Member Reviews

I read this book as part of the blog tour hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours. Special thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing a digital ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

TL;DR: The Third Daughter is an interesting start to a new duology(?) that I think holds a lot of potential. Tooley's prose is compelling and it's easy to become absorbed in the world she has created. Elodie and Sabine are complex, morally grey and not always the easiest to like or even empathise with at times but it makes their arcs even more engaging to follow and their characters feel more realistic. The book takes on a surprisingly darker tone that I wasn't really expecting, especially in regard to faith and politics and how often and easily those two are mixed to the detriment of society. While I think there were elements that could've been written better to make the story even stronger, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

This is only my second book by Tooley but I really enjoy her writing style. The story flows well and the author's writing is accessible and easy to follow, so it's no hardship to immerse myself in the setting. Though I do think that the history and world could've been expanded upon in more detail, it makes this fantasy perfect for those who don't usually read the genre and who don't want heavy or overly detailed world-building. Throughout the story, the author explores a wide range of themes including complex family dynamics, unhealthy relationships, and the politicisation of religion. If you're not a fan of political stories, I wouldn't say this was too political because it's broken up by other aspects such as the romance and the internal struggles of our main characters. These elements weren't necessarily lighter-hearted but they did lessen the seriousness of the politics. I personally felt that it detracted a bit from the story because of that and I wished that the romance had been less "insta" but I know that many readers will enjoy it nonetheless!

Our two main POVs are Elodie and Sabine who I thought were interestingly complex characters. If I'm being honest, I was expecting to like them a lot more than I did but I will say that they're a lot more likeable than the other characters in this story (take that as you will, lol). Elodie is the eldest princess who has given up her place to her second youngest sister, the third daughter. She's a little bit spiteful, a little bit green and a little bit mean but I do think she has her heart in the right place even when it doesn't necessarily come off that way. As a princess, she's obviously spoiled and blind to the realities of the people, particularly those who live in the poorest districts such as the Harborside, where Sabine is from. That said, Elodie has a regal strength to her and a ruthlessness and determination that was pretty badass, lol. Sabine is the middle child of three; her father is a drunk gambler who's working off his debts at sea and her family is struggling to make ends meet as they rely mainly on Sabine's magic for money. She's "cursed" with magic that causes deep sadness and depression and manifests as magic through her tears which amplify the potency of any draught it's added to. It was pretty heartbreaking to see how her family treated her as a commodity and how little empathy they had for what she had to endure, and I think the relatability of her situation made it very easy to empathise with her. I think Tooley did a great job depicting the complexity of family relationships for both of these characters!

If I had to point out two main issues it would be 1) the depth and 2) the stakes and I don't think they're necessarily separate. There is a large cast of supporting characters, mostly family, and many of these connections and relationships felt very underdeveloped and shallow. There was enough depth for you to want to root for these characters but it could've done with so much more! No spoilers but towards the middle/end some of the character interactions were so bizarrely out of character and felt so sudden and without any explanation that it was just very weird. I think the lack of depth in the relationships also contributed to the lack of tension in the story, which made it hard for me to feel invested in what was happening because I didn't see that the characters were ever truly in danger or that if they didn't figure out the problem everything would fall into utter chaos. Sadly, this made one major plot twist fall flat for me!

Overall though, I think there's a lot of potential in this new series/duology(?) and I hope that some of these issues get resolved in the next book because I thought the premise was interesting, I just wanted that bit more depth and tension to strengthen the delivery of the story!

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Prophecy foretells that the third Daughter of the third Daughter will be the New Maiden reborn. This child, Brianne, is born to Velle’s reigning Queen and the country rejoices. Except for the queen's eldest daughter, Elodie who has now lost her claim to the throne. Wary of the church and Brianne’s father, Elodie believes the only way to protect Velle is to retake the throne. She finds an apothecary who can brew a sleeping potion but a mixup in potions has the princess give her sister an everlasting sleeping potion. Unable to wake Brianne, Elodie tracks down the apothecary, Sabine, and together they must find a way to awake Brianne while fighting their growing attraction.

