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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
dan plaza
I almost dismissed this book but i kept going. I kept trying to read it and somewhere around halfway things got interesting. I mean interesting enough for me to put off dinner and finish reading. I predict that while this book felt bogged down in so much information and details that the second book is going to blow minds. Just the way this one ended, yes it was a cliffhanger, the second one is VERY anticipated for me.

So you have triplets who are borne of one previous queen of great magical powers. The girls all have some sort of gift that eventually directs them to their “assigned” family to grow up. By the time they are 16 they must basically fight each other and kill each other for their crown. I liked the idea but at some points it can be a difficult read when you have three stories happening at one time.

I originally wanted to rate this a 2 since I felt so bored with the first 1/2 of the book however with the radical ending that explains SO much for one of the sisters and for the other well we see actual fight and strength come from her. I am proud of the three sisters. I hate the predicament but it DOES become VERY interesting.

The only reason its not rated higher is because i don’t find that it will be a story that sticks in my head long term. It won't be the first book i offer up as a recommendation when someone asks what have i read recently that i loved. I didn’t love this book but the potential for this series is astronomical. I hope the author is ready to dazzle and blind because i have serious expectations for the next book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joseph hendrix
Another book I need more stars for. Ten kinds of excellent, and now I understand why so many Goodreads users are asking for the next book. I can't blame them, because it's one of the best books I've read this year. While there isn't much for the plot of the story (basically a string of events and plots leading to one hell of a finale), the world building and character building is absolutely stellar. This is one of the most ruthless worlds I've read about in fantasy fiction, and I loved every aspect of it. The queens are well developed and diverse characters, with Jules added as the "mystery" character. The romantic leads are all loveable in their own way, though Joseph's story took a twist I wasn't expecting. The sisters face devious trials and dangers even before they reach the finale, which had me biting my nails down to the quick and took shocking twists. While I'm a big fan of Kendare Blake and loved the story for everything it is, it was the very last chapter that cemented me. There is an EPIC twist and while it's a bit of a cliffhanger, it's one that won't have me screaming with terror. It opens the door to a thousand different possibilities that I can only speculate at. Blake knocked it out of the part in this one, and I seriously cannot wait to see what happens in the next book. An absolute must read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
amis padilla
Three Dark Crowns is a highly nuanced, slow burn fantasy featuring four exquisitely drawn heroines in a complex political situation. The writing is clean, fast paced, and evocative without being flowery. But this feels more like a drawn-out prequel rather than a first story arc of a potential trilogy due to the focus being on character growth resolution rather than plot advancement. That said, the book has an authenticity that is often lacking in the YA genre and enough depths to keep readers engrossed and guessing.

Story: Three sisters have been separated since they were young - each raised very differently to develop a special gift (elemental magic, speaking to animals, poisoning) to use to kill their siblings and take the throne. Arsinoe the naturalist, Katherine the poisoner, and Mirabella the elementalist have different personalities and tribulations. As the day approaches quickly that they must meet and then begin the killing, each is facing difficulties. For all queens are susceptible to the machinations of those around them - who would woo, control, and coerce. To survive, they will have to shed their naivete and innocence and find the means and strength to destroy those they once loved.

Since the story and first plot arc are character focused rather than action oriented, those looking for a thrill ride will likely become frustrated. This book is about the girls' loss of innocence - through betrayals, manipulations, and circumstances. Each is raised with the knowledge they will have to kill their sisters yet none are necessarily actually prepared for the reality of the task despite each having to kill in some way to prove the potential of their abilities. But it is clear by the end that each will have hardened into diamonds as those around them are hurt or hurt others in cruel ways (either wittingly or collaterally).

Unlike so many YA fantasy novels, none of the characters are black and white. There are no good or evil, people are driven by their own ideals and needs, and bad things happen as a result. What I appreciated is that the characters pretty much all lay it on the table - this isn't a world based upon subterfuge or the unsaid. Nor is it a world based upon the usual patriarchal assumptions of absolute virginity or abstinence. It gives the characters freedom but can also be a bit of a curse as candor can often be (sometimes, you really don't want to know all the bad things of a partner or friend).

