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!

I love fantasy of all flavors, but sometimes fantasy written for adults can be a little, shall we say, violent and gory for my taste? (You’ve heard of the Red Wedding, perhaps?) When my fragile constitution can’t hang with the grown-ups, I like to throw a little YA fantasy in the mix. Here are some recent hits!

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

This book boasts one of the most unique settings I’ve encountered in a long time. The Gomorrah Festival is a traveling circus, and Sorina is an illusionist who puts on a freak show cast entirely with illusions she’s created. When one of her illusions is murdered after a show, Sorina’s world is shattered. How could one of her illusions be killed, if they aren’t real to begin with? Finding the truth and the killer will stretch Sorina beyond her limits, and because it’s a first-person narration, we get A LOT of time in Sorina’s head while she whines internally about it all. If you can get past the teen mood swings, you’ll get lost in the crazy circus-y world Foody has created.

The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Amrita is being forced into marriage with a much older monarch from a backward-thinking kingdom. She and her childhood love hatch a plot to run away together before the wedding, but Amrita’s destiny turns out to be a whole lot bigger than escaping into obscurity with a boy. Pro tip: the Author’s Note alone is worth the price of admission. It’s at the beginning of the book, don’t skip it!

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Feminist fairy tale retelling? Here, take my money! I bought Girls Made of Snow and Glass on its release date, I was so excited to read it. It’s a twist on Snow White, with a stepmother who is more emotionally damaged than heartless, and her rival for the throne, a stepdaughter made in the image of her dead mother, the woman the king still loves. The two women’s stories are told in alternating timelines, and while I have to admit to having a favorite (Lynet all the way), the way the two strands tie up together in the end is sublimely satisfying. Lots of depth in the relationships the characters have and in their understanding of who they are (and how that changes). This book is like Galentine’s Day, “just ladies celebrating ladies.”