December 1, 2016

ARC Review of Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 416
Format: ARC
Genre: YA 
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.
If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

*an ARC of this book was given to me during BEA 2016 from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review*

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake was one of my top goals at BEA 2016 this year and I happily managed to get a copy. The cover was intriguing, the book sounded amazing, and I felt for sure that I would love it. After reading it I can say that other than a few small complaints I ended up highly enjoying it and look forward to the sequel!

I've said this time and time again in my reviews but I'll say it one more time, I expect fantasy books to have the best world-building/settings as they have the most material to work with. Three Dark Crowns mostly delivered in that aspect, with a brand new world (as in different from ours) and three different locations being explored throughout the book. However, I just felt like a bit more could be added; a small push in making the settings more complex or adding more that would make an impact. I'm sure the next book will have that push and Three Dark Crowns is still very good in this department despite its lack of it. It's no Throne of Glass but Kendare Blake's book still holds its own against the legions of fantasy books out there.

The characters/plot was where the book both shined and where some of my complaints come from, although the pros outweigh the cons. Three different queens with different stories, upbringings, and powers was what the book revolved around, their training and path to become the one queen. I absolutely loved reading each POV, from the poisoner queen who was pushed so much time and time again to the elemental one in what is basically a religious cult to the naturalist queen that is out shined by so many people around her in terms of skill. The author truly shines here as she even made me feel emotional over the characters (more so than I usually do). When it comes to the plot it definitely was interesting but it didn't feel like enough. A wider range of things could have been covered in the book and some of the things that were covered weren't that interesting. However, when combine with the rest of the book it was still enough for me to keep reading and now the ending of the book has set up the sequel to be truly interesting.

Three Dark Crowns is a book that while may lack slightly in some aspects, every fantasy fan should still read. Not only is the topic of the book something I haven't seen written about before but the characters themselves are enough of a reason to read. If the next book touches upon some of the things I mentioned earlier I have no doubt that it can become a five star read.

4/5 - Pretty good book

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