Title: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Mystery
Series: (Book 1) Series
Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood will devour her latest novel, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen.
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.
This was the ARC I won from National Bookstore’s Twitter contest. Thank you NBS!
Okay I don’t usually do this, but since my thoughts are so jumbled right now, plus I cannot contain myself to not type spoilers… I am cutting this review in half!
PART I: SPOILER-FREE
If Three Dark Crowns was a person, it would be a guy or a girl living a successful & luxurious life in the city with a bloodied straitjacket inside his/her closet.
This book is so brutally beautiful, just like its cover. I dunno, maybe some of you guys think that the cover lacks something, but for me it was one of the many things I loved about this book. It’s beautiful without having much on it. I mean, if you look closely, there’s no background. Just pure black, and then there’s your three crowns. I think it’s really perfect and it gives off that mysterious vibe.
“Three Black Witches are born in a glen,
Sweet little triplets
will never be friends.
Three Black Witches, all fair to be seen.
Two to devour,
And one to be queen.”
AND I REALIZED THIS JUST NOW BUT THE COVER DOES GIVE OFF A LOT ABOUT THE STORY >>> The three queens were raised to only look at one thing: THE CROWN. They were trained and educated for the crown. And with their eyes only focused on the crown, they don’t see what’s behind it, thus the black background. They are blind to what goes on when they turn their backs and leave their foster families/guardians. How alliances and enemies are made. Sounds cliche but I like the cover more now.
. . .
The story was amazing. It’s written in third person point of view, which for me was great because you get to read everyone’s thoughts. Like eavesdropping, but legally and, well, fictionally.
The narration skips from where Katharine, Mirabella, and Arsinoe is. The way Kendare Blake wrote it makes you look like a spy, like, you’re just there while tho whole story unveils itself. Also, as the story progresses, it was fun to see how the skipping/switching of stories transforms slowly until it isn’t considered “skipping” anymore, because we realize that the sisters’ stories are tying up with each other.
Closer and closer
. . .
The way the story is told makes the pacing seem fast and short but then you look at your book and realize that you’re already 200 pages in and the story seems to get more complicated and intense…and then it finally hits you,
THIS BOOK IS NOT A STANDALONE!
It’s probably for the best, Fennbirn is too big of an island to have such a short story. I did have a feeling that it may not be a standalone when I saw the Fennbirn map. Where did I even get the idea that this was gonna be a standalone??!
“I want revenge,”
“and then I want my crown.”
The people in Fennbirn reminds me of the people in Westeros btw.
Actually, Three Dark Crowns does give off some Game of Thrones vibe, with its political intrigue and the dark/bloody mood.
“THREE DARK CROWNS is a brutal and inventive fantasy that is as addictive as it is horrifying. I can’t begin to guess the fates of these three remarkable sister-queens, but I’m salivating like poisoners at a feast to find out what will happen next.”
-Marissa Meyer, Author of the The Lunar Chronicles
My loyalties lie with no one. I thought I was gonna root for someone but I ended up rooting for the three of them.
This book was screaming dark fantasy when I first held it. And I fell slightly in love with it right then and there. No regrets. GO READ IT!
This is the end for my SPOILER-FREE review.
If you own and have read the ARC, feel free to continue. If not, go now and come back after you have read the book. IF you’re just one of those bookworms who love spoilers and believe in the “spoiler paradox”, I don’t blame you. *winks*
PART II: SPOILERS!!!
LET ME START WITH THE ENDING.
From the beginning of the book, I was expecting that there was gonna be some surprise with Katharine and Arsinoe. Because leaving them giftless would just be a waste of time, and that’s too sad, and Mirabelle being the Queen would make it so predictable.
But Arsinoe telling Jules that she is a poisoner was the perfect way to leave your readers hanging so of course Kendare Blake left it at that.
. . .
What about Katharine though? What’s up with her?
How’d she survive?
If Arsinoe’s a poisoner, does that make her a naturalist?
Did she accidentally call her familiar while she was falling down Breccia Domain?
OH MY GOD THAT REMINDS ME
. . .
