Book Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

threedarkcrownscoverOfficial Synopsis: 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. 

Hype or Like Friday is a Goodreads group started by Jill at Rant and Rave About Books, Larkin at Wonderfilled Reads, and Britt at Geronimo Reads.

Genre: Fantasy
My copy came from: I purchased the hardcover from Amazon.

Review: Strange and dark, with an intriguing premise that made me overlook its faults.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake was the November Book of the Month for Hype or Like Friday, and I hadn’t really heard anything about this book before I read it, which is probably one of the reasons I liked it so much. I went into the book completely blind, not knowing anything about the plot, so I didn’t really have any expectations for this book.

Taking us into a bizarre world in which triplets battle to the death for a crown, Three Dark Crowns tells the story of Katharine, who is immune to poison, Arsinoe, a naturalist who can control plants and animals, and Mirabella, an elemental who can control the weather, fire, and water to name a few things. There are rules to the “battle”, and the triplets must wait until they are sixteen to start trying to kill their sisters, with the winner becoming queen.

Stop sounding so sad. And stop looking at me that way. This is what we are. It doesn’t matter that we didn’t ask for it.

Raised apart from each other, and schooled in their specialties, the triplets don’t have a particular love for each other, as they were separated at an early age and are trained to kill in order to be queen.

Out of the three sisters, Arsinoe probably was the most likeable; she seems carefree and down-to-earth and genuinely cares for her friends. Katherine was a bit too obsessed with learning how to seduce for me to really care for her (why must this be a lesson she needs to learn??). Although, I did love the fact that her favorite piece of “jewelry” was her very poisonous pet coral snake worn as a bracelet. And Mirabella, well, Mirabella was fine, she was probably the kindest of the sisters, and seems to be the one sister willing to try to not fight and instead be friends, but then she goes and has sex with a random guy (who of course isn’t random) on the beach after he washes ashore. It was just way too much of insta-love for me, and was flat-out irritating, and brought a weird love triangle into the mix that I just didn’t care about.

I cannot stay here anymore and dream of my sisters talking to me from dead bodies. I cannot kill them. I know that you need me to; I know that is what I am meant to do…

With mention of the three different gifts (poison, naturalist, and elemental), there is also mention of “rare” gifts: the war gift and the sight gift. Neither of these gifts were ever explained, but were mentioned enough for me to think, “ok, which of the sisters will have these gifts”, but again, nothing was ever explained. Since there is a sequel to this book, maybe I’ll find out more about these gifts later. I hope so, as they sound interesting. And they are probably far more practical and useful than the ability to withstand poisonings. After all, if people know you are a poisoner, and immune to poisons, they won’t try to poison you, therefore making your gift useless. In my mind, the elemental is the strongest gift, as you could just zap the other sisters with lightning, and the battle is done. But I guess if Mirabella did just that, there wouldn’t be a book to read…

If the idea of three sisters with magical gifts battling for a crown interests you, then you might really like this book! I admit to being a bit irritated that women are always pitted against other women (or girls against other girls), so this was frustrating to read. But I do hope that there might be a twist to this plot in the next book.

Three Dark Crowns had some predictable parts, but other scenes weren’t predictable at all, and the book was unusual and intriguing enough for me to like it and read it fairly quickly.

I do have one recommendation for those who want to read Three Dark Crowns: you may want to wait until the sequel is available (Fall 2017 I believe), as the book leaves off on a cliffhanger. Cliffhangers now make me weary (thank you, George R.R. Martin, for that!), and I’m almost to the point of giving up series books until the whole series is published. That’s how irritated I am with cliffhanger endings.

While it may sound like this book really irritated me, and it certainly did in parts, overall I really did enjoy it, and I liked the darkness and unusual aspects of the book. I’ll definitely read the sequel, and it gets a LIKE from me!

Bottom Line: Unusual, dark, and intriguing. Has its faults, but I still enjoyed it.


Links to Three Dark Crowns on  Amazon   and    Goodreads

And I’ve now started creating Pinterest pages based on the books that I read. Here’s a link to my Pinterest page based on Three Dark Crowns here. If the Pinterest page intrigues you, pick up the book!

What do you think? Are you intrigued by the plot or are you weary of the trend in books that everything needs to be fought for? Have you read Three Dark Crowns? Are you anxiously awaiting the sequel?


24 thoughts on “Book Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

  1. Great review! I totally agree that the Arsinoe was the best sister – she was the only one that I liked! And I didn’t get the whole love triangle either, it was so weird and made absolutely zero sense to me. But I still enjoyed the book and will be continuing on with the series. That cliffhanger had me like – WHHHHAAAATTTT??!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I dunno, if a hot dude washed up on the beach near me—fingers pruned up, vomiting seawater—I’d probably have to have sex with him, too. There’s just something about half-drowned guys that’s so sexable, you know?


    Great review! I’ll look forward to hearing if you like the sequel better. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I hope I like the sequel better – it certainly left off on a big cliffhanger and I want to know what happens next !!
      And when two people are alone on a beach they must engage in sexual activity! 🙂 Because what else would they do?? (sigh.)
      Have you read Three Dark Crowns?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps no one’s shown them the unparalleled joy of amassing a giant collection of shark teeth? Poor dears, someone should get on that.

        I haven’t, and I doubt I ever will. Unless the sequel is stunning, I suppose. You’ll have to keep me posted!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish I had known there was a second book when I started! I can’t forgive the promise of action that wasn’t delivered until the end but the characters are interesting enough to be curious about what’s next!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does feel a bit manipulative and trying to get you to purchase the next book. I think I just automatically assumed it was a series because that seems to be the popular thing right now, so I was OK with the lack of action at the beginning. Perhaps this one would’ve been better served as being just one very large book rather than broken up. I guess we’ll have to wait until next fall to know for sure!


  4. I still remember watching the first Lord of the Rings movie in my living room with my dad and how ANGRY he was that the end was a cliffhanger. He didn’t know that there would be three movies and was pissed that he sat through around 200 minutes of film to get no end.

    Also, I feel like perhaps the author of this book didn’t consider the fact that triplets aren’t actually born at the same time. They come out one after the other, just like all babies…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah – I totally understand his anger at the end of the first LOTR! A lot of people were angry at the way that movie ended – I loved it, and thought it was an excellent set up to the next movie, but I’m a big fan of the books 🙂
      I kinda just assumed there was another book coming, such is the trend now in YA!, so the cliffhanger ending didn’t anger me so much as just irritate me that now I need to wait to find out what happens!

      Liked by 1 person

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