- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; Reprint edition (April 4, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 148143666X
- ISBN-13: 978-1481436663
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,879,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Daughters of Ruin Paperback – April 4, 2017
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*"Strong female characters, jewelry as weaponry,political double crosses, and surprise twists. What's not to love?" (School Library Journal, starred review)
"[A] read-alike for Game of Thrones, with an actual body count." (Kirkus Reviews)
"This should appeal to readers who like the novels of Sarah J. Maas and Kristin Cashore." (Booklist)
"With a fast-paced opening, the rich world-building that Castner unravels in this fantasy novel will have followers rooting for the girls." (VOYA)
About the Author
K.D. Castner was once a farmer, once in love, and three times almost died in water. K.D. makes blackberry cider and dotes on a passel of grandkittens. A US citizen, she makes her home in Aberystwyth, Wales. Daughters of Ruin is her first novel.
Top customer reviews
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The story follows the lives of four teens raised together as “sisters” as part of a pact for peace. With their countries bordering each other and the crown to pass to them soon enough it seems like a novel idea but perhaps not the most thought-out one. For one, these queens are trained to fight and then, for show, they fight each other. Hell, the opening scene is them having to pretend to be sisters for a show to the kingdom. Yes, lets keep four girls together in close quarters, teach them to be warrior queens, and tell the world it’s all about peace. Clearly someone dropped the king on his head.
So you can see what’s coming next, I’m sure. Rebellion strikes, splitting them up and testing loyalties.
But that doesn’t happen for quite some time.
The first half of the book is spent on a drawn-out scene 10 years in the past where the girls practice their combative skills. Finally, we transition to the present day where they’re constantly on edge around each other, especially the three “prisoners” (Cadis, Iren, and Suki) against Rhea, daughter of the king whose castle they reside in. Eventually, the attack mentioned in the description but we’re already halfway through the book (the rest of that first part spent on exhibitions for the crown by each queen). Loyalties are divided, insert predictable plot twist, conflict ensues. The entire book felt like an almost-fleshed out outline.
There were a few things about this book that annoyed me but the “twist” near the end really set me off and took me away from the story entirely. I found it both unnecessary and more of a plot device to allow for a sequel than anything.
Now to the characters. I wanted to speak about them separately as the book is told from each queen’s point of view in alternating chapters. Each has a distinct voice, making it easy to tell which viewpoint I read from in case I forgot to look at the chapter title.
I liked Cadis the best. Her voice was honest and the most relatable. She also came off as the most “normal” of the four queens, as normal as a seventeen-year-old girl can in her situation. Her background also held a lot of depth that never really had the chance to shine. Of the four, I believe she showed the most character development by the end (and possibly was the only character to really do so).
Iren came in second for intriguing but her narrative was… brief. Like reading a report. Bullet points without the bullet, line by line in a no-nonsense kind of way. It made reading her chapters quick but also left out a LOT of details. She summarized situations so well that the story was lost in her outlook on the world.
Rhea, like Cadis, had a more “normal” style but also more reflective, showing a lot of personal thoughts between comments on the world. What set me off with her was her swooning over their training partner/servant. She also flitted between being nice and nasty, or she’d play the victim, or she’d just stand by and be useless. Really, there was no telling with her. And she was too inconsistent to be likable.
And then there’s Suki.
She. Drove. Me. Insane.
I get that the author wanted to give each one their own voice but IT DIDN’T NEED TO INVOLVE SO MANY PARENTHETICALS. Look, I get it, they’re fun to use (you can see I’m a fan from this review). However, when it’s every other word, I have a problem. I couldn’t even READ Suki’s point of view sometimes because it was more like trying to crack a code. Each tangent thought she had appeared in such a way that I almost skipped the chapters with her (not that they progressed the story much other than to show her devotion to aforementioned training partner). She was the nail in the coffin of this book.
I think Daughters of Ruin would’ve stood a chance if the characters had been given more than just a chapter here and there to truly become multi-dimensional, and maybe a change of the writing style couldn’t have hurt. And hopefully there is a sequel planned that no one knows about because otherwise that ending was beyond unfulfilling.
There are four main characters in this story: Suki, Rhea, Cadis, and Iren, and each are from different countries with different heritages and cultures. As such, they are vastly different from each other. And I hated 2/4 of them. Suki (the youngest) is a whiny, pompous, naive little child who mentally seems ages younger than her fifteen years. And the style she was written in was beyond annoying! The other princess I hated was Rhea because she is just plain pathetic. She is literally blind to everything going on around her, incapable of communicating anything to anyone, and is literally an idiot. Unfortunately, as the 4 POVs shifted equally throughout the book, I pretty much hated half the book.
Wow. I have never seen such a long prologue. I’m not even joking when I say the prologue was 8% of the entire book and it was literally completely unnecessary. Why? Because the first actual few chapters of the book… do the same exact thing that the prologue does! They were just a waste of space and made the beginning of the book drag on with pointless, repetitive information that could have been better displayed elsewhere in the story (and which would have offered an interesting story.)
If you stick through the first 50% of the book – because that’s all pretty much useless information – you’ll finally find… a plot! *gasp* That’s right. There is, in fact, a plot hiding in this story and it is mildly interesting. Cliche and overdone, yes. And it is not advanced at all by Suki or Rhea’s POVs, but it did a nice job of unraveling and Cadis and Iren’s POVs offered a second element to the intrigue of the story.