TITLE: Three Dark Crowns
AUTHOR: Kendare Blake
SERIES: Three Dark Crowns (#1)
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Children's Books
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
RATING: 4.5/5 Stars
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.
What I Liked:
- The tone of this book is deliciously dark and that was probably my favourite ting about it. It read like YA of course, but wasn't afraid to touch on a few more mature themes and I liked how each place had a different aura (Katherine's poisoners were very macabre, Arsinoe's village very quaint and rough and Mirabella's home felt like it was hotter and old-school Fantasy) because it added to the 'A Song Of Ice & Fire' vibes I got from it. It was very clear that this was no coincidence, and sometimes a little too obvious that Blake was drawing her influences from the beloved series but this wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I love political intrigue.
- Blake writes very well and has a knack for great twists. The pace was pretty slow to begin with and I was a little worried that I would get bored, but I felt that Blake kept it interesting and it definitely built up to something explosive rather than fizzling out which I often find in books. She did a great job with the world-building too and I liked that she'd clearly thought about lore, history and differing social etiquette. It kept things more interesting, that's for sure.
What I Disliked:
- There were a few minor niggles I could have done without. Mostly the switching between past and present tense and fairly frequent intervals, which should have been picked up on by an editor. There was a love triangle that I didn't totally hate but it definitely felt more like a plot device than anything. Also, the aforementioned links to the 'A Song Of Ice & Fire' series were, as I said, too obvious at times: animal familiars, the Lannister-like poisoners, and let's face it, Pietyr was Petyr Baelish without a shadow of a doubt.
This was a great book and despite a few obvious flaws, I really liked a lot about it. It was definitely a book that grabbed my attention and had me talking about it constantly, and when I stopped reading I couldn't wait to get back! I liked all three sisters for different reasons, and listening to each of them second-guessing each other's motives and misinterpreting things was so interesting! I was rooting for them all and can't wait to read book two!