Pietyr totally misunderstood Katharine when she ran to him, and I kind of feel sorry for him because he really loves Katharine and a part of me believes that he pushed her off the Breccia Domain so that her death will be less painful? Or did he know Katharine won’t fall because of something that he knows about Breccia Domain?
Because if he just pushed her and let her fall so that the priestesses can’t chop off her limbs, I’d say he’s not that determined to be with Kat. I mean, why not run off? Hide until it’s safe to go back to Greavesdrake Manor where they can seek Natalia’s help? Right? RIGHT?
. . .
AND KATHARINE’S REVENGE, If I’m right and they misunderstood each other, that means Katharine is coming for Pietyr. Now that is one of the many things I can’t wait to see.
. . .
Can we talk about this though:
“Before she can reconsider, Arsinoe throws the charm into the fire. The bag burn away like nothing, and Jule’s hair and Jospeh’s dried scrap of shirt blacken and curl like the legs of a dying insect. The smoke that comes from it is foul.”
and then 95 pages later,
where you start to hate Joseph and kinda root less for Mirabella
“…He feels like he belongs in her arms. She will not let him die. She will make them both warm.
She will set them both on fire.”
So the fire that damaged Jules & Joseph’s bond was obviously Mirabella, right? But does that mean they only have lust for each other that can be broken by conducting another spell or is this a ship that might set sail in book 2? BECAUSE JOSEPH BETTER STICK TO WHAT HE SAID TO ARSINOE WHEN JULES GOT POISONED.
. . .
Am I the only one who thinks Madrigal put a love spell on Matthew?
. . .
I want to see Aunt Caragh though, she must be so lonely.
. . .
Based on its map, I feel like this book will be a trilogy, unless Kendare decides to put on a big journey on the second installment so we can travel through all those places that weren’t mentioned much/simply weren’t mentioned in the book. Then just a duology, I guess
. . .
I’m still waiting for one of the sisters to have the sight/war gift. Maybe Katharine, but not the sight, obviously.Because having it would make her aware of what was coming for her.
. . .
Favorite part: The Quickening
A few pages in, I was already excited for the Quickening. And the way Katharine & Arsinoe fooled everyone (thanks to their guardians) was really cool for me, and I loved reading how old Luca and bitchy Rho were reacting, I was like,
HA! IN YO FACES! TRY TO CUT OFF THEIR LIMBS NOW
My God, that idea was the craziest one in this book, and there are a lot of crazy ideas here, but it was the scariest one too.
This is a lesson that when gossip spreads, whether it’s true or not, it spreads fast. And the effects are unthinkable. And sometimes, you can’t do anything about it. The situation is way beyond the victim’s reach.
. . .
Also, if Game of Thrones taught me anything,
when you’re a queen,
YE CAN’T TRUST ANYONE.
Because there’s an 80% chance you’ll get killed.
Or pushed off Breccia Domain.
. . .
Least Favorite Part: Katharine’s Gave Noir at Greavesdrake Manor
I know, it’s a ritual for the festival so they can’t do anything about it…Natalia knew how weak and nearly giftless Katharine was, she could’ve just made the food normal and poison-free like what she did with Katharine’s food at The Quickening. She has more power in this one, with it being held at their territory. It wasn’t a well-planned event. And I felt truly sorry for Katharine. AND GO TO HELL GENEVIEVE.
. . .
If I would be given the chance to kill 3 people in this book, they would be the following:
2. Billy’s father
3. Rho…or Luca? No, Rho. Luca’s old anyway.
These three has got to go.
Kill them, Kendare. Please.
I hope book two’s the last one, but at the same time, I want it to last longer… (THG FEELS)
. . .
I need to start rooting for one queen though. I mean, Mirabella’s cool and all, but I still think Katharine & Arsinoe are just as powerful. I don’t know, the ending didn’t give away that much hint as to how strong Kat and Arsione is. And anyway, rooting for the three of them ain’t gonna work anyway…
GAH! I CAN’T WAIT FOR BOOK TWO 😰
And book one hasn’t even been released yet.