Title: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns
Publication Date: September 2016
Genre(s): Fantasy, Young adult
A young queen stands barefoot on a wooden block with her arms outstretched.
Three dark queens
are born in a glen,
sweet little triplets
will never be friends.
Three dark sisters
all fair to be seen,
two to devour
and one to be Queen.
Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, one set of triplets is born, each in line for one crown. Each sister possesses a different magical power — one is born a poisoner, one an elemental, and another a naturalist. The triplets are raised separate from each other, spending their whole lives honing their powers. When they turn sixteen, they must fight to the death for the crown. But there are rumors going around this generation, that this generation is a Sacrificial Year. This would mean two queens are weak and one is strong, making her the true queen. Are the rumors true? One thing is for sure — this won’t be a typical Ascension Year.
As far as plots go, this one sounded incredibly enticing and I was beyond excited to receive it as my first OwlCrate book. It’s been ages since I’ve read a good fantasy, and this one sounded so promising! …and then I read it, and was let down. I mean, I started it two months ago. Sure, I had a lot of distractions and took a lot of breaks, but this book should not have taken that long to read. It took that long because, sorry, it was boring. It was not as enticing as the synopsis made it out to be. I couldn’t get into it so I kept putting it down. I wanted more action and excitement, but the story dragged. Each chapter focused on a different sister, but the whole thing was told in third person. It was slow going until the queens finally started interacting with each other. I’d say the last 25% of the book is actually entertaining and worth reading. I gotta say, though, that last quarter is almost enough to convince me to read the sequels… Almost. I’m still not convinced. Those twists at the end… I’m actually still reeling from them. Wow.
There are far too many characters in this book… so I’m just gonna focus on the three sisters. Let’s start with the first character we’re introduced to: Katherine, the poisoner. She is excellent at creating poisons, but consuming them isn’t exactly her forté, making her known as one of the weaker queens. I found her part of the story to be the least interesting, though I didn’t necessarily dislike her.
Arsinoe, the elemental, doesn’t seem to have any gift at all. She should be able to grow things at the snap of her fingers, and she should have found her familiar already (an animal who shares a deep, spiritual bond with all elementals). Though her part of the story was the most interesting, it was also heavily focused on Jules, her friend and mentor. Luckily, Arsinoe and Jules team up to make for a pretty great story. What she lacks in elemental magic, Arsinoe makes up for using low magic.Of course, Arsinoe is also considered a weak queen.
That leaves Mirabella, the elemental and the strongest queen of the three, yet the only one who seems to remember her sisters before they were separated. Though she is incredibly talented in controlling the elements (aside from water…), she desperately does not want to kill her sisters, despite the rules. Her story wasn’t as interesting as Arsinoe’s, but far more fast-paced than Katherine’s. I really liked that she was the only sister of the three to think of her sisters as people rather than her enemies.
The writing wasn’t bad. This was the first of Kendare Blake I’ve read (or ever heard of) but she seems to be mildly popular. Her idea was super interesting, but she could have executed it a lot better. Her story was crazy at the end — I wish she could have used that kind of storytelling from the beginning. It wasn’t all bad — it was slow, but like I said, the ending was pretty sweet. The story definitely had some Game of Thrones mixed with Hunger Games vibes. Still not sure if I’ll read the sequel, but we’ll see… Thanks, OwlCrate, for the chance to read this book! Though I really hope the next book I read it a little better. Looks like this will be my last book of 2016! Thanks for following, guys, and have a happy new year!