Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 398
“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.