Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)
by Kendare Blake
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.
5 of 5 Stars
I went into this story with a little hesitation. I was completely fascinated by the premise with its combination of fantasy and drama. I was a little hesitant in part due to all the hype surrounding the book and also by my own expectations. I wondered if it could possibly live up to both of those things. Not only did it live up to all of the hype but it passed by expectations in the most glorious ways.
- In the first chapter, I completely fell in love with Katharine. I felt great amounts of sympathy for her and what she was put through in order to prepare to be a poison queen. Even though she’s going through ridiculous amounts of trauma – she never came across as just a victim of her circumstances to me. Her relationship with Natalia is incredibly weird and seems filled with confusion.
- It took me a little longer to connect with Arisnoe and I don’t think I did entirely even by the end of the book. She has a personality type that I don’t normally mesh well with. That doesn’t mean she isn’t an excellent character, though. I did come to really respect her even though some of her behavior made me cringe a little as the story progressed. I also enjoyed the completely different relationship dynamic she has with Jules.
- Mirabella is the character I expected not to like at all as it seems she’s the strongest. Many rumors abound about her personality that make her seem like some you’d hate. I didn’t connect with her, in the same way, I did with Katharine but by the end of the book I think I might like her a bit more. She’s incredibly strong and not afraid to take risky chances. I was surprised she didn’t use her power in evil or mean ways as she very well could have.
- The supporting cast in this book is fabulous. I went in expecting that the story would primarily focus on the three sisters and we’d get little support from others. The book progresses at a decent pace by rotating between the three sisters perspectives and on occasion we get glimpses into a support character as well. Jules is the most fleshed out side character but we also get to know a whole host of others. Joseph, Natalia, and Elizabeth are also incredibly interesting in their own ways.
- I’m not a big fan of romance and while it is present in the book it isn’t the main focus. I adore the fact that the various romantic relationships supported the story and the progress of the plot. Too often I see strong female characters make strange uncharacteristic choices simply because of a boy. I was thrilled that this wasn’t the case and am still torn about how I want some of these strange dynamics to play out in future books.
- This story is chock full of suspense and twists that I didn’t see coming. It kept me reading, thinking, and pondering. These only seem to get more intense toward the end of the book, right up until the ending. The final scenes of this book had me gasping.
I really can’t recommend this book enough and think everyone should give it a try. I’m eagerly waiting for the second book in the series, One Dark Throne which has an expected publication sometime in 2017.