Title: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Time taken to read: 9 days
Goodreads 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.
I read an excerpt from this in Buzz Books 2016 YA fall/winter edition, and it was one of the best excerpts in the book. I was very excited when this came out last month, but I started reading some reviews on Goodreads and a lot of them were pretty negative. I typically don’t read reviews until I read the book, but I was so hyped about it while I was waiting for it to arrive at my library that I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, in my opinion, those people were all wrong, and this is a great book. I will say that when I read the excerpt, I thought it was going to be full of really stupid names like “Pietyr” which is obviously just Peter, but that ended up being the only really stupid one. The name Arsinoe is obviously weird, but I kind of like it. I was also really irritated by the fact that the first chapter spends a lot of time talking about how skinny and sickly Katharine is, and her caretakers obviously don’t like how she looks, but I think that fantasy novels especially do this thing a lot where they describe the bones jutting out and hollow cheeks and things like that, and they try to put it in a negative light, but then they talk about how she’s so hauntingly beautiful and blah blah, and it just creates an environment where eating disorder thoughts can easily grow.
That’s probably my biggest criticism of the book, though, and after that first chapter it’s definitely toned down, so it didn’t affect my rating. I guess the book started off a little slow, as many Goodreads reviewers said, but I think that’s only in comparison to the fact that the second half of the book had me reading like mad. I was absolutely desperate to get to the end, and then I was almost there and I remembered this book is just the first in a series, and now I almost wish I had just waited until they had all come out because I will absolutely die waiting for the next one! I also read a lot in the reviews about “the twist at the end,” so I will just mention that, because it got me super excited to get to it: it was amazing, and I never once suspected it. And now that I think about it, I’m like, wow, should that have been super obvious? But I didn’t see it coming at all, so good on Kendare Blake for that. I’m not really that big of a fantasy reader, so if you’re not either, I’d still definitely recommend this one. Even if you think it’s going slow in the beginning, keep going. This story is wild.