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.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Alright folks, I’m going to call it. Three Dark Crowns is my favorite book of 2016. I devoured it, barely stopping to eat, sleep, and shower (according to Socks, I was starting to smell). The only thing I dislike about this book, is that it ended. The book hangover is real!!
Three Dark Crowns starts off with the poisoner queen, Kat. She is thin and frail and unable to ingest poisons – not exactly ideal for a girl who is forced to eat them on a daily basis. When the book begins, she is timid but sweet. I love how her character develops once she meets Pietyr. He is brought to her home to teach her how to garner the attention of suitors, but their relationship progresses in an unexpected way. I thought they were great together, and while I worried about how genuine his feelings for her were, he really proved himself over the course of the book. For those looking for a good romance, theirs is sweet and delightful to read.
Arsinoe is the second queen introduced – and she also has no ability. She is a naturalist, which means she should be able to make flowers bloom, plants flourish and control animals. Yet, she hasn’t even been able to call a familiar (an animal companion). She is seemingly in the shadow of her talented friend Jules, one of the most powerful naturalists to exist in hundreds of years. Their friendship was touching – the lengths they went to for one another, and the loyalty they exhibited despite Arsinoe’s jealousy of Jules’ gifts and Jules’ fear of losing Arsinoe really warmed me to them. Joseph and Billy were phenomenal as secondary characters and I look forward to seeing where Blake takes them in the next book.
While learning about the first two queens, the reader also learns of rumors about the talented and beautiful third queen Mirabella. Despite Mirabella being the only queen that I didn’t expect to like, she quickly became my favorite. She is the only of the three sisters with gifts – she can control the elements. While she is very gifted, Mirabella is soft hearted. She still remembers her sisters and the few years they were able to spend together before being separated. Although she is favored heavily to win and become Queen, she doesn’t believe herself capable of killing her sisters. I adored the way Kendare Blake ended Mirabella’s portion of the book and am dying to see what she does next.
Before picking up Three Dark Crowns, I read a few reviews that called it slow. After finishing the book, I have to wonder if those reviewers were even reading the same story I was. Three Dark Crowns may not be filled to the brim with action sequences, but it is certainly not slow moving. Every single chapter is relevant and enlightening. Kendare Blake does a phenomenal job of developing the world she has created.
I try my best to avoid spoilers in my reviews, so I won’t say much about the ending. All I will say is this: it was jaw dropping. I don’t think I have ever had my nose so far into a book. JJ Watt could have showed up at my door in only a towel and I wouldn’t have even spared him a second glance. It was THAT good.
My Takeaway: This book was beautifully written and rich in character development. I am dying to get my hands on the sequel. I’ll say it again, my FAVORITE book of 2016.