Despite the interesting nuances in the worldbuilding, there are still many questions to be answered - likely in the next volume. As such, this felt very much like a prequel. It covers the events leading up to the celebration day when the girls will meet again after a decade or so and prove their talents. It's the day that marks the end of their upbringing and the beginning of the race to kill their siblings. So those reading to find out how/if the girls will actually end up killing each other may be disappointed that so little is resolved. But the ending is quite fantastic with several twists for each of the queens.

We're given a very small picture of this world but now that the girls are out of their small 'prisons' and no longer sequestered, I expect to see fruition on several clues/hints that there is a lot going on behind the scenes. That big picture question is what is really intriguing about this first book - so much to speculate upon.

I know that many will find the first part of the book slow but the intricate character nuances kept me fully engrossed. There was enough happening behind the scenes and in the shadows to make me want to continue and find out what happens now that the situation has so greatly changed for our three heroines. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.
For Loving Me (Max Lucado's Little Hermie) - Thank You :: If Loving You Is Wrong (Forever and Ever) (Volume 2) :: The teacher and student sex case that shocked the world :: Loving You (Love Wanted in Texas Book 6) :: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass)
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
gerene
One of the exciting things about being a book blogger is being able to read review copies before a book or series is published. There are a few drawbacks to ARCs (advanced reader copies) sometimes and I had a huge upset while reading THREE DARK CROWNS in the sense that I didn’t realize it was a series until I finished the book… BY finishing the book and finding a cliffhanger. Book info doesn’t always get updated right away and I started reading THREE DARK CROWNS before realizing it was a series.

Aside from the “surprise” of a series, the book definitely had a feel like things were taking a long time to go anywhere. Looking back, I can see where this would be a natural part of a series opener BUT I also felt like I shouldn’t have been so disconnected, even without that knowledge. I was so excited for something dark and sinister, magical and mysterious, and THREE DARK CROWNS really missed the mark on a lot of those things for me. With a concept of three sister queens pitted against each other and only one surviving, I was expecting a lot more darkness and a lot more intrigue. I was actually rather interested in the beginning. The book has this overall eerie, misty, inky feeling that you get when you watch creepy movies. I really picked up on the darker vibe, especially in the Poisoner chapters, but I did want a little bit more of it from the other two sisters as well. It was towards the middle of the book where I started to feel like things really weren’t going anywhere and I felt like even being the first in a series, it could have been a little better-structured.

The story just didn’t quite feel exciting. The sisters are separate (alternating but still third-person POVs) so there’s not much crossover with their story and once they do meet, things seem to bob around and not really flow. I almost felt like I was missing chapters the way things jumped around. The romances felt really rushed, unfinished, and one was plain unnecessary (in this book) and I just didn’t like it at all. The characters were also very hard to keep track of, with each girl having maids and priestesses and aunts and mothers and townspeople… it was just a LOT of names and with some people even described so similarly, it was hard to remember the name with the proper association to each queen, much less who they actually were.

I also was kind of disappointed in the concept of each ability, maybe because I didn’t see how the other sisters stood a chance against an elemental. If you’re trying to kill each other, poison just seems like too easy of a thing to avoid. And I don’t really know what the Naturalist powers can do since they’re not really explained too much (not as much as the others). But despite all that, I actually liked Katharine (the Poisoner) and Arsinoe (the Naturalist) the best. I loved their stories and their settings the most and their relationships really expanded in the best ways. Maybe I also liked them better because they were the underdogs, with Elemental sister Mirabella being the favorite and highly doted upon.

Overall, I just didn’t feel anything blending in THREE DARK CROWNS. The story lines for each sister felt like three very separate stories, even when they all converged. The only way they really felt connected was the basic concept that they’d have to go head-to-head eventually. I really wanted more twists and just didn’t feel that dark, twistiness that I really wanted. UNTIL the very last sentence. (I actually said WHOA. And then the book ended.) So will I read the next book? Maybe. Probably? I love where the ending was heading but as of right now, I don’t feel the draw to read more. I guess we’ll see when it comes out how I feel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sherry leonard
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Three sisters, three queens and only one can rule.

Opening Sentence: A young queen stands barefoot on a wooden block with her arms outstretched.

The Review:

Three Dark Crowns began as a 3 star read, a fairly bog-standard beginning, nothing to make it stand out as a story to remember. Since the story is told from three points of view, it was actually a little frustrating jumping from one character to the next and unfortunately the story was boring me. Approximately two-thirds of my way in, the plot begins to flesh out, there’s a spark of humour here and there so my rating is creeping up to 3.5-stars. But it was the last couple of chapters that boosted the entire story up to a solid 4-star read; what an ending!

