Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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. Katherine 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 beasts. 

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's life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last Queen standing gets the crown (from Amazon).


I was very excited when I first discovered this book months before its release. It sounded really dark and thrilling, so I added it to my watch list and waited. Having not read anything by Kendare Blake I didn't really know what to expect, but was eager to find out. 

It took me two attempts to read Three Dark Crowns. The first attempt was back in November, and I remember finding it painful to get past the first two or so chapters. So I put the book aside, pissed off with it, and read Gemina by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff instead which made me happy again. I picked it up again the other day, when I was rearranging my books and decided to give it one last go.

Second time round, I was able to get past the first few chapters and get into the world of Three Dark Crowns. The book jumps between perspectives of the three sisters and important figures in their lives. With Katherine, the focus is sometimes held by her guardian Natalia Arron, a fierce Poisoner with a cunning mind who I thought was very interesting. Her and Katherine's relationship was charming, in an odd way. Arsinoe shares a focus with her best friend Jules and their friends, including Jules' mother. Mirabella's story is entangled with the plotting of the Priestesses. 

Of all the sisters, by the end Katherine's story had become my favourite. Her romance with Pietyr was a little endearing, as she grew in herself whilst knowing him. She started off pretty feeble at the beginning of the story, and I hadn't liked her, but by the end she was really beginning to understand how to get what she wanted. I thought Mirabella would be my favourite, but her story just kept sinking due to the terrible love interest she was given. It made her weaker. Arsinoe had the most consistent story, but I really hated Jules as a character and she is such a big focus within Arsinoe's world, so I therefore didn't really engage with Arsinoe the way I did with Katherine. 

Parts of the book really dragged for me, specifically with Arsinoe and Mirabella's parts. The fact they all have a love interest in some shape or form felt wrong, especially for Mirabella when hers was just stupid. Pietyr and Billy, I actually kind of liked, especially by the end where they showed their colours. Mirabella didn't need a love interest. We got there in the end plot-wise though, with some interesting politics skimmed over, but it was an interesting climax for the book. 

So, the three stars represent the fact I liked it, and do plan to continue the series, but it just took a really long time to get good. I want to follow Katherine's story more. I want to know what happens next, I will admit that. The next book does sound quite interesting, so we'll see. 

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  1. I wrote a review about this book too! Please check it out!