Sep 26th

Review of Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Posted in Reviews
Three Dark
4 Star Rating

Title: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Harper Teen
Date Published: September 20, 2016
Where I got the book: ARC received in a Twitter giveaway
Where You Can Buy the Book: AMAZON | Flyleaf Books (Indie Bookseller of the Day)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

Wow, this was such a fascinating book! It surprised me at every turn, and while it didn’t live up to all of my expectations, I really enjoyed it. It is so hard to pinpoint exactly how to describe this book because it consistently changed tone and made me reassess the type of book I thought it was. The more I read the more difficult it became to figure out what I was reading. Is this a dark novel, an emotional novel, an uplifting novel filled with hope? Ok, I’m snorting at that last one, let’s just assume it is not that (although for a minute there I thought it was heading in that direction and almost didn’t continue).

The story begins by introducing us to Katharine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella. They each get their own point of view and they are vastly different in tone and in experience. Katharine and Arsinoe both do not have the powers they are supposed to have. Katharine however is isolated, has no friends, and lives a very dark existence. Arsinoe on the other hand has very good friends and lives a very happy life. Mirabella has a very different experience because she actually has her powers and is extremely powerful. While she has friends, she seems emotionally isolated and extremely more controlled than the others. I loved that the book begins by giving each of the queens a chance to earn the reader’s sympathy, and I believe they did. Then you spend some time getting to know each queen and her friends/ the people that control them or isolate and train them. As the story develops new characters are introduced and it seems that the dread of the big yearlong battle is weighing on everyone. At this point you learn things that make it seem as if there isn’t going to be a battle. Please don’t stop reading, such is not the case. I was worried I was not reading the dark book I was really looking forward to and I dreaded getting to the happy ending where the queens stand up to the island council and decide to live in harmony. This book is still very dark at times; don’t give up my dark, gritty book loving friends!

I really hated Joseph, Pietyr, the nuns, and Arsinoe’s shitty aunt whose name I cannot even be bothered to remember. While I loved what they contributed at the end, the way they shaped the queens and gave us more darkness, I really detested them as characters. Mira was also not a favorite of mine. I liked her general story arc but I think it could have been written better. I did not feel the attachment to her that I did to Katharine and Arsinoe. I definitely feel that this is a plot driven book. The only impressive thing about the characters and the world-building was that they were unique, other than that I felt they were lacking in many respects. I still enjoyed the world of Fennbirn and I’d like to see it more thoroughly described in book 2. I also see a lot of potential in these characters, especially with that ending! So I hope to like them more in book 2 as well. Their development will really make or break the next book for me.

I LOVED the ending of Three Dark Crowns, but it also came as a surprise. I was not aware this was a series and because of that the ending felt very abrupt. At the same time it was super twisty and dark and pulled what might have been a 2 or 3 star book back up to a solid 4 stars. This book is definitely worth reading if you’re looking for something new, imaginative, and dark. If you start to lose interest please hang in there, I think the ending is definitely worth it.

Three Dark
4 Star Rating

Title: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Harper Teen
Date Published: September 20, 2016
Where I got the book: ARC received in a Twitter giveaway
Where You Can Buy the Book: AMAZON | Flyleaf Books (Indie Bookseller of the Day)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

Wow, this was such a fascinating book! It surprised me at every turn, and while it didn’t live up to all of my expectations, I really enjoyed it. It is so hard to pinpoint exactly how to describe this book because it consistently changed tone and made me reassess the type of book I thought it was. The more I read the more difficult it became to figure out what I was reading. Is this a dark novel, an emotional novel, an uplifting novel filled with hope? Ok, I’m snorting at that last one, let’s just assume it is not that (although for a minute there I thought it was heading in that direction and almost didn’t continue).

The story begins by introducing us to Katharine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella. They each get their own point of view and they are vastly different in tone and in experience. Katharine and Arsinoe both do not have the powers they are supposed to have. Katharine however is isolated, has no friends, and lives a very dark existence. Arsinoe on the other hand has very good friends and lives a very happy life. Mirabella has a very different experience because she actually has her powers and is extremely powerful. While she has friends, she seems emotionally isolated and extremely more controlled than the others. I loved that the book begins by giving each of the queens a chance to earn the reader’s sympathy, and I believe they did. Then you spend some time getting to know each queen and her friends/ the people that control them or isolate and train them. As the story develops new characters are introduced and it seems that the dread of the big yearlong battle is weighing on everyone. At this point you learn things that make it seem as if there isn’t going to be a battle. Please don’t stop reading, such is not the case. I was worried I was not reading the dark book I was really looking forward to and I dreaded getting to the happy ending where the queens stand up to the island council and decide to live in harmony. This book is still very dark at times; don’t give up my dark, gritty book loving friends!

I really hated Joseph, Pietyr, the nuns, and Arsinoe’s shitty aunt whose name I cannot even be bothered to remember. While I loved what they contributed at the end, the way they shaped the queens and gave us more darkness, I really detested them as characters. Mira was also not a favorite of mine. I liked her general story arc but I think it could have been written better. I did not feel the attachment to her that I did to Katharine and Arsinoe. I definitely feel that this is a plot driven book. The only impressive thing about the characters and the world-building was that they were unique, other than that I felt they were lacking in many respects. I still enjoyed the world of Fennbirn and I’d like to see it more thoroughly described in book 2. I also see a lot of potential in these characters, especially with that ending! So I hope to like them more in book 2 as well. Their development will really make or break the next book for me.

I LOVED the ending of Three Dark Crowns, but it also came as a surprise. I was not aware this was a series and because of that the ending felt very abrupt. At the same time it was super twisty and dark and pulled what might have been a 2 or 3 star book back up to a solid 4 stars. This book is definitely worth reading if you’re looking for something new, imaginative, and dark. If you start to lose interest please hang in there, I think the ending is definitely worth it.

By Kate Woods

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