’s easy to read, you might really enjoy this!
Ill probably pick up the second book from my library when it comes out so I can see how this duology ends and if my guess is correct about who the unknown threat to the girls is.