As the title suggests, the story is centred around three queens; triplet sisters who are separated at a young age and brought up to eventually kill their sisters in order to be crowned the true queen. Each queen has a gift: elemental, nature or poison but the problem is that of the three, only one sister appears to have a strong gift; Mirabella. Arsinoe and Katharine have trouble with their gifts and are beginning to freak out because they are running out of time. For them, it is either kill or be killed and a weak gift does not increase chances of survival.

“It is cruel to make you give him up at all,” says Mirabella.
Elizabeth shrugs. “My mother says that once, priestesses did not have to. But now the island is so fractured. Naturalist against poisoner against elemental. Even those few with the war gift, or those fewer with the sight gift, are hostile to one another.”
She looks at Pepper and sighs. “Giving them up unites us. And the sacrifice binds us to our faith. But you are right. It’s still cruel.”

However, strength isn’t everything. Katharine isn’t the strongest but she is definitely the darkest and most malicious. I found it interesting that out of all the sisters the only one who finds killing their sisters distasteful is the strongest one Mira. Even the priestesses surprised me because I had expected them to be kind and devout but their determination to make Mira queen made them resort to desperate measures. Their hunger for violence was disturbing to say the least.

Queens are not supposed to love their sisters. She has always known that, even when they were together at the Black Cottage, where she had loved them, anyway.
“They are not those children, anymore,” she whispers into her hands.
They are queens. They must die.

Katharine loves to make the poisons but she starts off weak and small, not being able to stomach the poisons despite the lengths her aunts went to increase her resistance. Kat started off okay-ish, nothing remarkable to remember her by but when Pietyr enters the scene she becomes bolder and crueller. Of the three sisters, I think Kat would be the least burdened by conscience in killing her siblings.

“I will kill my sisters just as easily, Natalia,” Katharine says. “I promise. Though perhaps when I am finished, they will not look like they are sleeping.”

Last, but definitely not the least, there is Arsinoe. As a naturalist, she should be able to make flowers bloom and have a ‘familiar’ but her gift is non-existent. Arsinoe is wild, rebellious and the least attractive of the three and her looks aren’t improved when a bear mauls her face! However, I loved her honesty and her devotion to her friends. She might not care much for her sisters but she would do anything for her best friend Jules, and vice versa. Billy was a welcome addition too; his frankness complemented Arsinoe’s personality well and their banter was probably the only source of humour in the entire book! When Joseph returns, the storyline changes and I was surprised at how important his character proved to be. His story intertwines with the other queens and he frankly makes a huge mess, despite good intentions.

“I should wring your neck,” says Jules.
“Be nice to me. My neck was almost severed, not one hour ago.”

As I’ve alluded to earlier, the ending was brilliant. It turned the whole book around and was a huge surprise to me but if I look back I can see it was rather obvious. Sorry for being vague, I don’t want to reveal any spoilers but what I can say is that there are some unexpected twists that will make you think: WTH? So if the story bores you, just try to hang in there. I may need to continue this series because the ending left me with lots of questions.

Notable Scene:

“It is strange,” Luca says, “that you have turned away from the Goddess. When she is the one who creates the queens. Whose power on this island preserves our way of life. I know,” she says when Natalia rolls her eyes. “You think it is you. The strength of your gift that keeps us safe. But who do you think gave that to you? She is the source of this thing, you revere, yet you do not revere her. In your pride, you forget that she has given and that she is the one who may take it away.”

FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Three Dark Crowns. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
furiousball
**3 Stars**

I really wish I could have given this more stars, but there is one part that completely ruined that for me.

The more I read Kendare Blake's books the more I realize that she has great ideas but lacks execution. I loved her first book Anna Dressed in Blood, but have yet to find another one that holds up to expectations. It has nothing to do with plot and concept, but how it is executed.

Three Dark Crowns is a fantastic idea and fairly original. There are three queens raised in isolation from each other and trained to kill the others using their powers when they come of age to take the crown. I really like the queens - with the exception of Katherine at the beginning when she was weak and naive. I think my favorite character ended up being Jules, however. She is so strong and I think that she has the makings of a great queen - even though she can never be.

