Book Reviews

Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

While Three Dark Crowns got off to a slow start for me, by the ending, I was screaming for the sequel.


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 wanted to love Three Dark Crowns. Like I was so ready to declare my undying love for this series. And while I really enjoyed it, I’m not sure my love is there yet. Three Dark Crowns started pretty slowly. This isn’t a book that is full of fast paced action. At the beginning a lot of time is devoted to the characters and to the world. This multiple point of view novel revolves around our three sisters, but they have had lives of their own. Separated as children, each has found their own friends, enemies, and powers, or lack of. So my main problem is that the majority of the book is setting up this series, and there’s nothing wrong with that, it just seemed to drag a little.

That being said, by the end the book picked up speed a lot, ending on a monumental cliff hanger. But what originally drew me to the series, remained the same – these three sisters. And I had a contentious relationship with each of them. Much like real sisters in that way. We see each of their perspectives, and like those characters in movies you want to yell at, in some ways you just want to shake some of them. That isn’t bad, it just creates a lot of angst in my own head.

Throughout I kept ping ponging between sisters. Wondering who really had my allegiance. You know. Who would I root for? And I was surprised at the end. I simultaneously wanted something so supremely dark, while also fluffy. And I wouldn’t say either of these were really fulfilled. There were loads of secrets, conspiracies, and manipulation going on. But I wanted something super dark, like raining blood dark. Or I wanted there to be this moment where they might come together and tear the entire world apart – but together.

And at the end of the day, Three Dark Crowns is a story about ambition and what our family means to us. This doens’t have to mean our blood relations, our sisters, but it can mean our found family. Three Dark Crowns is also a book that asks us about what makes someone powerful. Is it the actual strength of your power or the choice to do something else? There’s politics, manipulation, secrecy, and intrigue. Enough so that I will definitely read the second.

Find Three Dark Crowns on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite slow burn series?

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