Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood will devour her latest novel, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen.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.
It took me five days to finish this book. Not because it’s boring but because I was trying to slow down my reading pace so I can be with the Queens a little longer. Oh, me!
I won’t lie: Three Dark Crowns was a little disappointing. The blurb screams “bloody battle” but none of that really happened in this book. At first it felt like I’ve been tricked and I didn’t get exactly what was promised. But looking back I still enjoyed it. I love it! It is easy to forgive Kendare Blake for the lack of action in there because I can see what she’s trying to do. She’s cooking some evil for us, you guys!
Three dark queens
are born in glen,
sweet little triplets
will never be friends
Three dark sisters
all fair to be seen,
two to devour
and one to be Queen
Majority of this is about laying foundations. We get to see the whole of Fennbirn, its strange traditions, and its even stranger magic system. We get to know the triplets individually. In the end I was actually more grateful than disappointed that Blake took time in letting us into the sisters’ lives, showing us their strengths and flaws, the people they love, and the things that matter to them. Yeah, make us love them before you kill them Blake!
It’s a bit slow in the middle with all those foundation building. But I didn’t really mind it. I’m a patient reader so it worked for me. I think it was important to have that kind of build-up instead of just jumping into the part where the queens kill each other for the crown. This way the readers got to familiarize the world, the magic, the political intrigues going on, and the queens, before taking sides. I’m afraid Blake has really done good at that. Because all three sisters were awesome, admirable, and I just don’t know who to cheer for!
The story is set in a strange, magical, island in the mist where a triplet is born in each generation. Each queen has a gift that they will someday use against each other. When they come of age, the queens will compete for the crown in a battle to the death.
Katharine is a poisoner. Her gift was supposed to make her able to ingest any kind of poison. But her gift was weak. The island had a poisoner queen for the last three generations so, weak gift or not, the expectation from every poisoner in the island weighs heavy on her shoulders.
Arsinoe is a naturalist. Supposedly she can tame animals and make anything bloom. But she can’t. She has long ago accepted her fate of being killed by one of her sisters despite her people’s hope.
Mirabella is an elemental and the most powerful of the three. She can manipulate the elements, conjure a storm, bathe in fire. Problem is, her heart might be too soft for a queen.
My favorite part of this would be the genuine friendships, the support, and the loyalty that each queen gets from the people they grew up with. There are people who supports the queens for their own personal motives. But deep down they truly cared too.
The romance is strong in here. It’s like having a lot of boyfriends in one book. And where there is romance there will be betrayals. And… It. Will. Hurt. There is one love triangle and I don’t really get why it’s even there. It wasn’t a mood killer but it just felt random and unnecessary to me. Personally, I think that part of the book would have been better, glorious even, without that inessential romantic entanglement. But everything else is so good I decided to let this pass.
That last part of the book was jaw-dropping. If my expectations for the second book weren’t on maximum, it is now after that ending. After all these set-up, I think the next installment would be ruthless, deadly, and savage. Hopefully.