Kendare Blake: Three Dark Crowns


In every generation on the island of Fennbirn a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown, all possessed of a coveted magic.

Mirabella, a fierce elemental, can spark hungry flames with the click of a finger.

Katharine, a poisoner, is known to be resistant to the deadliest of snake bites.

Arsinoe, a naturalist, is rumoured to have the ability to bloom the reddest of roses.

But becoming the Queen Crowned is not just a matter of royal birth. These three sisters must fight to the death for the throne, and on the night they turn sixteen the battle begins. Only one queen can inherit the crown.

Three Dark Crowns is a young adult, fantasy novel set in Fennbirn where, every generation, triplets are born to the current Queen Crowned. These triplets possess powers; elemental, poison, naturalist – and must, once they have turned sixteen, fight it out between them to obtain the throne by killing off their sisters.

In Three Dark Crowns we get to know these triplets and the powers that they possess. Some are strong in their power, others weak, but all believe that they can become the Queen Crowned – though some are a little less willing. All three characters are different in their personalities and these are also reflected within their powers and how they see their futures. I enjoyed all three characters and the powers they wield. I found myself more drawn to Arsinoe and Mirabella with Katharine bringing up the rear. I personally found her to be weak and quite plain in her personality and appearance, as well as being a typical YA character. The other two, I believe, had more definition in their characteristics.

The story line itself was mediocre, with Blake’s writing not hooking me into the story until around the last quarter when things started to heat up. Yes, she had good description and developed these characters well, but I didn’t feel like it was anything special through the writing itself. On the other hand, the overall concept was one that I thoroughly enjoyed and I loved the direction it has taken and I hope it will take. I can see the potential in it but, it is only when there is a turning point in the narrative that the writing becomes more alive and gripping.

With that being said, I didn’t really have many expectations for this book when heading into it. I picked up the book after seeing it making the rounds around social media and thought I would see what all the fuss was about. I have read far better young adult fantasies and, though I will be picking up the other books to see where the characters and direction are taken, it is not a series that I am bowled over by.


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