Released in September 2016, the first book in Kendare Blake’s new series, Three Dark Crowns, was released to relatively good reviews, including my own. Though I did not enjoy her other book, Anna Dressed in Blood, I felt that she had a strong concept and I wanted to see how she would use it. I was not disappointed.
Three Dark Crowns follows three triplet sisters who are all in line to become queen. The only thing standing in their way? Each other. On their island, they must fight to the death using their special powers and whoever is still living at the end of the year will become queen. The only problem? Two of the queens, Katharine and Arsinoe, have yet to develop their powers, leaving Mirabella as the shoo-in. Katharine is a poisoner, believed to be able to ingest any poison and survive. Arsinoe is a naturalist, believed to have the ability of controlling plants and animals. Mirabella is an elemental, with the ability of controlling nature around her such as fire, water, and, her favorite, lightning.
The strongest thing that this book had going for it was its world-centric story. I absolutely loved how involved the fantasy world was in the story. It did not shy away from having the government and religion be dominating powers, as seen in how the temple wanted Mirabella to be the next queen in order to get the first elemental queen in generations, which created a very interesting world to dive into. Even further, the island country was a complete matriarchy, something I’ve never read before. It was even acknowledged by the boys who come over from the mainland, and Arsinoe simply says that that is the way things are, the same answer someone from our own history would say about our past, and current, patriarchal society.
There were quite a few twists and turns, particularly toward the end. It made for an interesting ending, but the book really didn’t grab like it should until about three-quarters of the way in. But along with its dark mood and amazing world and story, I was hooked. However, I was still able to predict the ending, but not all of it. I think that with the way that Kendare Blake ended the book, she has the opportunity to do anything she wants, and I’m confident in her ability to do just that.
Lastly, I don’t believe that the characters were the strongest. I felt like I was able to connect with only a few characters, and the rest felt flat. But I was able to hate quite a few of the characters, particularly the love interests for the queens, and that’s just as important. I also liked the dynamic relationships between the characters, but the characters by themselves just did not live up to my standards.
I will definitely be reading the sequel, One Dark Throne, which is due for publication sometime in 2017.