cover image Castles in Their Bones (Castles in Their Bones #1)

Castles in Their Bones (Castles in Their Bones #1)

Laura Sebastian. Delacorte, $18.99 (528p) ISBN 978-0-593-11816-0

In this extravagantly built series starter, Sebastian (the Ash Princess trilogy) introduces three 16-year-old princesses: devious Daphne, beautiful Beatriz, and altruistic Sophronia—triplets conceived through magic by their scheming empress mother. The three have trained their entire lives to leave their home in Bessemia, marry princes of nearby kingdoms, and orchestrate those husbands’ demise, allowing their manipulative mother to take over. Skilled in the arts of poison-making, message-coding, and seduction—and granted one wish each from the stars—the sisters confidently assume their roles. What they aren’t counting on are the friendships they forge in their new homes, the feelings they develop for their husbands, and the many treacheries they face at court. Though the three kingdoms and their casts are extensive, the lushly told three-part narrative churns along quickly, volleying between the sisters’ perspectives until the threads begin to intricately twine. In Sebastian’s fairy tale world of royalty, power, and magic, the duplicitous but no less championable princesses engage in enough surprise twists, romantic entanglements, and dicey predicaments to keep readers entertained. Ages 14–up. Agent: John Cusick, Folio Literary Management. (Feb.)