ARC Review: Stardust In Their Veins – Laura Sebastian

Stardust In Their Veins

Author: Laura Sebastian

Series: Castles In Their Bones #2

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Published: February 7th, 2023 (Delacorte Press)


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Teen Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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.

My Thoughts

As the news of Sophronia’s death makes its way across Vesteria to her sisters, Beatriz and Daphne, who are in very tricky situations themselves, struggle to figure out the truth and whom they can trust. After the coup in Cellaria, Beatriz is desperate to find a way to get herself and Pasquale, both separately imprisoned, to safety. In Friv, Daphne is still playing a double game with the rebels even as she continues to do their mother’s bidding by furthering their plans. But she soon starts to realize that their mother may not have their best interests in mind, and that she and Beatriz cannot trust anyone – certainly not each other – and they must figure out a way to get ahead of their mother’s plans before they end up sharing Sophronia’s fate.

💭 Initial Thoughts: Of late, it has become quite a frequent occurrence that I read the first book in a new series, absolutely love it, but by the time I pick up the sequel, I hardly remember what happened in the story. But with this one, I surprised myself with how many details of the first book I recalled quite clearly, which made me doubly excited to finally sit down with this ARC. I must say though, I’m not a fan of the new cover. It doesn’t match the style of the first book and this one just looks kind of strange.

🌎 Plot, World building & Atmosphere: As with the first book, there was so much scheming and political intrigue going on that I could barely keep it all straight – and it made this such a fun read! The world building was detailed and complex, and though the focus was more on Friv and Bessemia, the characters did travel to some new places on the map. I did feel at times that with the main and supporting characters travelling all over the map, the timeline seemed a little unrealistic, with people showing up in places far earlier than I would have expected – it’s either that or chapters skipping time without really making it clear how much time has passed. There was also some additional insight into the magic system, and it made more sense this time around.

✍🏻 Writing & Narration: When I initially started reading this book, I was quite startled to see that it was nearly 600 pages long, and though I will admit there wasn’t a single dull moment in those pages, it did feel unnecessarily long. That said, I really enjoy Laura Sebastian’s writing style and she has come a long way from Ash Princess to a novel that I found myself glued to for five hours straight.

👥 Characters: Narrated from multiple POVs once more, Violie’s was the new perspective introduced, something I wasn’t too sure about, but it turned out really well. Though she was a secondary character in the story so far, she made for a strong narrator, and her arc was an interesting one to follow. Violie was determined to keep her promise to Sophronia no matter what and does her best to keep Leopold safe.

Beatriz had quite a change in personality. She was quick to figure out her mother’s schemes and the truth behind Sophronia’s death and set to plotting revenge, and I loved her change of direction in her arc. Daphne on the other hand, probably had the most complex arc of the three. Even after learning what really happened to Sophronia, she was much slower to turn against her mother, though as the story progresses, she began to have doubts as she is forced to choose between what is right and what she has always been trained to do. It was quite irritating as it took over half the book for this to even start happening and Daphne came across as quite dumb to not figure it out.

Sophronia’s murder by the rebels and the conspiracy surrounding it all was pretty much the first domino to fall. My biggest fear going into this book was that such an important event that was critical for so many other things to happen would somehow be walked back

🎬 Ending: While this book didn’t have any events as shocking as the first, it has definitely set things up for an epic finale. Without giving away any spoilers, some of what happened towards the end was kind of predictable especially with Violie, given that her resemblance to Sophronia was mentioned over and over, so it had to be for a reason.

Final Thoughts & Recommendation: This was a phenomenal sequel. There wasn’t a single hint of second book syndrome – indeed, I felt it was actually much better than the first book since the introduction and buildup weren’t necessary. I can’t wait for the last book to find out what happens next!

Stardust In Their Veins releases on February 7th, 2023.

Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All quotes in this review were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final version of the book.

Other reviews in this series:


8 thoughts on “ARC Review: Stardust In Their Veins – Laura Sebastian

  1. Fransic verso January 27, 2023 / 9:56 am

    Interesting book, Characters plays big role in ruining the book and that’s nice its very well in this book. Thank you for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stephanie | The Espresso Edition January 27, 2023 / 11:37 am

    I just read another blogger’s review of this the other day and they really enjoyed it as well! I think that might be my sign to pick up the first book so I can get into this series 🙂 It sounds really good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) February 4, 2023 / 4:04 pm

      I’d highly recommend this series! The story and characters are great of course, but I also feel like the writing style and narration is improving with each of the author’s successive books, something that’s always great to see! Thanks for reading and commenting!


  3. Molly | Transatlantic Notes January 28, 2023 / 1:01 pm

    It’s great when a sequel is a good book in its own right and continues the positive experience from the first — this sounds like a decent series to get into. Thanks for reviewing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) February 4, 2023 / 4:00 pm

      I totally agree! Second books are kind of hard to get right, but this one was definitely spot on and even better than the first book. I’d highly recommend this series!


  4. discovertwenties February 4, 2023 / 6:03 am

    Sounds like a good read! I’m always the same when approaching sequels, I find that they don’t live up to the first book, but I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) February 4, 2023 / 3:46 pm

      Agreed, second books in a series especially, can be so tricky to get right that it’s such a relief when they turn out to be good. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s