I have been looking forward to this book SO very much. I was terrified that it would severely disappoint but after reading some rave reviews from GR friends I trust, I couldn't wait any longer. I am relieved that I gave it a shot because not only did this book not let me down, it succeeded in ways I couldn't have predicted. Some people have complained about the pacing at places and of some info dumping at the beginning but for me, I did not find those to be true.
I have unfortunately (and annoyingly) been chapter checking lately, wishing the ending would arrive quicker. This was the case even when I was completely invested BUT this experience was completely the opposite. I absolutely devoured this in one sitting and time flew by so quickly I was confused when the acknowledgements popped up. There are some major twists and the final one threw me a bit but BEWARE: the ending is a cliffhanger (which I ferociously loathe). My main gripes are that the book isn't long enough and that cliffhanger at the end left me frustratingly anxious for book #2. The writing was seamless/effortless. The characters were rich, intricately complex, gloriously Human, understandably damaged and endearingly realistic.
Which sister was my favorite? The queens, and most of the characters, were beautifully/tragically flawed. All three had very interesting back stories, strengths, weaknesses, relationship (of all kinds) woes, and compelling aspects so picking a definitive side was difficult. If I had to pick one to get behind and root for it would most likely be Mirabella. Mirabella is an Elemental and is believed to be the strongest of the three sisters yet she is the most reluctant to kill her siblings. She is beautiful, which is not a reason in and of itself to pick her but that coupled with her tragic love situation (both romantic and filial), I couldn't help but feel for her.
This was such a delight, I can not recommended it highly enough for fantasy lovers and lovers of Royal intrigue. The romances were tastefully done and not rammed down the reader's throat...so if that's not your thing don't worry, it's not a raging love fest of yuck.