Three Dark Queens by Kendare Blake is a young adult fantasy novel that I recently finished. I decided to pick this one up because it was being promoted on Goodreads and looked like something I would like. I was not disappointed.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake is the story of three sisters, triplets, who are separated at the age of six and raised by three different families on an island. One of them will become the ruling queen of Fennbirn when they turn sixteen, and to do that, she must kill her sisters.
The three sisters are Katharine, Arsine and Mirabella. Katharine is a poisoner. She is supposed to be able to consume potions without any adverse side effects. The past two queens have been poisoners, and they are not willing to give up control of the crown. The problem is, Katharine’s gift is weak. They have been poisoning her over and over again to try to build up her immunity. It is not working. Arsinoe is a naturalist. They are able to control nature and animals and have an animal familiar. However, Arsinoe’s gift is also week, and she has not been able to do any of these things. Mirabella is an elemental, which means she has power over the elements. She is extremely gifted in each element, with a little trouble from water. She is favored to win, but she is haunted by memories of her sisters and is unsure if she will be able to kill them when the time comes.
The book is written in third person and switches between the three sisters. This means that you form attachments to each sister knowing that only one of them will survive. I honestly don’t know which sister I am rooting for at this point. There is something likable in all three sisters.
My absolute favorite part of this book was the ending. If you’re reading it, and it seems to be going slow, just wait until the Quickening. I pays off. This is when you really get to the battle ready sisters that you expect to find when reading the summary. And that ending…there are so many ways Blake can go with that. I’m super excited to see what is done.
- Love Factor: There were several couples in this story. Each Queen has a love interest, and they range from believable to not so much. I’m only going to name the queen in each paring so spoilers are avoided. My favorite paring was Katharine. She spends the most time with her beau, so they are a believable and cute match. I could actually picture them together. They fit. Next was Arsenio. Her love interest is more believable to me because it reminds me of all those stories of people who have started out as friends and bloom into something more unexpectedly. However, this is obviously accelerated for the time span of the story. They are a surprising match. Then there is Mirabella’s match. I’m 90% sure that her match isn’t a “natural” one because it makes absolutely no sense. I do not like them together at all; it doesn’t make any since. Honestly, I don’t think it is supposed to though. I suspect there is nefarious reason behind that paring.
- World building: I am not entirely satisfied with the world building here, but I understand that there is a time constraint when setting up a story. (However, I’m inclined to be less lenient when this is the first book of a series because you can take more time to set that world up.) The story takes place on the island of Fennbirn which is in service to a goddess. That’s cool, and I can get behind that. Then there is a “mainland” that suitors come from to court the queen and become her king consort. These people are your normal, humdrum, peoples. If this mainland takes a turn like Divergent’s “outside” did I will be so mad. I think that’s the biggest problem I have with the world. I’m so worried the mainland will be some modern-day wasteland, and I will be SO disappointed.
- Series Starter: This totally works as a series starter because I have to know what happens next. The book ends with a big cliff hanger / twist that definitely leaves you hungry for more. Also, there is no actual battle royale in this book that has to happen, and I really want to see that.
- BFF: Something I really liked was the way the sisters are portrayed as real people, not just blood thirsty machines who were raised to kill. Mirabella and Arsinoe both majorly value friendship. If either one of these girls thought you their friend, it would mean something. They would be there for you even though they are going through a life threatening situation.
I give this book four stars because I am so excited to see what happens next. I wouldn’t purchase it because I don’t think I would reread it, but once the tension started to build when the actual competition starts, it was impossible to put down. And that last sentence!! I reread the last page twice it just blew me away. I love that the “shocker” made total sense. It wasn’t something that the author was pulling to throw you for a loop and hook you for the next book. There was foreshadowing that I didn’t even notice until I read that last line. Then it all made since. I’m totally looking forward to One Dark Throne.
Has anyone else read this yet? What did you think? Have you read anything similar that you enjoyed? Leave it in the comments! I’m always looking for recommendations.