Three Dark Crowns
Three Dark Crowns #1
author : kendare blake
pages : [hardcover] 398
When kingdom come, there will be one.
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.
Three Dark Crowns is a book that’s been on my radar for a while. I’ve loved Kendare Blake’s books in the past, so I knew the writing would be solid and the plot summary intrigued me. Somehow it all sort of fell apart in the execution.
While this is the first book of a series, it sort of read like a very long, overextended prologue. Basically setting up the characters for the real action and political intrigue, Three Dark Crowns offers us . . . not much of real substance. We are already aware of the driving force of the novel: there are triplets who must kill each other and the surviving girl will become the next queen. We know that intensity will begin at this ceremony after their birthday. Except that ceremony doesn’t take place until the very, very end of this book.
Why do we linger so much on the characters beforehand? I’m not sure, because there isn’t much that couldn’t have been explained in a few clever flashbacks. The relationships between the characters as well as their adoptive families are in no way unexpected or overly complex. Mostly it’s them meandering around thinking about the future and complaining about things that they can’t currently do, while I was left wondering why I couldn’t be taken to a point in the plot closer to when they could do them.
Maybe this slow pacing is what made it impossible for the plot twists to work: there was nothing surprising about this book. The grand reveal was something that felt obvious after the opening chapters, and left me disappointed that I was right when I had been hoping I was being misled.
Still, the writing is excellent. It makes me think that maybe book two will be great, now that everything is finally set into its place. I’ll probably read the sequel eventually, and hope that the series keeps improving upon itself.