Where this book is lacking can be found in the background and setting. It is implied that all three girls live on the same island, but each location is vastly different from the other that more setting development is needed in order to understand how the island works.

Now I come to the worst part of the book. To call it a love triangle is inaccurate. Those I can handle to a certain degree. <SPOILER>What I can't handle is Joseph. I did not really like him from the start, and what he did made me almost put the book down. While practically engaged to Jules, Joseph gets lost at sea and Mirabella saves him. Within minutes of meeting, they have sex with each other - and multiple times after. To me, this is unforgivable; especially when he seems to think he can be with both Mirabella AND Jules. I also think it was really unnecessary to the plot. Blake could have handled the bear situation without needing the Jules-Joseph-Mirabella dynamic to set it off. </SPOILER> The whole situation was unnecessary, and from what I understand has ruined the book for many other readers. If it wasn't for my genuine interest in the queens and the plot as a whole, I probably would not have continued reading it.

But, I did continue reading and I have to say, that with the ending, I cannot wait for the next book. I just hope the whole Joseph thing is handled very differently in the next one.

I wish I could say I recommend this book, but I honestly don't know. If it wasn't for that one big thing, I would say yes... but I just don't know. 3 out of 5 stars.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
aathavan
Three potential queens, one destined to rule, all expected to kill. Three Dark Crowns is a guessing game of excitement.

Three Dark Crowns was a surprise gem for me. Lately, I’ve become very selective over the books I choose to read because of time constraints and my increasing desire to return to the realm of adult novels, which have become my primary focus for the last few months. However, when I read the first chapter of Three Dark Crowns, I couldn’t stop. Even though the world building won’t rock your socks, there’s still something fascinating about the story woven within the pages.

Three Dark Crowns tells the story of triplet sisters, Katharine, Arsinoe and Mirabella with special abilities, and one who is fated to rule the kingdom of Fennbirn. Separated from each other at an early age, the sisters are forced to live in isolated parts of the kingdom in order to train their gifts — in preparation to one day kill each other. A bit morbid but very interesting last man standing sort of battle. Over the course of the novel we follow each sister throughout her daily life as she hones her skills and get to learn — somewhat — about the different lifestyles of each distinct group she represents.

The first queen we’re introduced to is, Katharine a poisoner, tasked with consuming large amounts of poison and learning how to poison her enemies. For the last two years, the kingdom’s been controlled by a poisoner queen and the Black Council who are disliked by mostly everyone. However, Katharine’s gift is extremely week and because of this the people entrusted with her care poison her daily to build up her immunities. Which has pretty much backfired considering their future queen is covered in scars and still has yet to master her gift.

Second, we have Mirabella, an elemental who’s bestowed with the power to control natural elements, wind, water, and fire. She is the strongest of the three and has gained tremendous support within her section of the island and of those at the temple.

Lastly, we have Arsinoe a naturalist, who, unfortunately, has yet to develop her gift. She’s supposed to be able to summon an animal called a familiar, make plants grow, and have control over animals in general. Alas, she cannot and is seen as the weaker of the bunch. But where she lacks in naturalist power she makes up for with her strong determination and fierce heart. She’s loyal to her friends and the people she loves and often tries to protect everyone. This, in turn, has tremendous consequences for the people around her.

Each of these sisters has mixed feelings about the lives they lead and what’s expected of them. Knowing that you have to kill your flesh and blood takes its toll on their daily lives and forces them to grow up fast. While reading the book, it’s difficult to decide who to root for because of the way they’re forced to live and really, how can you want anyone so young to die. I didn’t have a favorite and often times felt drawn to each of them. Gosh, they all needed a hug. The only real struggle I had while reading Three Dark Crowns was the lack of world building. I don’t feel that I was as immersed within the world as I would have liked; however, I continued to read because I desperately wanted to know who would win. Which sister actually had the guts to kill the other.

Overall, I enjoyed Three Dark Crowns. I found the characters entertaining — often the side characters held my attention more than the sisters — and the plot engrossing enough to keep me guessing. Some may find this book difficult to read because of the lack of world building and that’s a reasonable reaction to have because let’s face it, there is none. Zip. With a world that’s presented as a grim nightmare, you’d expect there to be a darker vibe. The backstory was vague at best and there might be something magical going on underneath but what, I have no idea. But, if you can push past it and get to the mystery of the story, you might find something you like. And after that cliffhanger ending … ugh, you’ll be compelled to read the second book. I definitely recommend giving Three Dark Crowns a try.

