Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Published on: 20 September 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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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.
This novel was an enjoyable read. But, it was only for the 2nd half of the novel. The story progresses so slowly for the 1st half that I had a hard time getting engrossed. To make matters worse, there are so many characters that I have trouble figuring out who the characters are and which princesses they are serving. Chapters alternate between the 3 different princesses’ point of view rather frequently which leads to more confusion.
I’m glad I decided to pull through the 1st half of the novel instead of ‘DNF-ing’ it as the 2nd half of the novel is really good. The story picks up pace and I found myself getting absorbed by how twisted the world is and the lengths to which the ‘clans’, i.e. The Temple and Arrons, take to hone their Queen’s abilities. It was really sickening to read the extent Arisone suffers in order to awaken her abilities and the methods ‘The Temple’ uses to make Mirabella think twice about trying to reach her sisters.
It was very saddening to read about the numerous misunderstandings between the Queens. They listen to rumours about their sisters and assume that those rumours are true even if they aren’t. In other instances, they make false assumptions based on their sister’s actions instead of finding out the reason behind it. All those misunderstandings and assumptions start to pile up and relationships between the triplets turn sour.
It is irritating how Arisone and Katharine are overshadowed by secondary characters such as Jules. There is more focus on Jules as compared to Arisone that it seems Jules is the main character. Jules is so strong and powerful that it makes Arisone seem tiny and insignificant. To make matters worse, whenever the story is supposed to be in Arisone’s point of view, Jules is the one that gets all the spotlight. I don’t dislike Jules in any way since she is an amazing character but I want to get to know Arisone more! 😦
The twist at the end totally caught me off guard and I want to get my hands on the 2nd book now! 😦
Something that has been bugging me is the absence of the 3 girls’ childhood memories. The memories of how Mirabella, Katharine and Arsione play and laugh together as sisters before they are sent away to their respective ‘clans’ to develop and harness their abilities. Mirabella gets those memories restored when she dreams about their shared childhood. After that dream, Mirabella realizes how precious her sisters are and thoughts of killing them to become the Queen are erased. Meanwhile, Katharine and Arsione don’t have those memories and they believe that killing their sisters is what they should do. Otherwise, they are going to get killed themselves. It seems someone wiped out their childhood memories and brainwashed them to a state where they are able to kill their sisters without batting an eyelash.