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.
If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.
I bought this book a while ago but kept forgetting about it (not intentionally, of course). My friends and I (shout out to the squad) do this thing where we pick a book to read at the same time and this was the one we chose last winter. Our plan didn’t really work out the way we wanted it to: one friend read it before the other two and we just kept putting it off. Well, that’s not the case anymore seeing as I have now read it!! It’s too bad that I didn’t get to read this with my two friends because it would’ve made the experience a lot more fun. Overall, it was a pretty good read. There were a lot of things about the book I enjoyed and some that I probably could’ve done without. *claps hands* Let’s get down to it!
- The premise of this book is probably one of the most unique things I’ve seen in YA in a long time. There are so many books where you have your typical medieval-type setting with someone vying for a crown, whether they were born into it or they’re the secret heir or they use other means to achieve the crown. But here, we already have our three queens; the twist is two of them have to die…..at the hand of the reigning sister. That’s some dark stuff right there. I mean usually you expect at least one person to die in a YA novel but you’re never told who it is because of surprise and suspense and all that jazz. But you know that either Katharine, Arsinoe, or Mirabella will 100% die because they have to; that’s the law as of now. To me, this is points to Blake’s creativity and imagination. I admire the fact that she was able to come up with such a dark and unique premise for her story.
- Before I started the book, I expected the POV to mainly be focused on the three queens and that’d it be a solid formula of going from Katharine to Arsione to Mirabella and then repeating itself over and over again. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Yes, there was a lot of focus on each of their POVs but there was a lot of focus on the other characters too which helped to give you a better understanding of the story. You got to see how each of the fostering guardians dealt with their respective queen’s situation and what they thought of her, how they really cared about her. Sometimes when I’m reading a book with multiple POVs like this there’s always one that bothers me or one that I felt was unnecessary but here I felt like they were all important and overall they kept me pretty happy.
- There are a couple plot twists near the end that make your heart stop because you can’t wrap your head around why that happened! And then there’s no true explanation for it!! Obviously they’re set up like that as teases for the next book and I can confidently tell you that these teases are doing their job.
- There are two types of bad writing: one where the author loses either the plot or the characters (sometimes both) and one that’s bad grammatically. In this case, it’s the latter. You know when you’re writing an academic essay and you cannot use contractions because it’s “unprofessional”? That’s kind of what happened here. Ok, I understand that in the setting of the book that they live in a proper-ish society and the girls are training to potentially be queen so they have to speak in a proper manner but it just drove me nuts. I noticed that with Arsinoe and in Wolf Spring that the characters had a more comfortable way of speaking, and used contractions occasionally, but in Katharine and Mirabella’s parts it was strictly prim and proper. This kind of writing, for me at least, makes me want to lose interest because it gives me a headache. It makes the book seem more stiff than it needs to be and can sometimes be harder to read.
- There is a bit of an unnecessary love triangle but I’m not gonna tell you who it’s between because that would be spoilers and I’d never do that. But as someone who hates love triangles more than anything, I’m giving you all the warning that I never got. It’s there, it’s kind of annoying, and I’m not a fan. It kind of helps further the stories of those involved (minus the guy because I couldn’t care less about him) so I suppose that’s ok. But overall, I didn’t really need it.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- Although the book can be slow at times, it definitely has you thinking. You’re always trying to figure out who has the advantage and think about potential plot twists. This book keeps you on your toes and the ending is a perfect set up for the sequel.
BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Pages: 398 (Hardcover)
What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!