Series: Daughters of Ruin #1
Publisher: McElderry Books (2016 - April 5)
Paperback ARC (316 pages)
Reading Challenges: 2016 Royal Challenge, Read 2016
Game of Thrones meets Graceling in a thrilling debut that follows the four fierce princesses of enemy kingdoms as their worlds collide in the throes of war.
Rhea, Cadis, Suki, and Iren have lived together since they were children. They are called sisters. They are not. They are called equals. They are not. They are princesses…and they are enemies.
Not long ago, a brutal war ravaged their kingdoms, and Rhea’s father was the victor. As a gesture of peace, King Declan brought the daughters of his rivals to live under his protection—and his ever-watchful eye. For ten years the girls have trained together as diplomats and warriors, raised to accept their thrones and unite their kingdoms in peace.
But there is rarely peace among sisters. Sheltered Rhea was raised to rule everyone—including her “sisters”—but she’s cracking under pressure. The charismatic Cadis is desperately trying to redeem her people from their actions during the war. Suki guards deep family secrets that isolate her, and quiet Iren’s meekness is not what it seems.
All plans for peace are shattered when the palace is attacked. As their intended futures lie in ashes, Rhea, Cadis, Suki, and Iren must decide where their loyalties lie: to their nations, or to each other.
Quickly on in the book we are introduced to the four main characters: Rhea, Iren, Cadis, and Suki. The girls are all relatively close in age and have lived together for ten years. They are the heirs to the four kingdoms of their world.
Suki is the future empress of Tasan, a country that values their protocol and traditions. Iren is heir to the scholarly Corent, a country that values knowledge above all. Cadis will be the next ruler of Findain, a seafaring and trading society built on the guilds. Rhea is the daughter of King Declan and future queen of Meridan.
Some say the goal of the Pax Regina was to have the future queens grow up as sisters with sisterly feelings for one another. Others say King Declan brought the daughters of his rivals to live with his own daughter to keep them in check. Even the girls themselves don’t know for certain but they each have their own opinions.
Iren was my favorite character. I loved the way her mind worked and all the observations she made. Everyone perceives her as the quiet, weak queen but she most definitely has a depth that is kept hidden.
Suki was one of the most annoying characters I have ever read. You can obviously tell she is the youngest of the “sister” queens. She is used to being spoiled and that easily comes through. There were a lot of parentheses used in her chapters and it makes total sense for her. That is just the way her mind works.
Cadis is a little different. She tries so hard to see the best in everyone. She also wants everyone around her to be truly happy. She strikes me as a people-pleaser which may not be the best thing for a future ruler.
Rhea isn’t the smartest character. She is naive about some things. She wants to believe that her “sisters” can care about her even when there are some obvious issues in their relationships. Everything can’t be as perfect as her daddy planned and that is hard for her. I feel like the last chapter of the book made her seem way more calculating than the rest of the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed Daughters of Ruin. The four different perspectives were well done and I could have told you who was narrating them even if they hadn’t been titled with the character’s name. The voices were that distinct.
I also loved how the girls didn’t all have the right perceptions about each other. For example, Rhea would think something about Cadis but Cadis was really doing something for completely different reasons than Rhea thought. They misunderstood each other all the time and I loved that. They were so human.
Daughters of Ruin is full of secrets and more secrets. Everyone is hiding something. The big question is who do you trust when something happens. Should the girls trust each other or only themselves?
A note on the cover: I have heard some people say they don’t like this cover and so I want to say that I like this cover quite a bit. It is nice and you can vaguely see the other three girls in the background. I do hope that the next books in the series feature the other girls on the cover.
I received this book for free from the publisher for review consideration.
This in no way affects my opinion of the title nor the content of this review.