REVIEW: Three Dark Crowns

by Kendare Blake 

Pages: 405, paperback
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: 22nd September 2016
ISBN: 1509804552
Received From:  Macmillan Children's Books via Netgalley


Three sisters. One crown. A fight to the death. 
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 am a huge Kendare Blake fan, as is most YA readers I believe with her stunningly creepy novel Anna Dressed in Blood on the top of a lot of peoples favourite books list. So, when I heard she was releasing a new series I was already jumping up and down with excitement. Three Dark Crowns is completely different to anything I have read from Kendare before but that is by no means a bad thing and it was all I hoped it to be and more. This is why. 

Three Dark Crown is the story of three young Queens who each have their own special ability. Mirabella can control the elements and lives in the Elemental city of Rolanth under the protection of the priestesses. Katherine was raised by the poisoners, the current rulers of Fennbirn, they thrive on poison and are the most deadly of these three gifts. Lastly there is Arsinoe, a naturalist who was raised to be the peoples queen and isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. However, these three queens are triplets and as their 16th birthday is upon them they have to start preparing for the battle ahead. The battle that will see one queen on the throne and her two sisters dead. Although, not is all as it seems and these three little queens are different to past generations, as you see, not all of them have the abilities they say they do. 

This is one of those reviews where I'm going to have to skip over a couple of things as I don't want to give any spoilers but holy moly this is a good book! The story line is so well crafted that I was sucked into Fennbirn within a couple of pages and I can not wait for book two... yes there will be a book two! I think everyone who reads this will connect more to one of the queens than the others, although as much as I have to say I'm a little in love with Katherine, Arsinoe was my queen and I can't help but have my fingers crossed for her. The reason I love Kendare Blake's books is that not one of her characters are flawless, which in turn makes them more real. All three queens have their moments where they could do with a slap but could you honestly imagine being raised knowing you are born to kill your sisters? Talk about being dealt a bad deck of cards!

Over the course of the book you get to know each queen and for lack of a better word their 'courts', although its a little less formal than that, as they get ready for the moment their lives have been leading up to. The festival that will mark the start of the Ascension Year (the year they have to kill each other). There are so many different characters to get your head around but each one is well crafted and original. The story arcs are solid and interesting and there wasn't a moment where I thought "what was the point in that". Every moment meant something and connected to something else and I would love to spend a day in Kendare's brain just to see where all the magic and mayhem is created. 

Overall I loved this book! It is exciting and easy to read. The characters are three-dimensional and easy to connect to. I would recommend this people who love fantasy, strong woman protagonists and old world magic. To me this felt like a nod to folk lore in a completely contemporary way and I couldn't put it down. 

Oh P.S. So many potential book boyfriends I'll let you take your pick... let me know in the comments who took your fancy? 

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