Wait, that’s it?! No fair!
So this is the prequel novella to the Three Dark Crowns series, explaining why all oracle queens are now drowned at birth. Exquisitely written, as always, it also does a mean thing to us readers: it sets up a terrific protagonist then has everything go terribly wrong not only for her but for all the royal oracle babies who come in her wake. I really, really hope Kendare Blake means to redress this injustice in the main series, tho given her commitment to political realism, poor Queen Elsabet will remain forever wronged.
And I kinda wanted Elsabet to just fucking lean in to her “madness.” I mean, if they think she’s crazy anyway, why not just stab one of her many deserving visitors or plot actual treachery? It’s not like they could have her executed! But I get that she’s a good person etc. etc. and it’s realistic but oh, my heart hurts for her.
I should just go ahead and borrow The Young Queens now even tho I’m mad and sad for Elsabet. Ms Blake just writes so well that I want to keep reading despite my feeeeeelings!