While I did enjoy this book I found the major twist a bit predictable. There was another bit at the end that seemed to come out of nowhere but it was good buildup to the second book. As for the world and characters, I found the world intriguing. But I also felt that since the main story takes place in the capital alot there is a lot more world to explore and what was mentioned was rushed over. Elodie is well written and strong. She is very determined but also stubborn and a bit pig-headed. Almost to her own detriment. Sabine was written so well I felt her sadness dripping from the pages. I do look forward to more in this series.

Rating 3.5 stars
*I received a review copy from NetGalley for my voluntary and honest review

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This book was one of the easiest reads of the year for me, which in a fantasy is really saying something! I love the author's style and the dynamic characters. Before you keep reading- beware of SPOILERS! Sabine's character really feels like Tooley said "she has depression, and it's magic". The story tackled some really intense emotions, and I think that was done really well. However, I do feel a little eh about the way depression was used throughout the story and then became yet another victim of the 'magical cure'. It was done better than most, a mix of acceptance of oneself and the problem having a magical solution. I do think a lot of people will have issue with the depression rep, and it could have been done differently. It was also really odd for Elodie to be attracted *to* Sabine's sadness. In the way most love interests would describe a character's beauty or strength, she romanticized Sabine's depression. A depression so bad she couldn't get out of bed, it changed her personality, etc. I also cringe a bit at the way side characters were used to advance a narrative without being truly crafted, to the point where family members are horrid until the plot needs them to not be, or they're wonderful and supportive, until the plot needs them to be horrid. It definitely took something away from the story and I found myself rolling my eyes a bit at it. All of that being said, it was an enjoyable read with some good world building and a compelling plot. I am hopeful in the next book that the supporting cast will get a bit more page time so we cab really connect with them and understand why they are the way they are, outside of the perception of the two POVs.

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I typically stick to adult fantasy novels, but I'm happy I gave this YA a chance! The storyline was intriguing and although I wish there was a bit more world building, the development of the main characters was definitely the bright spot. Looking forward to the next book in this series, as the plot twist at the end hooked me!

Recommend: For anyone who wants a quick read with natural LGBTQ representation, and enough twists to keep you reading.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review,

I have adored both of Adrienne Tooley's previous books (Sweet & Bitter Magic and Sofi and the Bone Song), so when I saw this one, I knew I had to read it. I do, after all, have such a soft spot for sapphic fantasy. This one, as it says up front, is definitely a slow burn, and it leaves things on quite a cliffhanger, so I am desperate for the next installment. The characters were well-written, and their motivations clear (if a little morally grey). My one major issue was the... I guess... "villain" reveal? The character wasn't set up enough for me to feel shock at his "betrayal". (The villain in this case definitely does not see themselves as a villain, and things are left a little murky, I'm sure to be resolved in the next book, so yes, I am using air quotes liberally here.)

If you also enjoyed Tooley's previous works, you'll want to pick this one up, too.

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I'm a big fan of Adrienne's other works. This one fell a little flat for me. I just had trouble connecting to the characters.

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An emotional new fantasy from an author whose work I really enjoy. After loving her first two books, I was so excited to be chosen to review an ARC of The Third Daughter by Adrienne Tooley. And it's my favorite of her books!

Elodie feels overlooked for her younger sister Brianne, the prophesied Third Daughter. But all she can see is how Brianne is manipulated by the powerful church that operates in their kingdom. She takes drastic measures to try to save her sister. This leads to an encounter with Sabine, whose tears are magical and the only thing keeping her family from financial ruin. But when the spell goes wrong, Elodie's sister is stuck in a deep sleep and Sabine's family falls apart. They have to team up to make things right.

Both of these characters could be considered antiheroes in a way, but especially Elodie. It's hard to empathize with her sometimes because she has a hard time showing her emotions, but she definitely does have them - she's just learned to bottle them up in order to fulfill her role. She cares deeply about her family, and wants to save Brianne from being a puppet.

