Book: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns 1) by Kendare Blake
Release Date: September 20th 2016
Tags: Fantasy / Queens / Queendom / Battling Siblings / Poison / Elemental / Animal Bond / Love Triangle / Betrayal
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
Three Dark Crowns is a very weird book for me to review. I had very different expectations of how this book was going to go, I have quite a few negative things and yet I finished it in a day because I had to. See my dilemma here?
Starting off with my expectations. I really thought this book was going to be about sister relationships, betrayal, all the emotions and some kick ass action. That is not exactly what I got. Three Dark Crowns is very much a build up to the larger story. A stepping stone, a hurdle that needed to be taken. The back story. If you think we are starting with the battle between the sisters, well no. We get the bit before that and the next book will be the actual fighting I’d imagine.
The book is written in present tense, third person point of view and almost omniscient. We have the three sisters (Mirabella, Katherine and Arsenoe) and then there are about three others who get a bit more time that are attached to one of the sisters (Luca, Natalia and Jules). We switch between the sisters worlds every chapter until the end. I could have really done without the other three to be honest. I wanted it to be about the sisters, not those surrounding them. It made the story feel unfocused.
I’m not even sure why I had to read this in one day. While the writing isn’t bad, it certainly isn’t anything special either. I was just very interested in the idea of itself I suppose. And I wanted to know where it goes. I have theories and things. Unfortunately the ‘twist’ at the end I’d already called at the beginning. It was so obvious to me. Even so I am super interested in seeing where that will be going in the next installment.
World building wise it was a bit shaky. I liked aspects of it. Like how the poisoners eat only poison, the various mentioned previous queens in this, the fact that it is a queendom. And yet, how can there always be triplets born? Why are they so separate from the mainland? Why do they need to take a king consort so quickly? Why did the mist all of a sudden come? Why did they have to be separated at six? Why does the queen leave after the triplets are born and who the hell runs everything? The black council? And why don’t we see any of the other gifts in the book? Just questions on questions on questions. Too many.
Character wise I am not super attached to any of the sisters. I think I liked Arsenoe the best mostly because she was a bit more sarcastic. Mirabella, for how much power she has, is a bit of a wet noodle to be honest, and I mostly just feel sorry for Katherine for her upbringing. Always eating poison, ugh, but also kick ass.
One thing that annoyed me to no end was the love triangle present with a queen, Jules and Joseph. Can we please kick Joseph out of this book? Because I have a desperate need to scratch open his face…
So yeah this book totally didn’t live up to my expectations. On the other hand I love the idea and I have many, many, many hopes that it will live up to my expectations.
Book:Queens of Fennbirn (Three Dark Crowns 0,5) by Kendare Blake
Release Date: April 3rd 2018
After finishing Three Dark Crowns I read the bind up of the two novella’s, The Queens of Fennbirn, right after it. I’ll share some of my thoughts on them below.
The Young Queens
This short story starts us of with the mother of the triplets (who I now dislike) and shares bits and scenes about them up until the start of Three Dark Crowns. I found it interesting to see the sisters when they were so young and to see how they interacted with one another. The separation scene was terrible. Poor girls. It also gives us so much more background on Mirabella that I missed in the actual book.
However the scenes are so disjointed that I didn’t really find it a pleasure to read. I also would not recommend to read this before Three Dark Crowns as it has a spoiler for Three Dark Crowns.
The Oracle Queen
This story takes place 500 years before Three Dark Crowns and tells the story of The Oracle Queen or rather the mad one as she is seen that was also mentioned in the book. I thought it was interesting to see how things actually happened and what a scheming bastards everyone in this bloody world is. I did think it went all a bit too easily at the end there. Another thing that really struck me in this one is how easily the queen discarded her sisters. She didn’t regret. She was proud. She was sad that she didn’t get to kill one of them because the other did. Ugh. I did not like her.