Stardust in their Veins by Laura Sebastian is book two in the trilogy set. The author wastes no time in getting right back on track from where Castles in their Bones left off. We have our usual espionage, court intrigue, betrayal, and witty dialogue. Her writing style and pace are so smooth and effortless that every chapter flows like water and before I knew it, the chapter has finished and I’m off to the next one. This is easily becoming one of the better fantasy series I’ve read that doesn’t deal with wizards, monsters, an overcomplicated magic system, and the usual dungeons and dragons theme.
“But we both know that the best lies contain shades of truth.” - Daphne
In book two, we get to dive more into the character growth and development of Beatriz and Daphne. Sophie is no longer with the sisters and the author makes sure to remind you of that at every chance possible. What I loved seeing are the moral choices that Beatriz and Daphne make throughout the story. The decisions they make along with the consequences are only justified at times at what they believe to be the “good fight”. The one weird thing I noticed is that I was not able to keep up with the timeline as the story progressed. There are times when I believed that more time had passed but in reality, it was much shorter for the characters. Regardless of that, the formula remains the same as the first book. The stakes are higher than ever for our princesses and their interests do not always align with each other.
I have noticed that the romance sections have been trimmed down. I for one am grateful for that. However, what little romance there was in the first book was very tolerable and definitely was not the focal point. Stardust in their Veins sets an even more serious and darker tone than the first and I honestly can’t wait to see how it plays out in the final book as I can only imagine and hope that it will get even more gritty!
“It takes bravery to open one’s eyes and refuse to close them again, even when it would so much easier to.” - Sophie
If there is something I can complain about, it’s that the author should have dedicated a few chapters to the empress herself. Would it not have been more epic if we get to hear more from her point of view rather than from Beatriz and Daphne? Yes, she is a horrible mother, hard to deal with, difficult to impress, always has a frown on her face, is manipulative, evil, and conniving. But this is only from others’ points of view. A few chapters going over the empress herself, the reasoning behind her strategy, and choices to rule over all of Vesteria itself other than “being able to rule it better than the other kings and queens” could have added a lot more depth to an already incredible story.