Book Review: Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns
By: Kendare Blake
Published by: HarperTeen
Release date: 9/20/16
Genre: YA fantasy
416 pages
Buy it at Amazon, IndieBound, Book Depository, or Barnes & Noble
Source: galley kindly provided by publisher

There is a lot going on in this book, with three main characters in three different cultures. It's a lot to keep track of, but it's certainly worth the trouble.

The one difficulty with all of the world-building that this plot requires is that the author sometimes has to choose between thorough explanation and expediting the action. Not only does she need to explain the customs and expectations of these three distinct cultures and how they interact with each other, but she needs to do so in a way that isn't a huge barrier to the main storyline. Ms. Blake makes some smart choices in using subplots to illustrate a lot of the cultural fine points, and it works nicely. Many of the secondary characters featured in those subplots were my favorites, as well as my favorites to hate.

I generally prefer books where there is a clear distinctinction between who the good guys and bad guys are. The motives of many of these characters are veiled; the political intrigue is thick, and all three of the queens are clearly influenced by the foster families who have raised them. The one queen who is most powerful has no heart for hurting others, and the two whose powers are weak don't feel that they stand a chance against her. I soon learned that, rather than a character being the target of my distaste, the political system as a whole seemed to be the larger problem. A political system that is female-dominant, mind you. I wanted to love it, but the author cleverly doesn't allow it.

This is one of those books that I will beg my friends to stick with to the end. The majority of the book is good, with things moving along just fine, but the final 50 pages are when I felt like we got into HOLY COW IT'S GOIN' DOWN territory. I will probably re-read eventually, and oh my goodness, do I want that next book. Waiting for that one is going to be painful.

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.


  1. OOoh nice review!! I'm planning to start this one next! Hopefully I'll be able to follow it. One of my last reads was a bit hard to get into. So I'm putting it down for now. Hopefully this one will spark my intrigue! Already love Kendare's books! Still must finish that last trilogy of hers though! LOL! Nice review!

    1. Thanks, Jessica! Yes, I love Kendare's books, too, which is why I was so excited to get this one. I hope you enjoy Three Dark Crowns as well. :)


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