I think a lot of us sensitive types can relate to Sabine, who feels ruled by her sadness. Elodie is the first person to accept Sabine for who she is, sadness and all, and this is absolutely the trait Sabine deserves in a partner. It's a good message to be sending to teenage readers. You can find somebody who accepts you for who you are, darkness and all.

I found the dialogue clunky at times, but enjoyed how fast-paced the plot was. I think the book could have benefited from being 50-100 pages longer so that we could see Sabine and Elodie's relationship progress. As it stands, it's a bit instalovey, but I like them together and am willing to suspend my disbelief. There's also the "only one bed" trope which is always a win for me.

The theme of religion is pretty heavy throughout the book. It seemed to be pretty anti-religion at the start, but as the story progresses, we learn that the prophesied New Maiden is actually pretty cool and subversive. The church has just painted her as someone different in order to further their agenda. It definitely spoke to me as someone who has become jaded by religion but still believes in God. I think both believers and non-believers will find something to relate to in this book. It doesn't push one side or the other. I think there are similarities to Christianity, but it's not heavy-handed. The religion is very female-centered, which is a refreshing change.

There were some fantastic twists throughout the book, although I did guess one of them about halfway through. I don't think it's a bad thing to be able to guess plot twists, though. It means the author is doing a good job foreshadowing them rather than springing them on you out of thin air.

All in all, this book made me smile, feel, and think, and it took me away from my problems for a couple hours. Everything I want in a fantasy. I can't wait to read the second book!

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2.5-3 stars
This book had a tremendous amount of potential in its concept and world building, but ultimately fell short for me in execution.
What I did enjoy:
- the unique concept of the Third Daughter deity, and the position of Elodie as the cast out sister
- Sabine's "darkness" and its allegory for depression and mental illness; I don't often find depression represented so literally and openly, and I found it worked in this case. Her character growth into realizing the strength her emotions granted her bolstered the symbolism
- the political plot of blurred lines between church and state; the importance of the New Maiden as both a religious and power figure opened the door for intense critique of religious institutions and inequitable power structures.
What didn't work for me:
- the romantic connection between Sabine and Elodie; it was advertised as a slow burn romance and they were flirting the first time they met and basically together 3 days later. Which is fine! Just advertised incorrectly. I also didn't feel that they had much chemistry or connection beyond physical attraction and convenience of working together. There was no tension between them and I had no stake in their relationship as the reader.
- Elodie's decisions throughout the book; I love a morally grey, selfish character who knows she deserves power, but it felt like Elodie was not reckless due to her bold character, but due to lack of understanding or care of what was happening around her. It was hard to root for her when her impulsivity came off as rash instead of brave or clever.
- Tal's character was not introduced enough in the beginning of the book for the reader to understand or care for his character at the end. The drastic change Elodie is seeing in him is not evident to us; we are being told, not shown, that his character is important to Elodie and the plot
- The plot twists at the end- each girl had one, and I appreciated the split story structure and bouncing chapters for more tension, but Elodie's twist made little sense, not due to confusing plot but because explanation was not given at all. This contributed heavily to my perception of Elodie as reckless when she went along with it without asking a single question. The reveal at the end of the book felt ill-timed since the information was so obviously withheld earlier on to strengthen the impact of the final line of the book.

I enjoyed Tooley's writing style for the most part, and always enjoy a sapphic romance, but I think this one was missing the spark I look for in any sort of romantic pairing, and a fully fleshed out plot.

Thank you Netgalley and Christy Ottaviano Books for the early copy! The Third Daughter is out July 18th.

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I enjoyed this! I am always a fan of court politics in my fantasy books, and this was no exception. I think that the emotions in this story were so well realized and I loved the way the characters interacted with the world. This was a really compelling slow burn, queer romance and I cannot wait to get our physical copies in at my library because I think this is going to be a bit hit this summer!

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Thank you so much to NetGalley, Adrienne Tooley, and the publisher for giving me the chance to read this ARC!

