Series: Three Dark Crowns #1
Also in this series: , One Dark Throne
Published by HarperTeen on 9/20/16
My content rating: YA (Characters have sex, but it's not shown; Some violence)
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.
If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.
This book had me hooked from the very start. I was pretty much fascinated by this story of triplets who are all raised as queens – destined to kill each other after they turn sixteen (well, one of them has to kill the other two – the future all balances on which of them succeeds).
We first meet Katharine, who is supposed to be a poisoner (which, somewhat ironically, actually means that she’s immune to poison), but we find out right away that her gift has failed to show up. She’s been raised under horrible circumstances – basically, her caretakers have been poisoning her her entire life, trying to help her build up some sort of immunity to poison so that she won’t look weak and so that she can still kill her sisters and win the crown.
Next we meet Arsinoe, who also has no gift and has been pretty much overlooked her entire life as a viable queen. Arsinoe has lived a much more carefree life than Katharine (though certainly not without its pitfalls) and the people who care for her actually show her love and affection. Her dearest friend is an extremely strong naturalist, and Arsinoe just hopes to come into her power so that she can prove to be even stronger.
Lastly, there’s Mirabella, who came into her elemental powers very early – when her sisters were taken from her, she caused a powerful storm. She is largely considered a shoo-in when it comes to becoming queen, but there is just one problem – Mirabella remembers her sisters (even though they were separated very young) and she loves them dearly. She does not want to kill them, and would do just about anything to escape that fate.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Power ploys. It becomes apparent pretty early on that not many people truly care about the queens or their gifts. The queens’ supporters mostly support them so that their faction can control the government (basically, if the poisoner queen manages to kill her sisters, the poisoners stay in power, if the elemental queen wins, the priestesses gain power, and if the naturalist queen stays alive, the naturalists get to rule the island). Because of this, there’s lots of political intrigue going on – plots to ensure that one girl or the other wins. This led to a few excellent twists (never trust anyone!) and kept me guessing as to who was behind what nefarious deeds and what was going to happen next!
- Suspense. I had a very hard time putting this book down once I got into it – there were so many pieces constantly falling into place, and I just had to know how everything was going to end up. Were all three sisters going to survive? If not, would it be a queen who killed the unlucky sisters or would someone else do the deed? Would Katharine and Arsinoe come into their powers? Were there deeper, darker family secrets that would be uncovered? What would be the repercussions of the dangerous spells that one of the sisters ended up resorting to? I needed to know all of these things!!
- The twists! I had some definite theories pretty early on about a couple of different aspects of the story, and I spent the whole book in complete suspense, wondering if I was correct. By the end of the book, I was in awe of a few of the twists – I was expecting a lot of things to happen, and none of them did (at least not yet – I’m still wondering about a few of them), but there were plenty of other curveballs thrown my way. By the time I put the book down, my brain was running in overdrive (which is especially disturbing when you’ve already stayed up way too late to finish the book because you just couldn’t bear to put it down) – in fact, my mind was spinning in so many different directions that I think I’m going to post a spoilerific book talk for the first time – don’t worry, I’ll post it separately so you’re in no danger of being spoiled!
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Joseph. I don’t know what I can say about this character without being spoilery, so I don’t think I’ll say much of anything except that sometimes he made my blood boil (mostly because he was supposed to be a nice guy). But then, there were reasons for his behavior – maybe beyond his control? Ugh! I don’t know. If you’ve read the book, watch for my spoiler-filled discussion (which will be out next week) and we can talk about it.
- Spread-out worldbuilding. So, I much prefer this to info-dumping, but I will say that the worldbuilding for this book was spread throughout the book so much that I was well into the book before I had a good sense of the world (and I still have some questions!)
I SO want to read more of this story. The fact that the second book in the series doesn’t even have a name yet (heck, the series itself doesn’t have a name on Goodreads) makes me incredibly sad. I want it NOW!! Guess I’ll have to read some other Blake books to tide me over (I have Anna Dressed in Blood sitting on my shelf, calling to me.) I give this book 5/5 stars. (And I’m holding myself back from a snap decision since this is part of a series, but I think it’s going to make it into my All-Time Favorites)
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via BEA16 in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Kendare’s Fall Favorite Thing
What’s more badass than three sisters with cool magical powers fighting for the throne? I’ll tell you what: Kendare’s fall favorite thing. You may be thinking, it’s just a necklace. Doesn’t really seem badass…Well this is actually the most badass necklace ever because not only does it match the cover of the book (more bookstagrams!), but it is also handmade by an inner city high school student. And the profits from all of the products sold go toward funding that student’s college education. Pretty badass, am I right? Feel free to check out more of their stuff: The Shine Project.
