Double Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

December 27, 2016 Review 20 ★★

Double Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 416
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.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Alise’s Review:

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.

Interesting world

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.


Infuriating romance

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 »

Strong(er) ending

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.

In Summary

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.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.3

20 Responses to “Double Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake”

    • Bec

      The romance really pissed me off. There was a lot less violence than I expected, honestly. If you do decide to read it I hope you enjoy it more than we did!

    • Bec

      It is very disappointing :( At least you have warning now (if you still decide to read it) and can adjust or expectations. It might help you enjoy it more.

    • Bec

      It has been receiving very mixed reviews all round.

      There have been a few series where the first book was shitty, but the last part and the sequels were fantastic! Falling Kingdoms comes to mind. Hopefully this is the case because I really wanted to enjoy these.

    • Bec

      It sucks because it had so much potential :( If the reviews for the sequel are any good, maybe give it a chance then but otherwise you’re not missing anything special yet.

  1. Ethan

    This sounds like a classic case of a strong premise that doesn’t end up being fulfilled. I appreciate both of your perspectives. It seems like this book just fails to capture the reader.
    Ethan recently posted…Cujo by Stephen King

    • Bec

      The ending was absolutely fantastic and actually bumped my rating up a bit. I would have binged the entire book if it were all like the ending.

    • Bec

      It sucks when a good author has a bit of a flop novel :/ Hopefully this is a one of and her other books are better (I’ve still only read the Anna duology)

    • Bec

      I hope you enjoy it more than we did! At least reading the mixed reviews beforehand means you can adjust your expectations accordingly and maybe that will lead to a better reading experience than we had.

  2. Kelly

    I wasn’t able to push through this one… while the concept was strong enough but the execution was so frustrating. The characters just weren’t engaging, and even after 100 pages it didn’t feel like the plot was really going anywhere. I’ve been pondering giving it another try, but after reading how frustrating if continued to be, I might just give it a pass.
    Kelly recently posted…Review: Aerie

    • Bec

      Yepppp it was super slow and dragging on. I almost put it down a number of times. If I were you I wouldn’t bother trying again until the sequel is out/ if the second book is better.

  3. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    This book’s reception has been ALL OVER the place but honestly, now that I know that both you girls felt either ‘meh’ or worse about it, I’ll be skipping it altogether. If one of you had loved it, it’d be different but as it is, I trust you both enough to say that this probably isn’t for me. GREAT dual reviews though ♥
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…2016 End of the Year Survey

    • Bec

      Our reading tastes are similar enough I think your decision to skip it is a good one. If the sequel is any good (I’ll be attempting it at some point thanks to that ending) then maybe give it a go.

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