Monday, May 22, 2017

Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Title: Three Dark Crowns
Series: Three Dark Crowns #1
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Format: Hardback

Page Count: 398


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. (taken from

“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”

I'll admit that I was really disappointed when I saw how many people didn't care for this book. I was looking forward to its publication for months, but when many fellow reviewers didn't fall head over heels for Three Dark Crowns, I decided to push it toward the bottom of my TBR pile. It wasn't until my friend purchased it and encouraged me to give it a shot that I cracked the spine, and let me just say, I'm certainly glad that I did.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I'm a sucker for a good fantasy story, and Blake definitely provides one in this dark novel. Three sisters, one crown, and many expectations. There's a dash of politics, a smidgen of romance, and of course, some real kick-butt heroines. I was already a fan of Kendare Blake after reading Anna Dressed in Blood, and Three Dark Crowns reaffirmed my appreciation for her writing.

The story is told in alternating points of view, switching mostly between the three sisters but also covering some of the sisters' companions. At first, I found the constant changes a little jarring, but I quickly adjusted to the different POVs as I got to know the characters more.

The main reason I couldn't award this book five stars was the first third of the story. Although the premise immediately hooked me, I just felt like I was waiting for something interesting to happen for the first 100 pages or so. I know I'm not the only one who felt this way, and I have seen several readers say they didn't bother finishing the book because they couldn't get through the first part, which I think is a terrible shame. If you're considering reading Three Dark Crowns, trust me when I say that things speed up. The drama, the characters, the story: everything really gets better the more you read.

That ending... Phew, Blake really knows how to get people to buy her next book. It was brilliant, and I'm definitely going to get my hands on the sequel as soon as it hits shelves.

Overall, I'm glad that I decided to give Three Dark Crowns a shot, even though many others didn't love it. It's original and entertaining, and I can't help but feel that the series is going to get better and better with each installment. If you're a fan of dark fantasy and strong characters, then I'd definitely recommend this novel.


^Basically me cackling at the big reveal Blake sets up. We're in for a ride with this series.