For every book we read during the YA book club, we try to write a review. This way anyone who couldn’t be there, can still join in with the fun! Saskia den Ouden is our main reviewer for the book club books, judging all that we have picked.
Once upon a time, there was an island that was always ruled by a Queen. Each of these queens gave birth to a set of triplets, who each possess a magical talent. One of these will become the next Queen: the one who successfully kills their sisters, in the year after their sixteenth birthday.
But don’t be fooled by this plot description. The currents sisters; Mirabella, an elementalist; Katherine, a poisoner; and Arsinoe, the naturalist, are indeed all coming up on their sixteenth birthday and the event called the Quickening (after which, they are allowed to kill each other). The problem however, is that both Katherine and Arsinoe are weak in their powers. It seems that the future is written. But is it?
I was kind of excited to read this book. It was about an island ruled by women who have to kill each other in clever and cunning ways. What could be better?
It turns out a lot of things could’ve been better. The supposed twist ending is easily guessed and everything single female character has a story arc that revolves around, you guessed it, men. Although the writing style is good, in particular, the food is really well described and sounds delicious, the buildup of the novel is long-winded and tedious. The sisters don’t meet until near the end of the book and that was really the only reason I kept on reading.
The one thing that Blake has going for her, however, is the world building. It’s not extremely extensive, but what we hear is fascinating. There are divergences in the ancient traditions. Sometimes a quadruplet is born from the Queen. The fourth child is considered extremely blessed and her three older sisters will be disposed of by the midwife. Then there are the different talents, because aside from elementalists, poisoners and naturalists, there are also seers and warriors (the latter’s powers are unclear). Then there is the mainland who seems to have a declining belief in the island? What are the ramifications for both?
To be honest, I personally would have been much happier with an encyclopedia about the world, rather than this book. There is a second novel coming out, which is good because I wasn’t given the story I was promised and this may rectify the situation. I am doubting though if I’ll ever read it.