About the Author:
There’s more coming soon like Scary Out There and THREE DARK CROWNS so don’t waste another minute on your cryin. We’re nowhere near the end.
My likes include animals, food, and nostalgia. I mean, whatever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy, the evening TV? Used to be everywhere you look, there’s a heart, a hand to hold on to.
Anyway, I love to hear from readers so drop me a line on Goodreads or at my website and we’ll talk about friends to know, and ways to grow, and how if you threw a party you would see that the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.
We can also talk about all the sitcom theme songs in this bio. Sha la la la.
I have heard great things about this book. I don’t read YA very often, but this definitely sounds like one that I should check out!
It’s always nice to find a solid recommendation that intrigues you when you’re venturing outside of your typical genre. I definitely say you should check it out!
YAY!!! I am even more excited to read it now! I have had this one on my list for a while now. I am so glad you loved it! I know I will too now. Great review
I have been seeing this book on many of the blogs and it really sounds fantastic. I know I will enjoy reading it and i like the cover, the darkness brings it out!!
This is on my anticipated list for 2016, so i’m dying to get my hands on a copy. Everything sounds so good! Wary of that Joseph character, though. I don’t know if I’ll like him all that much.
I think it’s impossible to like Joseph all that much … but at the same time you kind of do. Ugh! I need the next book!!
I was already curious about this one, but you have me realizing I MUST read it and soon I hope! I love the necklace for the book and how it benefits someone’s college education. How wonderful.
I am so glad to see you loved this too! I am seriously dying for the sequel! Great review, I love how you always put in the positive and the negative. (in this case there was no negative, but still. I look forward to your reviews.
You should definitely check out my spoiler-filled discussion too. I want to know what everyone thinks of my theories (and Shannon proposed one in the comments that was fantastic too!).
When do we get the spoiler talk? I want to do spoiler talk! ALSO- I thought the EXACT same thing- I want to make it an all time favorite, but am scared because it is a series! I love it SO MUCH. I mean, I will probably make the leap anyway but still 😉 I also need ALL of the UK editions, there is one for each of the queens! EEP. I need to take a gander at the US HC too, to see if it is prettier than the ARC. I am giving my ARC away because I find it non-pretty 😉 Yeah, let’s get this spoiler chat thing started!! I am in! So glad you loved this one too, great review!
I actually have it all written – I wrote it immediately after I wrote this post (which I, for once, actually did a long time ago because I wanted to gush about the book soon after I read it). I just figured I should wait until the book has been out for a week or so to give more people a chance to read it so I wouldn’t be talking to myself! 🙂
This sounds awesome! I don’t often go for fantasy but this one actually has me pretty excited. With the cast of characters, the suspense and all the plot twists… I am totally on board. Great review, Nicole!
This sounds intriguing! Cannot wait to read it!
Lovely review I’ve heard so much about this book I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy.
[…] Spoiler Discussion (don’t read it if you haven’t read the book, but feel free to peruse her non-spoiler review here)! And since I was able to do that, I may be able to provide you with a couple of coherent […]
I was really, really looking forward to this book but until now the reviews…haven’t been all that great. Reading your thoughts here though gives me hope! I’m willing to give it a chance and hopefully I’ll have the same luck you did with it 😀 GREAT review^^ xx
Hmmm … I haven’t read a lot of reviews for this one, so I didn’t see that people weren’t loving it. (For the most part, the reviews I HAVE seen have been positive, though!) I’d definitely give it a try. I know you’re big on worldbuilding, and it seemed pretty good when it came to that aspect. Now I’m curious what some people didn’t like. Must go read some more reviews …
I can’t wait to read this book!! Thanks for the review!!
I’ve seen good and bad about this book and it makes me curious as to what I would think. Three sisters, triplets, pitted against each other and they have powers? Yes, please! It’s like anti-Charmed. lol
Oooh! I loved Charmed, so anti-Charmed sounds good to me! 🙂
I’m really looking forward to reading this book. Your review makes me want to read it so badly. Thank you for this amazing chance! 🙂