Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Synopsis: 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. (Source: Goodreads)
I was very excited about this book! The plot seemed like something that was right up my alley with three strong main female characters, what more could you want in a book! In all seriousness though, the plot seemed really interesting with the ‘only one can live’ plot line, and I was very excited to see how it would be set up.
I really enjoyed the 3rd person perspective on the story, instead of it just switching between the 1st person POV between each of the Queens, which would have gotten really repetitive. I liked being able to also get into the minds of some of the smaller characters instead of just sticking to the three mains.
One of the problems I had while reading this book though was the amount of characters there were. I’m the kind of person that gets confused when there are a ton of characters to remember and Three Dark Crowns was one of the books where I struggled to remember who was who and why they were important. I think one of the causes of this was there was very little explanation of a lot of the smaller characters, so every time one popped into the story I had to either try and go back to where I think they had shown up before, or just keep reading in hopes of remembering who they were. As well, I feel like some over the characters were over described, while some were either barely or never described (I wish the priestesses had more of a description). William Chatworth Jr. (Billy/Junior) was described by 2 of the queens, but almost in the exact same way. When I read that description again, I thought maybe I marked where I left off last wrong and I was rereading a part of the book I have already read.
As well, another issue I had with this book was the timeline of it. Both the plot, and the book itself, constantly mention the last one standing/fight to the death event, but it never really explained WHEN it was going to happen, instead it just kept mentioning that is was going to happen, along with a bunch of other big events. I kept waiting for the plot to move forward a bit closer to these events, but it wasn’t until about the last little bit that it gets into the events. Even then, I was really disappointed when the fight/game never happened in this book.
As far as the plot goes, I think it was really unique, but the way it was written makes the ending of the book very predictable. It’s always really unfortunate when a really interesting and unique book becomes predictable, because then my interest in reading it decreases. Saying this though, there were still a lot of really shocking moments in the book, which I really enjoyed reading. There were a few things that I wish were explained more, such as the three queens’ upbringings and how everything worked with when they were born and separated (were they separated right away? did they spend a portion of their childhood together? it’s a little unclear), as well, I wish the world was a bit more explained, I liked the tidbits of what the “mainlanders” though about the queens and I wish we got more of a view from the people who lived on the mainland and what they thought about the “islanders”.
I know it seems like I mentioned a lot of negative things about the book, but I really did enjoy the story. I think Kendare Blake is very creative and imaginative and made the three main queens really enjoyable to read about and learn more about. I also enjoy how every reader has a certain queen that they want to win (I’m still deciding hehe). I would probably recommend this book to people who I know would enjoy the genre or would have read a similar kind of book, but not so much to everyone.
I also want to mention my frustration with the cover (this doesn’t factor into my review at all). First of all, the cover is GORGEOUS. It was one of the reasons I bought the book. BUT the cover, for some reason, gets dirty with fingerprints :(. The texture of the dust jacket just picks up every little bit of dirt and fingerprints and its impossible to get it clean. This is just me being nitpicky, but it’s really frustrating to see such a pretty cover get dirty like this 😦