Review: Three Dark Crowns, Kendare Blake

October 5, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: Three Dark Crowns, Kendare BlakeThree Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns #1
Published by Macmillan Children's Books on September 22nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 405
Source: Publisher
Amazon • Amazon UK • Book Depository

Three sisters. One crown. A fight to the death.

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 queens, one destined to rule, the others to die. It’s a harsh fate – triplets separated at the age of six and raised in separate camps, each with a special gift to be trained. In order for one of them to take the throne, they must kill their two sisters during their sixteenth year.

Katharine is a poisoner, forced to increase her immunities by eating poisons. Arsinoe is a naturalist, who should be able to call animals to her and bloom plants. Finally, Mirabella is an elementalist – the only one of the three queens who can actually use her gift.


The American cover

Each chapter in Three Dark Crowns follows a separate point of view – one of the queens or one of their entourage. With three separate locations around the island of Fennbirn, it takes a good portion of the book to keep track of all the characters, and get up to speed with what’s happening in each camp. Each queen has a guardian or mother figure, best friends who protect her and a love interest for herself or around her, making things confusing at times.

The twists and turns in this story are amazing, though. I never know what to expect, especially with such a dark premise to start with. There is plenty of politics and backstabbing, and the leaders of each faction are driving everything, dragging the reluctant queens along.

The world building is also vivid in the settings, the different types of magic and the complexity of the customs and rituals. It’s like a much larger epic fantasy has been packed down into 400 pages, and while I know detailed world building isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I loved it, especially once the Beltane Festival started and all the preparation came into play.

I really did want to give the ending of this book five stars but the beginning was slow and bogged down in complexity. Keep reading and give it a chance, though – the ending packs a punch. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next, in One Dark Throne!

I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan Aus in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

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