Early Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

, by Kt Clapsadl

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Three Dark Crowns #1

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.

For such an interesting premise, THREE DARK CROWNS suffers from a lack of strong execution. From the blurb, I was thoroughly hooked, however upon reading, especially at first, I was less than enamored. The book starts off in the middle of things to the point where it's incredibly confusing as to what's going on. I had to go back twice to make sure my kindle didn't accidentally start at a few chapters in. But unfortunately that wasn't the case so I mustered on. I have to admit I almost DNF this book several times. Nothing really happens, nothing is explained, nothing made sense, and frankly not a single one of the characters aside from one side one really caught my attention until pretty far into the book. It's hard to root for someone to win when none of them seem worthy and/or remarkable enough to really get behind them.

With that ringing endorsement, you are probably wondering why I kept reading and didn't give up on the book, and why I wound up rating it a 3 rather than lower. Somehow despite my confusion and lack of attachment to the characters, after the first few chapters I found myself oddly hooked. I just couldn't stop reading. The premise and the world is incredibly fascinating, and while the continually rotating perspectives made it hard to get attached to any one character it was rather addicting much to my surprise. There's just something so dark and twisted about the story, and I especially enjoyed how every path that seemed to light would twist and turn and wind up leading back down a dark path again. Those aspects of the story kept me on my toes and turning the pages. By the end the three sisters all seemed to have found their identities and chutzpah. It should make for one heck of a showdown once things come to a head if the last few chapters of this one are any indication.

Overall I'd say THREE DARK CROWNS is one heck of a "sleeper" hit that sneaks up on you. From starting out so rocky, it rather impressed me at the end. I have very high hopes for this dark and twisted series, and can honestly say I'm dying to get my hands on the next book.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     The Nocturnal Library
     Angel Erin's Book Obsession
     Curling Up With A Good Book


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