Published by HarperTeen on September 20th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood will devour her latest novel, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen.
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.
Three Dark Crowns is about three princesses, each with a different “gift/power”. In order to become Queen, one princess must kill her other two sisters in cold blood. Pretty dark right? That’s what I thought when I first read the synopsis which completely sparked my interest.
I LOVE the way this book starts, it is probably the reason why I like Katherine so much. The group of people in charge of raising her poison her every day. I cringed at their treatment of Katherine but I also appreciated how it added to the darkness of the story. Katharine’s gift as a poisoner is weak and nonexistent. Even so, she is forced to eat poisonous food, which reeks havoc with her thin body.
Katharine is considered to be the weakest and smallest of the potential Queens. Even her keepers don’t think she stands much of a chance. I, on the other hand, am completely on #TeamKatharine. She is strong-willed, determined and cunning. Katharine also has a type of viciousness to her that I can’t help but love. She also has the most adorable pet snake named Sweetheart that she sometimes wears as a bracelet. Freaking adorable.
Arsinoe also has a “weak” gift (she’s a naturalist). I can’t quite say why exactly she is not one of my favorite, but her best friend Jules I love completely. Arsinoe does not seem interested in being Queen. Jules and her family are in charge of Arsinoe and they try their hardest to help Arsinoe awaken her power. Arsinoe might have a few things up her sleeve and with how things ended I can’t wait to see how things turn out for her.
Mirabella is the sister with the most powerful gift. Her gift allows her to call on all the elements bring down storms and control fire. I feel like she is the most mysterious because we do not see as much of her storyline. Her keepers are almost as bad as Katherine’s, but in her case she could totally kill them by calling on lightning to strike them dead. However, she does not do this. Mirabella tries to abide by the rules, but it seems like there is more to Mirabella than this first book can handle.
Besides the three princesses, Three Dark Crowns had a variety of characters. From the keepers of the princesses to the other islanders and the main landers/suitors. As I mentioned before, Jules is one of those secondary characters that I love and feel deserves a book of her own. I love the intricate web Kendare Blake weaves around all the characters in this book and how she connects them.
The world building in Three Dark Crowns is complex. It does take a while develop. Though this might have dragged the pacing of the book a bit, I think it does set up all the groundwork for the following books in the series. When I first started to read Three Dark Crowns I could have sworn it did not say anything about it being a multi-book series. I even started to get worried (as I got closer to the end of the book) that my digital ARC was missing pages or chapters (I still feel like it did miss a few things). Also, there are a few romances in this book, but they are strange and maybe unnecessary. It’s probably my least favorite part of the story. Both left me feeling a bit heartbroken and angry.
Was Three Dark Crowns as dark as I expected? It was fairly dark, but then again maybe for the average person, the premises of one sister killing her other sisters in order to be Queen is dark enough (I like things a bit more twisted and morbid). I would not mind a little more blood, or maybe a bit more poisoning. Overall, Three Dark Crowns left me wanting more. The ending blew me away and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. Hopefully, the series will get even darker, and have even more twists. If anything, Three Dark Crowns has convinced me that I need to read more of Kendare Blake’s books ASAP.
If you are already a fan of Kendare Blake’s books, you will want to pick this up right away. Lovers of YA fantasy who want a well developed, dark and intense read, you should definitely read Three Dark Crowns. Remember to give the world-building time to take shape because the last third and ending of this book makes it totally worth it.
Thank you, Harper Teen and Edelweiss for providing me with an advance copy in return for my honest review.