Release Date: September 20th 2016
Series: Three Dark Crowns #1
Genres: Epic, Family, Fantasy, Royalty, Siblings, Young Adult Fiction
When kingdom come, there will be one.
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.
It’s not often I have animosity towards inanimate objects but THREE DARK CROWNS definitely tested me. While I loved Kendare Blake’s other books for the dark tones, characters with depth, and unpredictable plotlines, THREE DARK CROWNS felt like the opposite of all that. I was a very frustrated reader.
Starting off, this book had a strong start. We are introduced to one of the queens, Katharine, and she was tested on her ability to ingest deadly poisons without side effects. It made me think, “Oh boy, this book is kind of dark – I like it!” But that didn’t last long. Soon it was “Oh boy, if they talk about one more meal or their day to day lives one more time I swear-” because I was the epitome of bored, especially because I was promised such a dark book. And this pacing and lack of action continued for a 75% of the book.
THREE DARK CROWNS mainly just revolved around how each queen is not at all what she seemed – forget killer queens and a battle of life and death. Instead we have random
frustrating romances, heroines that do not think about how their decisions affect others, and somewhat whiny teenage girls that don’t really have an evil bone in their body. “Not what I signed up for” is how I would describe this book.
Bec’s 5 Things:
Apologies if I repeat anything Alise said. I’m writing this without having read her review first, so you can get a proper idea of my thoughts.
One of the
few main things I enjoyed about THREE DARK CROWNS was the world. A little island where three triplets, each with a different type of power, battle it out for the thrown every generation. Sounds gloriously violent in the first place, and the addition of different types of magic only interests me more. The naturalist magic was probably the one I liked the most because animal familiars!!! I feel like I’m betraying my love of elemental magic with that haha. A power I would love to see more of is the poisoners, because as far as battles go it seems the most useless and there were teasers about the poisoners also being healers (which I would love to explore more). There was also low magic, which reminded me of alchemy in a sense (so many FMA flashbacks)
Arsinoe was my favourite queen
To me, Arsinoe was the only queen that was remotely interesting. Katharine was okay at the start until she became infatuated and boring. Mirabella was kind of meh, though it was nice to see that she still had some love for her sisters (well, her memory of them at least). But it was Arsinoe who had the most backbone and spirit, especially compared to the other two, which was why I enjoyed her sections most.
I almost DNFed
THREE DARK CROWNS was not a book that grabbed me. Despite the interesting world and magic, I had no driving desire to read it. Hell, I finished four different video games before I finished reading THREE DARK CROWNS. And all of this is because it was slow. Things were being set up which was necessary, but there weren’t any incredibly major plot points going on. It wasn’t until the Beltane festival (about 70% in to the story) where things started getting more interesting.
There are a few different romantic subplots going on in THREE DARK CROWNS and most of them were so incredibly frustrating. The only one I liked isn’t even a proper romance yet (it’s still developing in slow burn fashion). Katharine’s romance annoyed me because she was so sappy and they were always all over each other and ugh. The other one is a love triangle and OH MY GOD I HATED IT BECAUSE IT AROSE THROUGH REPETITIVE CHEATING
Spoilery rant: View Spoiler » GOD DAMN JOSEPH I SWEAR TO GOD. Jules was so devoted to him, but then he had to go mess around with Mirabella. I could forgive him for that very first time because he had almost drowned and was delirious. BUT HE KEPT SLEEPING WITH HER. ON MULTIPLE SEPARATE OCCASIONS. EVEN AFTER HE WAS BACK WITH JULES. Mirabella was also part of the issue because she didn’t even try to stop him despite knowing full well he was with Jules, she encouraged it! THAT IS NOT OKAY « Hide Spoiler
The last 10% of THREE DARK CROWNS was what I wanted the entire novel to be like. Suspense that put you on the edge of your seat, twists and turns I couldn’t begin to predict, and dark plot lines. This book would have been so much stronger if more of that had been established from the get go.
Overall THREE DARK CROWNS was a let down. So much potential was wasted on a slow beginning. The interesting world was dragged down by a plot that didn’t pick up until the 70% mark. Saying that, the last 10% was different altogether. Those final moments have me considering reading the sequel and I can only hope that will manage to maintain the suspense for the entire novel.