Book Reviews, Fantasy, Young Adult

Review: Three Dark Crowns

Hi everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians! 

Once again, I apologize that my posts have been rather sporadic lately. I have not had much time for reading, or any hobby lately. Two months ago, my Nana, who is more like a mother to me than a grandparent, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. So, lately that has been pretty much all I can focus on. 

That being said, I did manage to finish Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake yesterday, and you can find my review below:

TitleThree Dark Crowns

Author: Kendare Blake

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publication Date: September 2016

Length: 398 pages

Goodreads Rating: 3.83

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My Thoughts: 

As you may have guessed from the above picture, I received Three Dark Crowns as part of the September Owlcrate box. The theme was “Darkness” and it came with many wonderful bookish goodies. 

I was immediately drawn to the book’s cover, and the synopsis seemed right up my alley. So, rather than simply add this book to my ever-growing TBR pile, I decided to delve into it right away. I’m very glad that I did. 

The book is set on the island of Fennbirn, a place devoted to the Goddess, where Queens rule and the Beltane fires burn brightly. Almost as soon as I began reading, I was reminded of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, echoes of which can be found throughout the book. 

Blake has populated Fennbirn with a colourful cast of characters. One of the criticisms I have read is that some readers were confused because there are too many characters. I don’t agree. I found all the characters interesting, and I think that Blake did a good job of separating each faction so we know who supports which queen. 

The queens themselves were all also good characters and also different enough that it was possible to pick a favourite, but still enjoy reading about them all. Arsinoe is my favourite. 

I also really enjoyed Blake’s world-building. Just as the island would not let the queens leave, I was sucked into the mythology and culture of Fennbirn, and could not stop reading. 

The pace of the novel was perhaps a bit slow in the beginning, but it picks up quickly. There are also quite a few plot twists throughout the book and the ending was completely unexpected. In fact, I’m actually a little embarrassed that I didn’t think of it myself. 

One small criticism I have, and why the book did not get 5 stars, is that the love interests in the book are a little flat. We rarely get to see things from their point of view, and so don’t get a lot of insights into their motives and decisions. Perhaps that will be remedied in the next instalment though. 

Overall, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake was a quick, enjoyable read. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and will definitely get the sequel when it comes out next year. I would reccomend it, especially if you enjoy dark fantasy with a unique setting, poison, familiars, and strong female characters. 

I hope this review was helpful. If you’ve read the book, what did you think? 

Thanks for stopping by,


5 thoughts on “Review: Three Dark Crowns”

  1. Thank you for this review! I was actually debating on whether to pick up this book since I did hear a lot of reviewers stating that it is a bit difficult to get into due to the amount of characters. But I was intrigued by the plot direction and the storyline so I have placed this on my TBR for this month. Hopefully I will enjoy it as much as you did! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad it was helpful! There are quite a few characters, mostly because each sister is in a separate city, and has their own group of supporters. I found that they were unique enough that it wasn’t too hard to keep them straight though. And the chapters are separated by place, so you know which group you’re dealing with. I hope you like it, once you get around to it on your TBR. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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