Published September 20th, 2016 by HarperTeen
Three Dark Crowns #1
When my sister and I went to BookCon back in May of this year, we played a Plinko game at the Epic Reads booth to win ARCs! I got something that i couldn’t have been less interested in (I am/was so uninterested that I cannot for the life of me remember what I even won), and my sister scored a copy of Three Dark Crowns – and refused to trade.
*insert grouchy face here*
But the great news is that Three Dark Crowns was the book that was included in the September OwlCrate, so I didn’t have to even leave my apartment to get my hands on it! (I mean, except to walk to the apartment office, but that doesn’t count). Obviously, this was one of my more anticipated reads of the year since I have coveted this book since May, so, I discarded my usual habit of tossing subscription box books into my TBR pile to ‘await their turn’, and immediately started reading.
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 stomach-ache. 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.
This book is…. dark.
Yes, I know that adjective is literally in the book’s tittle, but Three Dark Crowns is aptly named. Everything about the story fits the dark theme: the premise, the mood, the characters. But, I loved it.
“No one really wishes to be a queen.”
So, as a forewarning, I should say that the beginning of this book is somewhat ridiculous. Kendare Blake launches into the story without any regard for the whole “introduce-the-reader-to-the-characters-and-places” thing. The pacing is non-stop, and there is very little explanation and back story that is explained, the way the book reads is more of a “drop you in the middle of it and figure it out” type thing. Obviously, this type of writing can be very overwhelming (I cannot imagine listening to this on audio), but all of a sudden, it just wasn’t anymore. I could see how some people would give up in the first 25% of the novel though because it is so confusing, but I implore you: keep going!
But, as the story progresses, and we learn more about the three queens, their mentors/friends, and the politics at play in the insane island of Fennbirn, everything falls into place. My favorite part about reading this book was how well Blake manipulated my emotions; I had no idea which queen I was rooting for. The three main characters are both the protagonists of their own narration, yet the antagonists of the other two, which i found a really interesting and unique dynamic. I have not even an inkling of an idea how this story is going to end, which both terrifies and excites me.
Some random fun tidbits about the book:
- There are no chapter numbers, instead chapters are organized by where that chapter is occurring – which I found simplistic and intriguing.
- The map in the book is gorgeous, one of my favorites that I have seen recently.
- I loved all of the sister’s names; they were all so different, yet somehow fit their personalities perfectly.
- I need to know what my animal companion would be, and until I find out my life is not complete.
Damn, that ending. THAT ENDING. It was everything I ever wanted and more. Yes, it was kind of an enormous cliffhanger, but I am not even mad about it because it works. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am anxiously waiting for book 2, but I closed the book SO satisfied. This was a fantastically rich story, and I am so eager to see what is in store for these three queens.