Thursday, September 8, 2016

Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake


Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Series: Yes, #1 in Three Dark Crowns series
Release date: September 20th, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 416 pages
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss/print ARC from BEA16


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.


Oooo, that was very dark and intriguing and bewitching! It starts sort of slow and slinky, if that makes sense, and it does throw a lot of characters at you (arguably too many), but once I was lulled into this world I didn't want to leave it. Every time I put the book down, I found myself thinking about it and wanting to get back. The concept of the three dueling queens, heirs to three different magical bloodlines, raised to kill one another to be QUEEN OF THE QUEENS, is fantastic.


I loved the slow, sensory, almost vicious prose. I also loved what worldbuilding we got, though it's evident there is a LOT we don't know yet. And there were also a LOT of things I would have liked clarified, and to be honest a lot of the names drove me batty. But I know all the answers and what not are coming, and will probably fuck me up something real, because Kendare Blake apparently likes to blow my mind.

This book is about approximately 900 people, but it's mostly about Katharine, Mirabella, and Arsinoe (ARSINOE!!), the wearers of the titular three dark crowns. Katharine is the poisoner queen, immune to any poison (or, um, so she's meant to be. she's not the best with poisons), and under enormous pressure from her poisoner family, who have held the throne for A V V LONG TIME and have no inclination to give it up. 

Arsinoe is the naturalist queen, able to bloom flowers and control beasts (except she cannot do any of that at all, and has pretty much reconciled with getting killed by her sisters one day). She has a biffle named Jules, who I found hideously boring, but Jules has a mountain cat for a familiar, which is NOT boring. Arsinoe was by far my favorite of the queens.

And then there's Mirabella, the most powerful elemental to ever elemental, who has the support of the temple and is basically a given to kill her sisters and take the crown. Except Mirabella remembers loving her sisters back when they were wee, and doesn't like the pressure, and super does NOT want to kill people. Oh dear.

"Bitch, getcha HEAD IN THE GAME," Cersei says

So yeah, my favorite part of this book were the queens and the inherent difficulties in their situations. The prose is a bit distancing (third person present will do that) and there are a lot of POVs, not all of which I cared about, but I found myself connecting to the most important three: the Queens, particularly ARSINOE!!!! <3 <3 I mean, we do spend the most time with her and get to know her the best but also she IS the best SO. Mirabella I was expecting to loathe, but the way Kendare Blake set up her character really intrigued me. I loved Katharine to start, but felt her character lost something as it went on. BUT THEN AT THE END. LIKE. I WILL SAVE MY SCREAMING ABOUT THE END FOR THE, UM, END. BUT REST ASSURED. THE END.

My negatives: utterly useless romances. (Possibly that was the point? One ship has potential, but I shan't tell you which one). It's very rare that I read a book and every time ~*the boy*~ *heart eyes* *gaggy noises* shows up I groan in dramatic and long-suffering fashion, but I did. 


(Seriously, fuck you and everything you are, Joseph.) I also had a tremendous time caring about Jules. I knew I SHOULD, particularly because she loved Arsinoe so, and I loved Arsinoe so, and I loved her cougar obviously, and no spoilers but the way Jules factors into the SHENANIGANS of the plot is wonderful, but I didn't CARE about her. (That's probably Joseph's fault. Yawn central and boo hiss and all of that). 

There are a lot of characters (mostly in naturalist land) and sometimes I'd forget who they were. (...Luke? What's a Luke again?) (Okay I'm sure Jules kissing Joseph is important somehow to this plot at this moment but I'd rather find out what Arsinoe is up to or what kind of scorpion they're making Katharine eat or how many murders poor Mirabella has to perform today) (what do you MEAN we're still on Joseph??)


Most of the political maneuverings, and bitches IN CHARGE and NEFARIOUS and EXCEPTIONALLY PLOTTY was aces, though. MORE OF THIS. ALL OF THIS. 

And also kill a lot

AND THEN THAT ENDING. I CAN'T SAY ANYTHING. BUT. I LOVE WHERE ALL THE STORYLINES ENDED UP I WAS SCREAMING LIKE A BANSHEE SHIT WAS GOING DOWN THAT ENDING THE NEXT BOOK I JUST HEEEEEEEEEEELP

BUT THERE IS STILL SO MUCH OF THE SERIES TO COME AND I WILL BE THERE WITH BELLS ON BECAUSE IT'S THE ASCENSION YEAR, BITCHES, LONG LIVE THE QUEEN. WHICH ONE, I DON'T KNOW, FIND OUT

No, seriously, the gloves are so coming off for book two and I need to be there, especially if all the boys, like, I don't know, get eaten by poisonous firecougars and we just carry on without them, that would be cool

11 comments:

  1. lol at your hate for Joseph! I will probably hate him too then!

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    1. truthfully i wouldn't mind all the guys gone other than kathrine's guy

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    2. truthfully i wouldn't mind all the guys gone other than kathrine's guy

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  2. I'm SO with you. All the boys can die off screen and never be mentioned again. I'd be so happy.

    I saw the ending coming but I didn't love any less for that.

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  3. So many books could do without the boys all together. Strong, independent women FTW! *fistpump*

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  4. EEK I've been wanting to read this since I first heard about it but now I want to read it even more ahh!

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  5. I adored Arsinoe too, and I agree with you that, because we spent the most time with her, we got to know her more. I think it was (maybe) intentional? I also could have gone without the love stories. But I loved this novel so much and Kendare Blake pretty much has cemented herself as an auto buy author for me.

    GIVE ME BOOK TWO NOW!

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  6. YES, YES ABOUT KATHARINE, I started loving her but them she basically does nothing and THEN THAT ENDING OH MY GOD, I EXPECT GREATNESS FROM HER IN THE SEQUEL.
    Also, Arsinoe grew to be my fave too, she is just <3
    I'm curious with which couple you think has potential because so far I don't ship any ship, I kind of saw potential for one but them that ending, and there was a maybe side ship for Arsinoe but that hasn't sailed or given any indication of being an actual couple so, I'm curious.
    I really think we should start a petition for the death of Joseph on the second book.
    If all the boys died and we could have ground for a great f/f ship - I actually though Mira was going to give us this but nah.

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  7. Hi! I'm new to your blog, but I just read this book and OMG I LOVED IT! I haven't read anything since HP that kept me up til 3 am since then! I called the ending about a quarter way into the book when I realized ... well I'll skip that, cause no spoilers here!... so anyway, I agree, boys can go!

    I cannot WAIT for the next book! Does anyone know when it's coming out yet, cause I'm seriously dying over here!

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  8. OMG! YOU LITERALLY TOOK THE WORDS OUT OF MY MOUTH! AND THIS IS MY FIRST TIME READING YOUR BLOG, AND NOW I THINK IM GOING TO READ IT FOREVER! SORRY ABOUT ALL CAPS, IM JUST VERY EXCITED!!!! :D :D :D

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  9. OMG! YOU LITERALLY TOOK THE WORDS OUT OF MY MOUTH! AND THIS IS MY FIRST TIME READING YOUR BLOG, AND NOW I THINK IM GOING TO READ IT FOREVER! SORRY ABOUT ALL CAPS, IM JUST VERY EXCITED!!!! :D :D :D

    ReplyDelete

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