Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake | Book Review

three-dark-crownsAuthor: Kendare Blake

Series: Three Dark Crowns #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Format: Hardcover

Page Count: 398

Rating: ★★★★☆

“I want revenge.” She whispers, and her fingers trail bloody streaks down Natalia’s arms.
“And then I want my crown.”  


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.


Three Dark Crowns is a book that seems to promise an exciting fight to the death between triplet queens who were separated at birth. That is not exactly what is delivered, although what you receive is still quite exciting and fun to read if you give it time.

This book truly suffers from a slow and difficult to read beginning. I have never read a fantasy book where I was extremely confused at first. The way the book begins, I almost felt like I was intruding on someone’s life. There is so many new words and characters to learn. The amount of characters thrown at you in the very beginning is astounding. However, it gets WAY better. I promise.

I’ve read a lot reviews that state how the person DNF’ed the book after the first 100 or so pages. I almost agreed with them, as I was very close to DNF’ing it myself. I know what you’re thinking… a four star rating for a book that was almost a DNF? Hear me out. If you push through the first 150 pages, things get really good, really quick.

Something clicked for me after that point. I suddenly felt way more in tune with the characters, and could feel their emotions and follow along with their thoughts. The world became complete, and I got sucked into the story. Once you get the feel for Arsinoe, Katharine, Mirabella, Jules, and the rest of the lot, the story becomes lots of fun.

The book centers around the set up of the competition between the sisters. It’s not quite what I was expecting going into the story, but once I accepted that the competition wasn’t going to happen, I quite enjoyed it overall.

There is loads of political intrigue, and various plot twists scattered throughout the story, and you all know I’m a sucker for that type of thing. Some people said they guessed the big plot twist in the end, but I am clearly oblivious to those types of things, and was surprised by the end. Actually, the whole ending of the book is AMAZING. You get to see Arsinoe, Mirabella, and Katharine interact with each other for the first time since they were kids and see the tensions between them.

The characters are very solid themselves. It takes a while for the character growth to develop and feel attachments to them, but it certainly comes. Arsinoe was probably my favorite queen to read about because it seems that she has no powers what so ever, and then dabbles in low magic. Although, at time it did feel like the story was more about Arsionoe’s guardian, Jules. I liked Jules, but I cared more about the Queen’s story. Mirabella and Katharine are also fantastic characters, and I can tell that their stories are going to be super interesting in the next book.

Overall, Three Dark Crowns is not the strongest first book in a series, but it creates such a solid base for the rest of the series to build on since nothing is rushed. In hindsight, I’m quite glad most of the book was the set up for the series. It has simple, yet beautiful writing with a great cast of characters. I really do recommend this book if you can get past the slow start, because I promise it’s worth it after that.


12 thoughts on “Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake | Book Review

  1. I’ve read a few books with some really slow starts, but I usually try to push through because you never know if the story gets better unless you read it haha. I’m glad you didn’t DNF it 😀 It’s a bit disappointing to hear that there won’t be a competition but I’m curious to see how the author goes about it. This one’s been on my TBR for a bit, so hopefully I can get to it before the year ends LOL. Lovely review as always, McKenzie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Azia! I was also a bit disappointed at first about the competition not happening, but there are actually so many different events that lead up to the “main event” so it’s kinda worth it. Now the author has done all the set up, so we know all the characters and can focus solely on the competition next book! You’ve got 11 months, but who knows what happens during that 😂


  2. I was so worried about this one, but ended up enjoying it very much! I thought I’d be able to predict what was going to happen, but was repeatedly surprised (though I could have done without a certain romantic subplot). Katharine was my favourite queen – I’m keen to see how she develops in the next book. I feel as though a lot of the negative responses may because the blurb is misleading… whoever wrote it highlighted the Hunger Games-ish contest, when Three Dark Crowns is actually the prelude.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A prelude is a perfect way to put it! If by certain romance, you’re hinting at Mirabella and Joseph, I definitely agree! Although I read another review that their attraction might’ve been from the low magic spell that Arsinoe stopped in the beginning of the book, because there never seemed to be HUGe repercussions from that. I’m definitely so so excited for Katharine’s story!! I read that last line that she said so many times.


  3. We have the exact same thoughts on this! I really thought the action was going to happen in this book so the first 150 pages were super slow. And like you, I almost DNF’d it and then I found myself surprisingly attached to the characters and there were some interesting plot developments that made me keep going.

    The last half of the book was great and I’m really eager to see what happens next!

    Liked by 1 person

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