Oh. My. Gosh. Okay, so I had this book on my 'want to read' shelf on Goodreads, so imagine my excitement when I was sent the Kindle ARC. I LOVED IT SO MUCH! God, this book was so freakin' good.

So, we have our two protagonists: Elodie, the eldest daughter who's definitely a bit bitter that she got usurped for the crown by her youngest sister, who's the prophesied New Maiden reborn. And then, we have Sabine, who's a girl from Harborside with magic in her veins and magical tears. Magic tears? I love the concept. Elodie wants to put her youngest sister into an enchanted sleep until she's old enough to actually rule because the Church is using her as a pawn, but whoops! The potion she purchased from Sabine actually turned out to be Sabine's tears, and now she's panicking because she can't wake her sister up. And, oh no! Sabine doesn't know how to fix it! These two become unlikely allies, and a teeny bit more. (Yay, sapphic rep!)

Honestly, I loved the storytelling and the worldbuilding. Everything flowed so seamlessly together, and I'm definitely going to be picking up the next book whenever it comes out. This was everything I hoped it would be, and more.

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Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions.
Adrienne Tooley knocks it out of the park! Let me tell you, this book is a double whammy of amazingness: top-notch characters and mind-blowing magic. Tooley has a knack for creating characters that aren't perfect and have lots of depth, and I like and appreciate that.
And the magic system? Unbelievably unique and personally spoke to my soul. I swear, there were moments that made me squirm because I felt them so deeply. It's got political intrigue to make your head spin, a Sapphic romance that sizzles at a tantalizingly slow pace, and plot twists that blindside you like a sneaky ninja.
I must admit, though, the second quarter of the book got a tad sluggish, hence the four stars instead of five. But hold onto your seats because that ending cliffhanger will have you begging for more. This book stole my heart, and I'm already itching for the next installment!

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Thank you TBR and Beyond tours for the chance to read this book.

My review will be posted on the 27th of July as part of the book tour. Until then I am leaving the average rating on the book.

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I read an eARC of The Third Daughter by Adrienne Tooley. Thank you, NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

This is a story about two young women: the daughter of a queen who feels cheated of the crown and the power that could have given her, and the daughter of an apothecary, who makes their potions more potent with her stored tears. This world is set where there was once a maiden, one who wouldn’t show up until a third daughter of a third daughter. The third daughter was born to the late queen, and then she was brought up by her father who says he gets visions from the original maiden.

When trying to keep the kingdom out of the church’s hands, and with the help of the apothecary’s daughter, the jilted princess puts the maiden in a sleep she can’t wake her from. Now the two make a deal to try and learn how to wake the sleeping queen and maybe learn some truths along the way.

The story is mostly a solid four-star, complicated but not as much as it seems to think it is. It has characters betraying each other, and making plans, but it’s like the princess never really considered what to do until she’s impulsively trying to get power back from the chamberlain. I get that her mother’s death was sudden, but while the chamberlain schemes, she just seems to react. Still, the story is fun, though the revelations are easy to guess.

The thing that really drives this down to a 3.5 for me is the ending, which I can’t really talk about in-depth as that would be spoilers, but basically, the ending is only twenty-percent actually wrapping up the book, and mostly bringing in a character I didn’t care about because they were in the past, trying to make me care, so that I’d care about the sequel. It’s actually really annoying how much the ending just feels like a setup for the sequel. Like, I don’t care this isn’t a standalone book, but the amount of things that just feel left to the wayside because “it’s for the sequel’ is insanely disappointing, and maybe would work for me if I had the second book immediately to read, but now means that I’ll probably forget this book way before the sequel is released, and makes me just not care.

So yeah, a fairly interesting book until the last but where I just feel sequel-baited and disappointed.

