Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns.jpg



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.  


Hardcover, 398 pages

Published September 20th 2016 by HarperTeen


My Review:


“Three dark queens
Are born in a glen,
Sweet little triplets
Will never be friends

Three dark sisters
All fair to be seen,
Two to devour
And one to be Queen”

― Kendare Blake

A bloody, elegant fable like novel set in fantastical Fennbirn, where magically gifted triplets are born every generation to rule the land. One born as an elemental (Mirabella), one as a naturalist (Arsinoe) and one as a poisoner (Katherine). They are bound by tradition and rule to murder one another till the last one stands.

“Queens do not remember these things,"
"Saying so does not make it true."
"You will need it to be true, for it is too cruel otherwise, to force a Queen to kill what she loves. Her own sisters. And for her to see that which she loves come at her door like wolves, seeking her head.”

― Kendare Blake

Separated as children and raised in different ways and parts of the Fennbirn land, each sister explores and practices for the day they will spar one another. As the reader is first introduced to Katherine, a reflection of the ugly duckling comes to mind as she is weak, not beautiful but very genuine and giftless. To make her stronger, she spends day in and out being poked, prodded and poisoned. She lets it happen without the deep desire to actually harm someone. Her caring disposition leads her to seek the arms of a young man that appears to fall for her genuinely…but he is actually betrothed to her sister Arsinoe. Respectfully and hurt, Katherine tries to do the right thing and not meddle in a love triangle upon learning of his betrothal. But, is there more behind his chivalry or is he torn. Will he betray their friendship in the direst moments or side with her?

“I saved you,' she says. 'I will not let you die.'
She kisses him hungrily, her touch waking him up, pulling him out of the dark. He feels like he belongs in her arms. She will not let him die. She will make them both warm.
She will set them both on fire.”

― Kendare Blake

The book moves on to Mirabella the elemental. Her powers are well established and she is a likeable, joyful, compassionate character. She has a keen interest in her sisters and tries to reach out to them. Her childhood memories are sweet and she has an aversion to killing. This makes her plotline the sweetest one of all the sisters.

Lastly, Arsinoe is the naturalist. She shares a telepathic connection to animals. Her powers over her cougar are habitually trained and practiced and endearing. However, she lacks complete naturalist powers at this point, and the idea of delving into ‘low magic’ with a bear, proves to be a very dangerous game.

At last the day has come when the three sisters have to face each other. And in a twisty, grisly ending, the ultimate climax of the book ends with a cliffhanger and segway to the sequel.

“I want revenge." She whispers, and her fingers trail bloody streaks down Natalia's arms.
"And then I want my crown.”

― Kendare Blake


Compared to other YA fantasy books with magical systems, this one held my attention and I did not dnf it. I am going to be honest….I have tried a few others, but shallow characters or a lack in depth of world building have let me to not bother reading further then their meager beginnings. Now, I know this is all up to taste, so for me, I am happy to have been pleasantly surprised by the grit and un-foreshadowed matrix that made the difference in this novel. The characters were well thought-out and anything but cliché. Rather complicated and vivid are the lives of these Queens portrayed, which makes it difficult to root for either of them.
I will be looking forward to the next book!