Three Dark Crowns
By: Kendare Blake
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
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
The first section of this review will be spoiler free.
I was a fan of Kendare Blake’s other book Anna Dressed in Blood, and so when I saw this book I knew I would have to read it. Man was this a rollercoaster of a book! It is dark and definitely violent at times (but what else would you expect from three sisters who have to kill each other for the throne?). If I had a main criticism it would be that the book was a bit short. I know to a lot of people 398 pages isn’t short, but I found that there was so much jam packed into those pages that the individual elements suffered a bit. I found it ambitious to try and tell each sister’s story (plus some extra) in one book. This is not to say I didn’t immensely enjoy the book, and I will definitely be buying the sequel (One Dark Throne) on my next trip to the bookstore. But, the book is full of these really interesting and fun characters, it would have been nice to get some more, one on one time with each of them. If your looking for a book about powerful women this is a great book for you! Not only are the three sisters (Arsinoe, Katharine, and Mirabella) ruthless and kicks, but their mentors are also mostly powerful women as well.
Katherine was my favourite character from the start. I think it’s because I always root for the underdog, and she was the underdog in my opinion. I liked the aspect of magic powers that was added in with Katherine immune to poison, Arsinoe having an animal familiar, and Mirabella controlling the elements. I mean who wouldn’t want those powers?!
This is a book for anyone who loves horror fantasy, or fans of The Hunger Games, or any kind of magical competition book. Be warned that there are some major twists and turns, I definitely didn’t see coming!
Ok so let’s start with the biggest reveal, that Arsinoe is in fact a poisoner, not Kat. So I kind of expected this after about half of the book, since neither of them had developed their powers. I will say I’m not sure what this means for Kat, since if we can assume her pet snake was her familiar then it’s dead, so does she not have powers? I think it will be neat to see the dynamics in the next book, which I assume is the last in the series, since Kendare Blake’s other series was also a duology. Now on to the next major twist, Pietyr pushing Kat of the cliff was unexpected to say the least. Thinking back I would guess that he was coerced or sent by Mirabella’s side to take Katherine out of the running. It seemed like he genuinely cared for her so trying to kill her must have had a reason behind it. Hopefully in the next book he will get a chance to tell us his reasons. And finally, Joseph and Mirabella. I am so unimpressed with both of them, Jules was a nice character and her love for Joseph was very clear. The fact that he would so quickly abandon his family, including Arsinoe, for a girl he barely knows was disappointing. Honestly, he can stay with Mirabella, Jules and Arsinoe can do way better, and he doesn’t deserve them. Wow didn’t plan on this being a rant, but like I said the twists and turns were plentiful in this book! As I said above I do recommend this book, especially if you are already familiar with Kendare Blake, as it is very reminiscent of Anna Dressed in Blood.
I have included a few quotes below, to give you a taste of what’s in store!
“I want revenge.” She whispers, and her fingers trail bloody streaks down Natalia’s arms.
“And then I want my crown.”
“Queens do not remember these things,”
“Saying so does not make it true.”
“You will need it to be true, for it is too cruel otherwise, to force a Queen to kill what she loves. Her own sisters. And for her to see that which she loves come at her door like wolves, seeking her head.”
“I don’t think it is strange at all,’ Arsinoe says. ‘Don’t you see? It has to be one of us. It has to be her. My whole life I have heard that it has to be her. That I have to die, so that she can lead. That I do not matter, because she’s here.”