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.
If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.
Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by HarperTeen
Two and a half stars: A book with tremendous potential, but it falters with lack of plot movement shaky world building, too many points of view and very little action.
The time is nearing in Fennbirn when the three triplet queens will face off. Two will die by their own sister's hand, and the survivor will claim the throne. This is how it has been for generation after generation, and this is how it will be once again. Who amongst the three will be the Queen? Will it be Katharine, the poisoner, who is having trouble tolerating the weakest of positions? Or will it be Arsinoe, the Naturalist who still doesn't have an animal familiar, nor can she make a simple flower bloom. Perhaps it will be Mirabella, the Elementalist who is capable and strong and able to wield the elements. Alliances are being formed, enemies are facing off, and everyone is placing bets on who will be the Queen. Who amongst the sisters will prevail?
What I Liked:
- Kendare Blake is one of those writers who has mad talent, but she has failed to shine like she did in her debut book, Anna Dressed in Blood. I had high hopes for this one, and while there were some things that I liked, it was a bit of a disappointment. I will say, I was drawn in by the dark premise of three sisters pitted against one another to take the throne. This book does excel with detailed writing and an interesting story.
- Many readers are calling this one dark, and while I thought the concepts and some of the images were a bit dark, it wasn't over the top disgusting or gory. I rather enjoyed the vivid imagery that Ms. Blake puts forth, especially when it came to the poisoners and their poison feasts. If you like visual details and sensory descriptions, this is a book to try.
- This book features the three queens, and I liked that it switched back and forth amongst the three sisters. I was immediately hooked by Katharine's plight, the young poisoner queen who is covered in scabs, pale and wraithlike because she is constantly forced to ingest poison to build up immunities. Mirabella was also interesting with her elemental abilities. I liked getting to know the sisters and learn about their talents.
- There is a lot going on in this one, plenty of plotting and planning, making you wonder who is going to win the throne. I was always guessing as to who was evil and diabolical and who was going to be the force behind the queen that seized the throne. Talk about political intrigue!
And The Not So Much:
- Sigh.... I don't know where to start with what went wrong with this one. I think the biggest problem was that the story doesn't really go anywhere. It starts out riveting and exciting, and I was hooked, but then around a quarter of the way in it starts flailing about, and then it suffers from too many view points, too much plotting and planning, and it finally drowns without any real development. I kept waiting for that big climatic moment to seize me, and it never happens, instead it sinks without anything happening. It ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, but by then I just didn't care anymore.
- At first, I enjoyed the changing view points between the three sisters, Katharine being my favorite, but after awhile many more perspectives came into the story, and it got to be too much. There were so many characters to keep track of, and not enough development for some of them that I got confused, and it caused me to lose focus. This is all third person narrative as well, so it didn't help. Especially at the end where the chapters are short and rapidly paced, changing voices constantly. It was too chaotic.
- There is supposedly romance in this one as each sister has a suitor. I didn't really care for any of the romances, especially the main one with Jules and Joseph. None of them had any spark or feelings and they were all just a mess.
- The world building is shaky. At first, I was intrigued by this world with the triplet queens fighting it out for the throne, but then everything got muddled and confusing. It needed more detail and development.
Three Dark Crowns is a book I was most eager to get my hands on as I know what a talented author Kendare Blake is. Unfortunately, this is book that has a great story and an exciting premise, but it suffers from a lack of pacing and development. The book goes nowhere, and there is all this buildup that fizzles with a cliffhanger, and I felt like nothing happened. Ms. Blake does deliver with a dark story line and plenty of detailed scenes, but it wasn't enough to save this book. There are too many view points, too many characters and not enough action. By the end, I just didn't care. Sadly, this book will go down as one of my book disappointments for the year.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.