Monday, October 3, 2016

Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Firstly, thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this review copy <3

Date Read: August 21 - September 6 2016
Date Released: October 1 2016
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating:

"Three sisters. One crown. A fight to the death.
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 can’t even begin to describe how sad I am that I didn’t like this. When I think of TDC and how it just went downhill, I’m filled with such disappointment.

The premise sounded amazing - three sisters who are equal heirs to the crown and who have to fight to be queen on their sixteenth birthday. Each has their own distinctive ability: elements, poisons, nature. There was the implied promise of strategy, action, manipulation and wonderful magic.

Three Dark Crowns started off strong - I was immersed in Katharine’s training of poisons and the way she’d been brought up in the family of poisoners. Blake keeps true to her word that it’s about three sisters with equal rights to the crown because she writes all three perspectives of each sister. I can’t say I cared much for Arsinoe and her supposedly naturalist gift. Mirabella was quite interesting with her elemental abilities and to be honest she seemed to be the only one who had any sort of personality. By the end I didn’t see how Katharine had grown as a person. I had no idea of her hopes and dreams, what she wanted for herself. Arsinoe too seemed to not really give a shit about anything and I was extremely bored with her. There were some things to do with her ‘abilities' that led her in a particular direction but her drive for that was very lacklustre. I found the sisters to be quite flat overall. Can you tell I don’t even care?

I think the secondary characters, especially the heads of each family that were training each sister, really drove the direction of the novel, and the sisters themselves. There was definitely manipulation here and the sisters felt like puppets. As such it didn’t feel like the story was about the sisters but more about these families at each other’s throats trying to put the sister they were looking after onto the throne for their own goals. Was I interested in their motives? Somewhat but not really. There wasn’t enough there to make it anymore than a power play and be a famous family.

What I really wanted more of was the history of the queens. There seemed a lot of promise behind the idea of the triplets and I’m really hoping that Blake explores this because it has so much potential to drive the direction of the sisters going forward. As it stands, there wasn’t enough of this history to hint at what Blake plans for the future and I can’t even tell if this history will be opened up in the sequels. This is possibly wishful thinking of my part.

The plot… was not really a plot at all for me. Maybe because it took me so damn long to read this book because I got so damn bored because it dragged on forever and nothing seemed to happen. Everything was meant to lead to this festival but honestly I was so fed up at this point that any plot twists/revelations and the like didn’t wow me or reduce my boredom at all. Stuff happened and I guess I was like wtf but then I was like ok *turns the page* let’s get this over and done with.

It felt like the story lost its direction. I couldn’t tell where Blake was going with this. By the time this ended I felt lost. I didn’t feel like I’d finished a story. I felt like I’d drifted in the middle of the sea and was floating aimlessly. There’s potential but I can’t anticipate what happens in the sequel because not enough happened in Three Dark Crowns. I wanted more from the sisters; I expected more from their abilities and I wanted them to use their brains.

I see the potential in Three Dark Crowns, I really do. However, book 1 failed to hit the mark to establish itself for a strong series. I’m hoping the sequel will be better.


  1. Ahhhh what a shame. I got this unsolicited and I feel bad but it's not really calling to me - I've seen way too many bad reviews. Gah.

    1. It's definitely a love it or hate it kind of book it seems.

  2. The Australian cover is soo pretty!

    I wasn't a fan of this one, the sisters were boring as all hell and those love stories were unnecessary. Thanks for your honesty!

    1. Really? I'm not a fan of the AU cover sadly. And yes completely agree, I was SO bored. The love stories served no purpose either.