Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
On Sale Date: September 20, 2016
Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Ages 14 And Up, Grades 9 And Up
HarperTeen, 416 pages
Source: Publisher
My Rating: 4 Stars
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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.

THREE DARK CROWNS is a dark fantasy rich in prose and atmosphere. Author Kendare Blake creates an alluring and deadly landscape as a backdrop to a story where three sisters-triplets-separated at a young age, must fight to the death to become Queen. 

Three Queens. One Crown.

In each generation, a set of royal triplets is born. Three dark queens magically gifted and equal heirs to the crown. Separated at a young age, each is trained in their magical arts. The night they turn sixteen, the battle begins. A fight to the death with the winner taking the crown.

Poisoner. Elementalist. Naturalist. 

  • Katherine is the Poisoner but her gift seems nearly nonexistent. Fed various poisons all her life in an attempt to make her invulnerable to them, her body is weak, thin, and marked with the evidence of the poison's deadly toxins. What I really liked about Katherine is her nearly indomitable spirit, her will to survive, despite the repeatedly failed attempt to become immune to the poisons. Though she can't ingest the poisons without harm physically, she is brilliant in the actual artform of a poisoner. Mixing toxins of rare foods and elements unlike any other. She is emotionally starved for affection, becoming romantically attached to a gentleman poisoner who is there to train her in the many arts of a Queen.
  • Mirabella is a fierce Elementalist whose powers can manipulate fire and create raging storms. Loved and well trained, her powers seem the strongest but her soft heart may cost her the crown. Mirabella is easily likable for the fact that, even though she is the strongest sister, she is the one that has not forgotten her early blood bond to her sisters.
  • Arsinoe is a Naturalist with the ability to command animals to do her bidding, only she has not found her familiar yet nor does she seem to possess any real evidence of powers. Rather her best friend and fellow naturalist Jules, one of the strongest naturalist in generations, covers for Arsinoe often with her own magic. Jules is probably the most whimsical in this dark tale. She realizes she has no real powers and that she will most likely lose, yet she has a humor and lightness about her the others do not. 

Danger, Machinations, and Twists.

The feeling of imminent danger and machinations permeates in Three Dark Crowns and I enjoyed every moment of it. Factions determined to dismantle the sisterhood play a constant threat. The story is narrated by each sister and told in alternating chapters, giving insight into each’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Though the tone is somber and thoughtful, Blake’s poetic writing captivates as the story seems to just unfold. Little details about each princess and an inside look into their lives make it hard to choose just one favorite. 

In the End

Three Dark Crowns mixes a vivid, medieval inspired fantasy setting with magic, intrigue, and an unexpected twist, giving readers not one queen, but three to care about. Dark, rich writing, and complicated characters make it an exciting first in a new series. The shocking climax is sure to excite readers in wanting to grab up the next copy.

This is my first read with Kendare Blake and I’m extremely excited to try her fan’s favorite, the spine-tingling Anna Dressed in Blood!