I'm SO sad about this. Three Dark Crowns has an incredible premise: three triplets queens are born, each with a different gift: one's a naturalist, one's an elemental, and one's a poisoner. When they turn 16, they have to fight to the death for their crown. Like???? DOESN'T THAT SOUND AMAZING? The potential was ridiculously glorious, but Blake didn't live up to it. The characters were two-dimensional, we got zero world-building or history on this plot (why are they supposed to kill each other? Who started this? Why can't they all reign in their respective territories?) and the writing was awkward and formal. Also, the plot was lacking. The ending had promise, but still. The build-up was poorly done.
But! This is one of those books where people either really liked it or really didn't, so you be the judge.
I recently did some trading on twitter, and got an ARC of this. I had been eyeing Raeder's work for a while now, but never really got the chance to buy it. It wasn't high on my priority, ya know? But the opportunity presented itself (in an ARC format, which is always more precious to me), and I snagged it. And was extremely disappointed. The writing was beautiful and flowery, but the characters. Vada is one of those kinds of people that I don't understand. Even being in her head doesn't help me. She's dramatic and rude, and would treat most people like shit (like Ellis) and then would be shocked when they wouldn't want to be around her. She was too prideful. Those kinds of characters never sit well with me, and Cam Girl was no exception.
How to Hang a Witch by Ariana Mather
I got 20 pages into this before I had to put it down. Sam was so odd. She was a spitfire, ready to verbally (or physically) throw down with someone if they pissed her off. I love those kinds of characters. But her inner dialogue was so cringey. Literally, her through processes were so unoriginal and bland, she would think things like, "Oh no! I hope that incident didn't happen because of me." and shit like that. There was zero personality, which couldn't save the book for me, intriguing plot or not.