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The Third Daughter the first novel is a new Untitled series by Adrienne Tooley. In the Kingdom of Velle there is a prophecy for the third daughter. When the daughter, Brianne is born, this leaves the eldest daughter, Elodie, lost as her claim to the throne is gone. To get rid of Brianne, Elodie seeks out Sabine, an apothecary, who was supposed to provide a sleeping potion, however, things don’t end up exactly as they should. The two join forces to protect the future of the kingdom. Along with the two navigating the political environment, the two also have a growing slow-burn romance.

The general style of the novel is like Tooley’s other work, Sweet & Bitter Magic, so reading this novel made me think of the other one. I can potentially see some readers thinking they are too similar and others thinking they are not. I thought they have some overlap but remained independent stories. The story is mainly told from both Elodie and Sabine where their journeys begin separately before coming together. The pacing begins a little stronger before slowing a bit in the middle. This seems typical in a series, at least that I have read, where the novel hooks you in and then slows a bit before going quicker to get the reader excited to read the sequel. I do wish the middle was a little faster in pacing, but I can see the intent. There are a lot of questions for the sequel, The Second Son, to answer as the idea of the second son is still a mystery to me and the queen’s death is still suspicious. Overall, this was an interesting start to the series with a lot of potential for the sequels.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Christy Ottaviano Books, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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A prophecy, an oldest sister and a poor girl from the outskirts of the city have one thing in common. Save the third sister. A tale of religious and court politics, of true faith and accepting the darkness inside you. This book captures the feeling of sadness and depression in a physically form in sabines veins perfectly of what that mind and body ruining feeling. With a slow burn queer attraction this is definitely a good read!

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The Third Daughter is captivating. I breezed through it because of how emotionally moved I was. The ways that Tooley talks about sadness and the embracing of our emotions? Done for. This is a book which celebrates the importance of our feelings as well as knowing it's never too late to right history. Elodie and Sabine live in different worlds. Where her privilege has not allowed her to see the struggles that people like Sabine face. It was great to watch Elodie and Sabine get to know each other, to see the glimpses of each other's worlds.

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I think this had an interesting premise, entertaining themes, and decent representation but something that felt missing. Maybe the characters weren't fleshed out the best or the world building was lacking, but this slightly missed the mark for me.

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Elodie can do no wrong and I support all her decisions. With that being said this was a fun antiheroine and I really look forward to the second book. I loved watching our two main characters team up!

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A big thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.
With dynamic characters, LGBTQ+ representation, romance, a dark prophecy, political intrigue, and magic tears, this book was always a guarantee to sweep readers off their feet! You will not want to miss this beautifully written fantasy story.

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Elodie, the eldest daughter of the late Queen, lost her claim to the crown thanks to the decree of an old prophecy. Instead, her younger sister, 13-year-old Brianne, will take the throne and Elodie will be ousted from her life as royalty. To make matters worse, because Brianne is so young, her scheming father will be the one who truly wields the power of the Throne until she comes of age.
Sabine and her family barely scrape by, making a living selling potions and occasionally Sabine’s own tears, which have magical properties than amplify potions or magic of any kind.

Elodie and Sabine cross paths when Elodie decides to use a potion to put Brianna into an enchanted sleep, a long sleep that will ensure that when she awakens, she’ll be old enough to make her own decisions as Queen. When the administered potion goes terribly awry, Sabine and Elodie will have to join forces to protect the future of the kingdom.

The story moves at a clipped pace which kept me going chapter to chapter with ease. The end of the book sets up the next book in the series with a clear purpose in mind.

I struggled a lot with the characters and the romance aspect. I didn’t find Elodie likeable at all (a sentiment that I think was not unintentional by the author) but the other characters weren’t lovable enough to “carry the team” so to speak. Because I wasn’t getting attached to the characters and couldn’t see why they’d be interested in one another, the romance element felt like it was being *told* to me rather than shown.

One of the big reveals seemed fairly predictable to me, but the other reveals seemed to come out of nowhere without any natural progression or lead-in, so in this way it fell short for me. I feel like there is probably a sweet spot somewhere between the two ends of that spectrum and when an author can do that well it really makes a book thrilling for me.

Thank you, Netgalley, for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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