About the Book:
Title: Stardust in Their Veins
Author: Laura Sebastian
Series: Castles in Their Bones #2
Page Length: 576
Publication Date: Feb. 7, 2023
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: Princesses Beatriz and Daphne have lost their older sister, but their mother’s grand scheme of taking the continent of Vesteria is far from complete. With the country of Temarin now under the Empress’s control, only the nations of Cellaria and Friv remain free from her rule. What’s worse, an ominous prophecy has begun to shine through the constellations: the blood of stars and majesty spilled.
Usurped by conniving cousins Nico and Gigi, Beatriz fears for her life, while in icy Friv, Daphne continues her shaky alliance with the rebels even as she struggles to stay a step ahead of them. But when an unlikely ally offers Beatriz a deal, she finds herself back in her mother’s sights.
With enemies around every corner and the stars whispering of betrayal, Daphne and Beatriz can’t trust anyone–least of all each other. If they’ve learned anything, though, it’s that the Empress’s game is constantly changing. And the arrival of surprise visitors from Temarin just might tip the scales in the princesses’ favor . . . if they manage to avoid meeting their sister’s fate before they can make their next move.
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Last year, I read Castles in Their Bones and was completely blown away. I had never read a book by Laura Sebastian before, but as soon as I finished., I knew I had to read everything she ever wrote. I read four more books by her within the next two weeks, and in every book I loved the author’s writing style and gripping storytelling abilities. So, of course, I leaped at the chance to read an advanced copy of Stardust in the Veins. The ending of Castles in Their Bones was so shocking, and I was eager to see how the sisters’ stories would play out.
Stardust in Their Veins is a fantastic continuation to the series! Suspenseful, layered, and unpredictable, it is a super immersive read and one that I didn’t want to put down. The story picks up where the first book left off, with the characters reeling over the death of their sister and the aftereffects of the coup.
If there’s one thing I learned about Sophie and her sisters it’s this: when they hatch a plan, the stars themselves aren’t enough to stand in their way.
Beatrix begins to plan her revenge against her mother while learning more and more about her gifts, mourning the loss of her sister, and finding allies in the most unlikely of places. She’s such a layered and interesting character, and her development over the course of the story is fantastic. She is no longer the young woman who follows her mother’s dictates without question. She’s stronger and more determined. Beatrix has such a great relationship with Pasquale, and I think this connection is part of the reason she’s changed so much. He’s completely devoted to her and does everything in his power to protect and help her. She, in turn, uses her power to help him, even though she puts herself at risk.
Daphne’s story is also intriguing, though she isn’t as quick to turn against her mother. This isn’t surprising considering she is probably the most similar to the Empress. However, we do see her attitude change as the story progresses. It’s interesting to see how she deals with new and surprising revelations, the grief of losing her sister, and her conflicted feelings toward Bairre.
I love a good romance, and the relationship between Daphne and Bairre is one I’m totally rooting for. They have so much chemistry, and the angst is high with this tortured couple. I love the push and pull and the banter. They’re both so confused and fighting their feelings, but I don’t think it’s working too well for either of them. The tension is palpable, and I’m hoping they can find a way to be together after all the lies, secrets, and betrayals.
“Right now he is looking at her like he would set the stars on fire if she asked it of him, like he will do anything for her except tell her the truth, and suddenly the truth doesn’t matter as much as it should, not for either of them.”
Like the first book, this one is told from multiple perspectives. The sisters are so different, and I like that we continue to get both of their perspectives. You really understand what they feel and why they do certain things. And there’s a new perspective in this book, which I found interesting. This wasn’t a character I liked in the previous book, but I like her redemption arc and her growing relationships with some of my faves. I’m seeing the hint of a love story here too. and I like the direction it’s headed!
The world-building and plot are as layered as the characters, and both are fascinating. It’s complex and rich in description and political intrigue, and there are some plot twists that I totally didn’t see coming! And with that cliffhanger ending, I’m dying to read the next book! So much is at stake for the characters, and their battle to defeat the Empress is going to be epic and shocking and probably a little heartbreaking. I have a feeling the next book will emotionally destroy me, and I’ll thank Laura Sebastian for doing it. lol.
Special thanks to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The intrigue.
- The romance.
- The world-building.
- The writing style.
I love you all the way to the stars.
May the stars guide you home, to the rest you deserve among them.
I am on your side. If you’re a monster, fine. I’ll be a monster too. We’ll be monsters together.
This isn’t a standalone, so I would suggest reading Castles in Their Bones before reading Stardust in Their Veins. Also, be sure to check the content warnings before starting the series.
Want to learn more about the series? Check out my review of the first book!