Goodreads summary of The Third Daughter by Adrienne Tooley (review below): A sweeping YA fantasy about legacy, betrayal, sisterhood, and politicizing emotion in the quest for power—all balanced by a slow-burn LGBTQ romance.
For centuries, the citizens of Velle have waited for their New Maiden to return. The prophecy states she will appear as the third daughter of a third daughter. When the fabled child is finally born to Velle’s reigning queen, all rejoice except for Elodie, the queen’s eldest child, who has lost her claim to the crown. The only way for Elodie to protect Velle is to retake the throne. To do so, she must debilitate the Third Daughter—her youngest sister, Brianne.
Desperate, Elodie purchases a sleeping potion from Sabine, who sells sadness. But the apothecary mistakenly sends the princess away with a vial of tears instead of a harmless sleeping brew. Sabine’s sadness is dangerously powerful, and Brianne slips into a slumber from which she will not wake. With the fates of their families and country hanging in the balance, Sabine and Elodie hurry to revive the Third Daughter while a slow-burning attraction between the two girls erupts in full force.
The Third Daughter By Adrienne Tooley-Review
This book, though! I admit that I went into The Third Daughter with very high expectations. The summary and first page (see my first line Friday) gave me strong Three Dark Crown vibes. And it did have some similarities- sibling bonds, political intrigue, and magic; it wasn’t really like Three Dark Crowns, which is just fine! Adrienne Tooley has written a YA fantasy stunner in The Third Daughter.
I have been struggling to read fantasy (both adult and YA). I seem to be caught in the middle where I seem to have grown out of YA, but the Adult Fantasies are just too much. So, I was thrilled that I found The Third Daughter so engrossing. I read it the day I started it (yesterday). First of all, the representation fits the plot; it isn’t forced. You have mental illness representations and a slow-burn sapphic romance between two characters from opposite ends of the world.
Being Bipolar (among other treated mental adventures, as I call them), I am very sensitive when authors include mental illness in their plot. I was delighted by how well Adrienne Tooley incorporated depression, trauma, and Anxiety into The Third Daughter. It wasn’t just about being sad. You could feel the weight of not just depression on Sabine’s shoulders. You also feel exhaustion and self-doubt. Then there is a literal internal voice that brings Sabine to a dark place of self-doubt, unworthiness, and constant blaming of herself for, well, everything. Speaking of emotions, the magic that results from Sabine’s sadness, her literal tears are magic is heartbreaking. Moreover, the politicization of emotions and magic is executed expertly.
Thank you to Hachette Audio Christy Ottaviano Books for my ARC and audio ARC of Adrienne Tooley’s The Third Daughter, which releases on July 18th.
Let’s talk about my emotions for a moment. You will spit nails at the beginning of The Third Daughter. Between the church’s manipulations over Brianne and the attempted dismissal of the oldest daughter, Elodie, to a faraway country, everything will make you want to throw The Third Daughter across the room in the best of ways. Then you are on an emotional see-saw throughout the rest of The Third Daughter. Adrienne Tooley’s writing gets under your skin and makes you feel each moment of the story. The cliffhanger will make you throw the book across the room and then have you come back bloody and bruised for book two.
The Third Daughter By Adrienne Tooley- Characters
Simply put, I loved them! I loved how we visited Brianne in her deep sleep. It brings an air of mystery. What plane she exists on, and what she is learning. Further, what does it even have to do with anything? Oh. It has to do with everything, but not learning what until the end of the book leaves you wondering while event after event continues. She is young and beyond impressionable. She is easily moved like a pawn. And that is why Elodie steps in.
While Elodie could be seen as power-hungry, she genuinely tries to protect Brianne and Velle from a manipulative church bent on ruling all. Elodie is a complicated character, definitely not your typical hero. Adrienne Tooley balances what you dislike and like about Elodie with precision. Things go awry when she buys what she thinks is a sleeping draft from Sabine. At that point, her love for Brianne begins to shine even as she still has an heir of arrogance about her.
One thing I love most about how all the characters are written is how they change throughout the book. When Elodie goes on her quest with Sabine, her friends and siblings are a specific personality. When she returns, they have dramatically changed. These changes match the plot perfectly. Adrienne Tooley’s brave writing will have you stunned and frustrated with each character.
The Third Daughter By Adrienne Tooley- Final Thoughts And Audiobook
My final thoughts on The Third Daughter? It definitely falls into the class of “It killed me, here, now you read it” books, and I resemble that remark. That is what I’m trying to tell you!
The audiobook is well-produced and narrated by Rebecca Lee. I haven’t heard her narrate a book before, but I definitely would love to listen to her again.