Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Published by HarperTeen on September 20, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 416 Format: ARC Source: BEA
In 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.
I acquired this ARC from the publisher at Book Expo America. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.
Three Dark Crowns was my first book by Kendare Blake and with a description like the one above I knew I needed to read it. The island of Fennbirn is a treacherous place with multiple factions vying for power and the crown is up for grabs. Three sisters, one crown, life or death. All the promise of an excellent new series but it fell a little off the mark for me. I did enjoy it though so let’s get into the details!
First of all, I absolutely loved the world of Fennbirn that Blake created within these pages. It held both a unique political structure and an intriguing magical system. Always three twins, always three different powers. Poisoners, naturalists, and elementals all rallying around their respective prospect. Not to mention the strange relationship between Fennbirn and the mainland which provides consorts for the future Queen. It’s multi-faceted and kept me captivated throughout.
Now onto the three sisters and their friends. Mirabella, Katharine, and Arsinoe were very different from each other but I didn’t find myself becoming particularly attached to any of them. I honestly cared more about the side characters especially Jules, Joseph, and Billy. The naturalists felt the most developed of the three factions and it actually made me like Arsinoe more for their interactions. I think so many characters and factions actually made it hard to find standouts.
I actually really struggled with the writing in Three Dark Crowns. It wasn’t bad by any means, I think it just lacked the right voice. It rubbed me the wrong way, especially in the beginning. I rarely, if ever, even consider DNFing a book, but the thought did cross my mind a couple of times early on with this one. Thankfully I didn’t, otherwise I would have missed out on a pretty good story and a pretty twisty ending.
Overall Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake was an enjoyable read but I did want more from it. There was a lot of information to take in and not a lot seemed to happen until the end. It was a great set up though, introducing all the major players and a brilliantly created world. I look forward to the rest of the series and will recommend this as long as you’re in it for the long haul.
So are you excited for Three Dark Crowns? Would you rather be a poisoner, naturalist, or elemental? Let me know in the comments below!