Parents' Guide to

Castles in Their Bones, Book 1

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Cruel empress' triplets become brides, spies in twisty tale.

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With this tale of triplet princesses, you get three warring magical kingdom tales for the price of one, plus a lot of fun espionage on the side. It's devious fun to imagine the girls' upbringing, learning forging, lock-picking, poisons, coded messages, and archery. It almost makes up for empress' cruel parenting, as she tells her daughters that power is everything and empathy is weak and you need to make men like you so you can exploit them later. The important part of the sisters' inner journeys is to find connections with people that prove their mom wrong, and to forge their own paths. For Daphne, mom's favorite, it proves hardest but she begins to change when she develops feelings for her betrothed. For Sophronia, it's far too easy to go against her mother and help the new husband she cares for, and too dangerous. Mom is always watching. For Beatriz, her surprising talent for magic proves dangerous -- she had to move to the kingdom that not only bans magic but will kill you for it.

The tensions build in each kingdom with coups in the works, rebel fighters, assassination attempts, treasonous plots gone wrong, spies discovered, the works. The only thing missing is a closer look at each of the sisters' sense of inner turmoil as things go horribly wrong -- but in this thrice split tale, something has to give.

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