Title: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns Series
Published: September 20th, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)The summary of Three Dark Crowns form Goodreads:
Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.
If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.
Let me tell you how much of an emotional rollercoaster this book was. I mean…first of all, just the idea that one sister must kill the other two in order to become queen. That sets you up for a spin right from the description. But everything about this book drew me in and I was not prepared for that ride.
What I Liked:
The idea behind this book is brilliant. The execution of it is even better. I was worried that Blake was going to set the book up so it was clear who the reader’s favorite should be. That, as bad as the idea of killing one’s sisters is, that two of the sisters would just be awful and that would make it easier to understand. Instead, Blake made all three sisters interesting, powerful in their own way, and I’m somehow rooting for all three to become queen.
The secondary characters are just as wonderful. I loved that Arsinoe has a best friend, that there’s more to her life that just preparing for the future in which she might have to destroy her sisters. She’s happy just being herself; she doesn’t lust after the crown. She’d be content to be a normal, powerless individual. The family taking care of Katherine clearly care for her, in a strange way, but they also find her weakness as a poisoner disappointing. They’ve been in power for a while and don’t want to give that up. Mirabella clearly understands her power, but she also doesn’t fit the power-hungry image others have created of her.
All three girls are not what they appear. They are misrepresented and misunderstood. They are struggling to find their way in a world where they don’t have many choices. I love all three girls and, while I want to see how their stories play out, I’m also incredibly nervous for them.
The world Blake created is also beautiful, in its dark way. It’s not a land of joy and happiness. Yes, people find ways to be happy in life, but there’s a darkness to the land as well. Everyone knows that the queen comes to power through murder. That’s going to set a bleak tone no matter what. I’m anxious to delve further into this world.
What I Didn’t Like:
The book started a little slow, but it quickly picked up. It wasn’t slow enough for me to mark down a star, though.
I’d Recommend To:
If you love a dark tale, with fantastic characters and excellent world-building, I’d suggest this book. Fans of Blake should also give it a try.
You Can Purchase Here:
Barnes and Noble
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.