Series: Blood and Gold #3
Published by: Harlequin Enterprises
ISBN 13: 9781489257758
Published: July 2019
Format reviewed: eVersion from NetGalley
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Lists: Favourites and Recommended
Related Reviews: Daughters of the Storm (Blood and Gold #1) | Sisters of the Fire (Blood and Gold #2)
It’s hard to review a book that’s several into a series without giving spoilers for the first books, so be warned. There won’t be spoilers for Queens of the Sea (to help with this I’m writing most of my review early on in my reading) but Daughters of the Storm and Sisters of the Fire are fair game.
Again, four years have passed since the previous book. Sisters of the Fire saw King Æthlric dead which means we now see King Bluebell – something she has been preparing for her whole life, but still doesn’t feel ready for; both she and Ash blame themselves for their father’s death, even though he was old, it was a long time coming, and he was a fool for coming to war with such a bad leg.
Ash has managed to govern her fate. The white dragon is dead, the red dragon dead by Bluebell’s hands (and is a tale across taverns through the whole land), and so Ash is no longer in her self-driven exile. Rose is with whom she loves, and happy. Ivy is… Ivy; the less said about her sad and silly ways the better, but is in charge of the port town after the ending of the second book and is, at least, a decent mother. Willow is growing to be one of the most interesting characters out there – filled with annoying religious fervour but possibly the only one in the land who can someday beat Bluebell…
As stated in my review of the second book, the development of the characters, especially the younger, is a joy to experience. Ivy and Willow are so utterly annoying and yet so believable in what drives them. The Ivy of the first book needed a good kick, but by the second you actually wish someone was on her side to guide her better, because she’s making such a hash of things when left to her own devices. Could we, by the end of this book, actually care for her as much as Ash and Rose? We can only read to find out…
That’s where we are when we start this book. Things aren’t going too well. Willow is now married to Bluebell’s most talented enemy – Hakon, who now believes in Willow’s religious faith due to her trickery in the second book. Together they have taken over land and are slaughtering whoever they come across. Lately, four of her best warriors, who she had sent in hopes of bringing Willow back to the family. The only reason the fifth came back to Bluebell was to tell of the horrors he witnessed.
Rowan, Rose’s oldest child, suddenly appears on her doorstep one night saying she’s run away from King Wengest but isn’t willing to say why around Heath, her actual father. They take her in, and she gets to meet her little half-brother (who is actually King Wengest’s get, ironically) and things in this corner start to get interesting. In the second book Rowan is coming into her powers after a brief stay in the other world (where she aged several years, in a different timestream) and now, matched with her little brother’s uncanny knowledge we may learn more about so much – hopefully about the Ærfolc.
What’s truly masterful is how Wilkins brings the threads of the plot together so cleverly to have all sisters returning to the same place, at the same time. It takes a huge amount of work to make this fit, believable, and necessary, and I love it. What’s also impressive is how it’s hard to figure out which character is the most interesting. Bluebell should be the easy answer and I love her dearly, but Rowan is… wow. I especially love her interactions with her aunts, how sassy she is, and what she gets away with.
Kim Wilkins is a marvel at setting up such an engaging world, plot, and beyond all else, characters. This series is right up there in my top five series of all time, and probably always will be. I would love for there to be more in this world, but this series is a trilogy and it’s done damn well.