Review: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1) by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns takes us onto the island of Fennbirn where once every generation a set of female triplets is born, one of which becomes the new queen. The novel follows the current set of triplets as they prepare for the start of their Ascension year when they will all have to go against  each other until only one remains standing. We meet Mirabella, an Elemental who can control the elements; Katharine, a Poisoner who can digest deadly poisons without dying; and the Naturalist Arsinoe, who can control animals and make flowers bloom. But not everything is as easy and clear cut as it seems at first…


The premise of this book sounded really interesting, and it was well executed, but there was a thing or two that kind of irked me upon thinking about them.

First of all, the whole system is so obviously rigged in favour of whoever raises the Queens and pulls the strings behind their backs that I’m just honestly asking myself how it seems to have existed for so long. It’s a little mind-boggling to think that they weren’t able to change it at all.

Then  it seems awfully convenient that there’s an almighty Goddess somewhere they can blame all the faults on, even though a lot of people apparently aren’t very religious anymore? Maybe it’s just my personal stance on institutionalised religion coming through but really? “Oh well the Goddess made it so, so there’s really no way around it,” seems kind of lazy, and to be completely honest I feel like there would have been more chance for conflict if people didn’t always just accept that as a reason.

And last but not least I just started to feel so absolutely bored with the heterosexuality of things after a while, not to mention that it didn’t feel particularly diverse in ethnicity. I mean obviously everyone has their own feelings on diversity, but this book just felt so incredibly uninspired on that front that it really stood out to me (obviously if I missed anything in that regard feel free to tell me).

But now on to the good things!

The world is interesting. It was fascinating to see how the different types of magic lead to different ways of living, and how differently the sisters were treated.

The characters were interesting as well. Even if their roles in the story seemed a little repetitive at times, Blake managed to make them different enough that it at least didn’t seem like it all the time.

I liked the style as well. It was nice, and flowed easily. It didn’t bring much to the story, but it didn’t distract from it either, so I felt like it was a good fit. I can see how the three points of view could get confusing for some people. Especially at the beginning there are a lot of characters to keep straight, but personally I was really glad about it, since it meant there was no need to awkwardly jump from place to place, but it still showed the paths of the three Queens and the ones around them.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 Stars)

Additional Information

Publication Date: 20 September 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 416
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
ISBN: 9780062564122


Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Bloodwill devour her latest novel, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen.

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.



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