Book Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Book: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Published September 2016 by HarperTeen|398 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Three Dark Crowns #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

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.

I feel like I’ve heard a lot about this series, so when I saw it at the library, I thought I’d check it out and see what it’s about.  Even though I didn’t love it, I still liked it!

It’s a really cool idea, and I like the idea of a set of triplets fighting for their crown.  It’s interesting that it’s every generation, and the impression I got was that they’re only born so people can see them fight for the crown, but I could be wrong.  I mean, I’ve only read the first book, so there could be a lot more about this world that we didn’t get in the book.

It seems like there are a lot of different kinds of magic, even though the book only focuses on a few.  I’d be curious to see what other kind of magic there is, and if we’ll see what there is beyond what the girls can do.

I’m not sure how I feel about three different narrators, though.  Usually, I read books with 2, and it’s pretty rare that I’ll pick up a book with more than that- An Ember In The Ashes series is the only other one I can think of, but that’s only because I read the third one pretty recently.

I mean, each girl was different, and each one had their own voice.  It was pretty easy to distinguish between the three but it also made it seem like there was too much going on.  It’s not that it was hard to keep track of what was going on, but it made things seem more complicated than they were.  Maybe the amount of narrators will narrow down as characters die, and that Blake won’t add in other perspectives.  I think maybe 3 narrators (each queen) didn’t work for me was because it seemed like a lot of other characters popped up.  I did have some trouble remembering who those characters were, and sometimes, it seemed like it was more about them than the three queens.

It was pretty slow for most of the book, but it does pick up towards the end.  It’s sad it did take so long for it to pick up, because I did like the end and I wanted more action.

I do have some unanswered questions- there are some odd rules in place.  Like, they can’t kill each other until they’re 16, which is strange.  I know 16-ish seems to be the age when people come into their powers and whatnot, and maybe it’s the age where these queens are considered old enough to fight for their crown and know what’s going on.

Also odd was the fact that they were raised separately.  I guess I don’t completely understand why they needed to be raised separately, since it was never explained.  It also seemed useless to me because they all seemed to have one ability, only for some to have a completely different ability.  Said character was seen as pretty useless as far as abilities go, and maybe she would have been seen differently had they figured out what her abilities really were.  Do they not test that, or do they try to shove an ability onto someone in the hopes it will stick?

Maybe I just wanted more with how the magic works, because I’m not remembering if it was really explained.  And I read this book recently enough that it should be on my mind.  I guess it’s pretty forgettable if it was mentioned at all.

Looking back (and after reading some other reviews of the book), I think what I thought would happen will probably be one of the other books in the series.  I wasn’t expecting so much set up to three girls fighting to the death for the crown.

It wasn’t as dark and twisty as I thought it would, at least for most of the book.  Maybe we’ll see that later on in the series?  All I know is I was expecting something more dark and evil than what we got for most of the book.

3 stars.  I liked Three Dark Crowns, but I have a lot of questions about why things are the way they are.

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