Find it at your library!

Hark: Here be spoilers for the first book in this series, Three Dark Crowns, so if you haven’t had the pleasure of that book yet, best turn back now. You’ve been warned!

I read Three Dark Crowns in February of this year, and I loved it so intensely I read it again in July. I don’t know that I have ever in my life read the same book twice in a year. I am not a rereader by any stretch—I always want to move on to the next shiny new book. But these three teen queens totally captivated me.

Kendare Blake is not following any of the rules—it’s not clear to me even now which of the three, if any, I should be rooting for. Yes, Katharine fell in a pit and came back changed (still not entirely sure how), and she’s definitely embraced the idea of killing her sisters to claim the throne, but I’m not convinced she’s going to be the biggest bad of this story. The question that still hasn’t been answered is why the three queens have to fight to the death. Like, whose idea was this, anyway? And what happens if the queens break the whole “kill or be killed” paradigm? While One Dark Throne didn’t provide any of those answers, based on the ending, I think we’re going to find out soon.

And I have to mention, my girl Arsinoe is proving remarkably difficult to kill. It makes me love her even more. I really hope she explores her poisoner gift more in the next book. It was a little bit of a letdown to me that she spends so much time in this one hiding her gift to retain her strategic advantage. I get the reasons for that, but I’m ready for her to let the herbs and tinctures fly.

When is somebody going to adapt this for TV?? Because I need to see that CGI cougar stat!

Find it at your library!

Frankly, I’m surprised I had the patience for this book, because I am not lately a reader who appreciates slow-moving, thoughtful, atmospheric writing. Yet I was propelled toward the ending somehow, almost against my will. And when the quiet, reflective resolution came, I was strangely satisfied, even though part of me was hoping for a thunderclap of a finish. What sorcery is this?

The Wildling Sisters is a story of a summer heat wave that brought with it something weird and sinister, and how the twisted and tragic events of that summer reverberate into the future. It’s about two families living in the same estate in the English countryside half a century apart. It’s not, as I initially thought, a ghost story. There’s a creepy house, but it’s not haunted except by sad memories. And it’s only barely-kinda-maybe a murder mystery. Mostly, it’s about sisters and the bonds between them, which proves to be something that hasn’t changed much through the years.

So I guess you could say I grudgingly recommend this one. It won me over despite my typical preferences and expectations. Maybe the arrival of fall is making me contemplative. Maybe the book is just that good. The more I ponder it, the more I’m leaning towards the latter.

I should note that a sizeable portion of my enjoyment came from the quality of the audio version, fantastically read by two very distinct but equally talented narrators. It’s no trouble to keep track of alternating timelines when the narrators trade off; the voices signal to you which year you’re in. And of course, it goes without saying that British accents are dreamy AF.