4 stars

Three Queens, One Champion | Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake - Spoiler Free Review

September 21, 2017

Title: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: September 20th 2016
Format Read: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★.25
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.

Ever since I heard of this book, I wanted to read it. I love books about competitions, and competition between sister queens? A fight to the throne? With catty, sassy females? Yes please! I am so pleased to report that I really loved this!

In this world, there are always three triplet queens born. But only one of them gets to live and rule when the time comes. One is a poisoner, one is a naturalist and one is an elementalist, each with a different level of talents. They are all supported and trained by a different group of people.... trained to kill their other sisters.

I liked that this book actually stuck to the plot. I was sort of expecting all the sisters to meet and then realize they all love each other, decide to F the system and do their own thing. Fortunately, this book was bloody, fierce and unforgiving when it came to the competition. Each Queen and her team was focused on staying alive, no matter what it took. It was great to read about the conspiracies each team came up with, the conniving plans to overthrow their competition. Perhaps it wasn't the sisters fighting to the death themselves, but it was brutal in its own way. 

Katharine, the poisoner, was backed up by the vicious Arron family and taught how to poison people (duh.) She was puny and skinny but she could kill you with a sly slip of poison in your wine. Her gift wasn't very strong, and her personality wasn't either, but I mostly enjoyed reading from her POV because her "family," Natalia, her wicked sister Genevieve, and the caring Giselle were very interesting to read about.

Arsinoe (which I read as Arisnoe for the longest time ever) was a naturalist, and seemingly the weakest of the three when it came to powers. However, she was strong in many other ways. Her pain tolerance was unbelievable, even unrealistic at times. I was baffled at how much happened to her physically and how she pulled through it. I would have just curled up in a corner and given up. I enjoyed her POV despite her best friend Jules, a powerful naturalist, who supported her very much and had quite a huge chunk of the plot dedicated to her which I felt was unnecessary. She had a love interest and had more of a part than Arsinoe herself, which was sad because it became mostly romance heavy. 

Mirabella, the elementalist, was known as the most powerful, the one who would probably win. However, she's the only one who had a vague memory of her sisters. Her elemental powers were extremely strong and she was backed by the most influential group in this world, so she was basically guaranteed a win. However, she was very unpredictable, and defied orders a lot, so her rebelliousness could cost her the throne, and her life. Her POV was the least interesting to me, for some reason. I didn't dislike her character, but the people around her were constantly referring to goddesses and spiritual stuff which I don't enjoy. 

I enjoyed the writing style, and despite what people said about this being hard to get through, I managed to fly through it in two sittings. I didn't find it very slow at all. I love multiple POV's so that added to my enjoyment. I understand that this might be too much for some people though.

What I didn't like, or didn't really get used to was the abundance of characters. It's hard enough to keep track of your characters in a fantasy book set in one place. This book is set in three different places with three full fledged set of characters, which led to too many names and terms to remember. It takes a bit to get used to, since this is the first book. I understand why many people found it hard to get behind that. I also hated Joseph, once character in particular who was a filthy, jerk who had too much screen time and deserved to be poisoned by Katharine and eaten by a bear. 

Overall, I loved this plot and characters of this book. It is quite info-dumpy, being the first book, but the fun is just beginning here and the next book is where all the dirty games will take place. I cannot wait to continue with this series. Yes, I said series! NOT a trilogy! Finally! 

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?

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