Hello! How are you all today? I hope everyone is having a lovely week. Today I am going to be reviewing Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake.
Side note: you may or mat not have noticed that I keep changing my formats and what not, but I’m still trying to get my blog to how I like it and fine-tuning things to make it all work, so please just bear with me!
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
“When kingdom come, there will be one.
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 have so many mixed emotions about this book. I read a few negative reviews about Three Dark Crowns and was a bit unsure about how I would go with it, but I was so intrigued by the idea of Three Dark Crowns, I just had to read it anyway.
It took me ages to get fully immersed into the world of Fennbirn, mainly because it takes at least 160 pages for the story to get somewhat interesting. I almost didn’t finish it, but I was too intrigued by the idea of 3 sisters having to fight each other, for only one to become queen, to not stop reading.
I don’t know if it’s a new and different writing style to what I’m used to but, Blake’s writing was so hard to understand and get into, there was just no ‘smoothness’ to it like J.K. Rowling’s or Veronica Roth’s. The point of views would change between characters within the same paragraph, there was no real character descriptions or development and no real world building. I was confused at times over where exactly everyone was, the process of Beltane and how the fight between the sisters goes down and just how this world works.I pretty much had to picture everyone as my own creation, in the end I sort of imagined a kind of Game Of Thrones world vibe.
I loved all the characters, they were all mysterious in their own way and all have some sort of dark secret that could ruin everything if anyone were to find out. I don’t want to be that person and spoil it, but there’s this one character who broke my heart and I didn’t trust this other character (which my suspicions turned out to be true), multiple characters threw plot twists at me and I just had to put the book down and soak it all in for a minute. I can’t decide which sister I like best but, I might have to say Mirabella, but by only a fraction.
One thing I didn’t like was that the characters, Arsinoe and Jules for example, would be talking about a specific event that has happened in their lives, and as a reader, you would have no clue what they are talking about because it hadn’t be stated before hand, and then later on Arsinoe would say the event so casually and it would be a massive plot twist and you would start to question whether you missed a chapter or two somewhere along the line.
Like I said earlier, it might be Blake’s personal writing style that she has invented, but by the halfway point, I sort of ignored the bad writing and stopped overthinking it and just took it for what it was and I enjoyed it so much more.
By the 160 page mark, I couldn’t put the book down. The plot twists were coming at me left, right and centre. As this was my first royal/queen themed fantasy read, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but this particular world Kendare Blake has created is savage. The morals, values and customs are so bizarre and different, (especially with some of the higher ranked characters, like the priestesses in the temple) to any other fantasy world I know. I found the characters a bit hard to read because of the lack of description, yet their backstories and secrets are so intriguing.
I saw a couple of reviews of Three Dark Crowns, and most of them said that the romance took over the whole plot, but I disagree. As a hopeless romantic, I thought it was reasonably balanced, but I may be bias. I found it was necessary for the characters to feel some sort of emotion, because half the time it was like they were half-zombie, and plus, the romance created extra drama.
Another thing that was a bit disappointing, was the lack of diversity. Now, this is tough, because of the lack of character descriptions, I actually don’t know whether any characters are white, or people of colour, it’s just not really stated. At the beginning of the book, I did notice the lack of male characters, it seems like the Island of Fennbirn is almost totally run by females, which I ain’t complaining about. I’m not gonna lie, it took me like, 3 pages to work out that Jules is a girl, not a guy, but to be honest, I kinda ship Jules and Arsinoe together, it would make the story so much more interesting if there was a F/F romance.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one to see how everything pans out and what happens with the characters!
“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”
Alrighty then, I think I have rambled on about Three Dark Crowns enough, thank you all for reading and let me know your thoughts if you’ve read it or if you plan to read it. Speak to you lovelies soon!
– Riana xx