Three Dark Crowns
by Kendare Blake
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.
How to introduce this book? I'll admit, when I first got it in my September 2016 OwlCrate box, I wasn't that interested in it. The synopsis really just didn't grab me. The cover is simple and lovely, but doesn't appeal to my personal tastes. But out of the 3 other OwlCrate books I've read, I haven't yet been too disappointed, so I figured I would like it if I could get past my mental block, just go in blind.
Anyway, as part of my goal to read the rest of the 2016 OwlCrate books this year, I decided to pick another OC book to read after Flawed (I was still working on Anne of Green Gables at the time, as well), and settled on this one. I was going to try to read the books in the chronological order I received them in, but the mental block is much stronger for some of those first books...
Once I got through the first few chapters of Three Dark Queens, after we meet the three sisters and get a sense of what the world is like, I was definitely into it. I wouldn't say I was hooked, but definitely intrigued enough to keep going. About halfway through, a romantic twist happened that really piqued my interest, and then I really was hooked. By the time I got to the twist ending, I was just incredibly disappointed about this being the first of a series and that I would have to wait to find out what happens next.
I did find the world/timeline a bit confusing, so I hope there is a more extensive explanation of this in future books. Obviously, the island where the sisters live is hidden from normal mortals, except for those potential king-consorts and their families. Based on what Junior tells Arsinoe about "the mainland," my imagination tells me that the island is probably close to England, and that the story takes place several hundred years ago, perhaps about the time of the witch hunts, so sometime in the 1600's?
I liked that we saw each sister's village/house and how they were treated in those houses; whether they were loved or hated, raised with words or hands, and how their powers/abilities (or lack thereof) were dealt with.
I liked the other characters as well: friends and love interests. Although Katherine's love interest's actions near the end of the book really confused me. If I may speculate, I think (hope?) that one of the friends may end up as Queen, rather than one of the sisters.