Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake | Review #YA
I received this book for free from the mentioned source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns #1
Published by: HarperTeen on September 20th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, YA
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
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.
Three potential queens, one destined to rule, all expected to kill. Three Dark Crowns is a guessing game of excitement.
Three Dark Crowns was a surprise gem for me. Lately, I’ve become very selective over the books I choose to read because of time constraints and my increasing desire to return to the realm of adult novels, which have become my primary focus for the last few months. However, when I read the first chapter of Three Dark Crowns, I couldn’t stop. Even though the world building won’t rock your socks, there’s still something fascinating about the story woven within the pages.
Three Dark Crowns tells the story of triplet sisters, Katharine, Arsinoe and Mirabella with special abilities, and one who is fated to rule the kingdom of Fennbirn. Separated from each other at an early age, the sisters are forced to live in isolated parts of the kingdom in order to train their gifts — in preparation to one day kill each other. A bit morbid but very interesting last man standing sort of battle. Over the course of the novel we follow each sister throughout her daily life as she hones her skills and get to learn — somewhat — about the different lifestyles of each distinct group she represents.
The first queen we’re introduced to is, Katharine a poisoner, tasked with consuming large amounts of poison and learning how to poison her enemies. For the last two years, the kingdom’s been controlled by a poisoner queen and the Black Council who are disliked by mostly everyone. However, Katharine’s gift is extremely week and because of this the people entrusted with her care poison her daily to build up her immunities. Which has pretty much backfired considering their future queen is covered in scars and still has yet to master her gift.
Second, we have Mirabella, an elemental who’s bestowed with the power to control natural elements, wind, water, and fire. She is the strongest of the three and has gained tremendous support within her section of the island and of those at the temple.
Lastly, we have Arsinoe a naturalist, who, unfortunately, has yet to develop her gift. She’s supposed to be able to summon an animal called a familiar, make plants grow, and have control over animals in general. Alas, she cannot and is seen as the weaker of the bunch. But where she lacks in naturalist power she makes up for with her strong determination and fierce heart. She’s loyal to her friends and the people she loves and often tries to protect everyone. This, in turn, has tremendous consequences for the people around her.
Each of these sisters has mixed feelings about the lives they lead and what’s expected of them. Knowing that you have to kill your flesh and blood takes its toll on their daily lives and forces them to grow up fast. While reading the book, it’s difficult to decide who to root for because of the way they’re forced to live and really, how can you want anyone so young to die. I didn’t have a favorite and often times felt drawn to each of them. Gosh, they all needed a hug. The only real struggle I had while reading Three Dark Crowns was the lack of world building. I don’t feel that I was as immersed within the world as I would have liked; however, I continued to read because I desperately wanted to know who would win. Which sister actually had the guts to kill the other.
Overall, I enjoyed Three Dark Crowns. I found the characters entertaining — often the side characters held my attention more than the sisters — and the plot engrossing enough to keep me guessing. Some may find this book difficult to read because of the lack of world building and that’s a reasonable reaction to have because let’s face it, there is none. Zip. With a world that’s presented as a grim nightmare, you’d expect there to be a darker vibe. The backstory was vague at best and there might be something magical going on underneath but what, I have no idea. But, if you can push past it and get to the mystery of the story, you might find something you like. And after that cliffhanger ending … ugh, you’ll be compelled to read the second book. I definitely recommend giving Three Dark Crowns a try.