Rating: 3.5 Controllers
Review Source: from publisher for honest review
Reviewer: Me
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
micaela
Three Dark Crowns is the first book in a new YA fantasy series.

This book features triplets. They are three queens (they are just turning 16) who are each supposed to possess magic. Katharine (a poisoner), Arsinoe (a naturalist), and Mirabella (an elemental).

But only one of them can become the Queen Crowned. They have to fight. And the last one alive wins.

This is my first book by Kendare Blake. I often struggle with fantasy (I don't usually like the magic and the battles), however I really enjoyed this book.

The book is told in 3rd person POVs. The main narrators are the three queens (Katharine, Arsinoe and Mirabella). The narrators alternate chapters. However, there are a few other 3rd person narrators that are in this story. At first I found this a bit confusing, because we get their POVs in the middle of a chapter. Natalia narrates in Katharine's chapters. Jules narrates quite a bit in Arsinoe's chapters. Once you get used to it it makes sense. I do sort of get why the author did this. But it might have been easier to follow if each chapter only had one narrator. Also, the chapters are not numbered and the narrator is not listed at the beginning of each chapter. Instead the chapters are listed by the location. Truthfully I could not remember which queen lived at which location, so this was not overly helpful to me. I think it would have been easier to follow if the chapters were numbered or the name of the queen narrating that chapter was listed.

Basically this book features poisoners, naturalists, and elementals.. Each queen lives with their people (from age 6-16). It is now their 16th birthdays (so they have been apart for 10 years). The Queen who wins (who kills her sisters) will be the ruling queen. And her people will run the land.

Queen Katharine is supposed to be a poisoner. She lives with Natalia who trains her. She is supposed to be able to ingest poison without it affecting her. In her part of the story is Natalia's nephew Pietyr.

Arsinoe is supposed to be a naturalist. Naturalists can make things grow. They have animals who are their familiars (they can sort of control them). Arsinoe lives with Jules. Joseph, Madrigal and Billy feature prominently in her story.

Mirabella is an elemental. She can control the elements like wind, fire, and water. She is quite powerful. Luca. Rho, Bree, Elizabeth are key players in her part of the story.

In the first part of the book we really get to know the three queens. We see what powers they have. We see who each queen lives with and what their lives are like (leading up to them going after each other).

The story is fairly complex. There is the Hunt, the Disembarking, The Quickening and The Ascension Year. The Hunt provides meat for the feasts. The Disembarking is where the queens are presented to their suitors. The Quickening is where each queen shows their gifts. And the Ascension Year is the time they have to kill each other.

The concept is super intriguing. Triplet queens with different magical powers separated when they were young. When they turn 16 they fight it out to determine who will be THE queen.

I found that all three queens had interesting stories. I really enjoyed the twists and turns that the book took leading to an absolutely fantastic reveal at the end of the book. I really cannot wait to read the next book in this series. I think fans of YA fantasy will enjoy this book.

Thanks to edelweiss and HarperTeen for allowing me to read this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
chirag
On the island of Fennbirn, a reigning queen gives birth to triplets each generation. Once the triplets are born, the queen's rule is over and she is exiled with her consort to his homeland. The triplets--all equal heirs to the crown--are separated and raised according to their magic until the year they turn sixteen when the real battle for the throne begins. By the end of the year the crown will go to the last queen left alive.

Katharine has been raised by the poisoners, arguably the most powerful group on the island and the ruling class for generations. But Katharine is weak. Even the simplest poisons wreak havoc on her body-- a fact that she and her guardian are determined to keep hidden at any cost.

Mirabella is a powerful elemental with the ability to summon storms and conjure fire. Her power is unprecedented drawing even the supposedly neutral temple priestess to champion her bid for the crown.

Arsinoe has found familial love and friendship in her home among the naturalists. But she has not found her magic. She cannot control animals of any size or make the smallest plants bloom--something any naturalist should be able to accomplish from a young age.

As Katharine, Mirabella, and Arsinoe contemplate their fate they all have their eye on the crown. Katharine knows the crown is her only chance at revenge. Mirabella feels the crown is her right as the strongest heir but she isn't sure if she wants it. Arsinoe knows she is unlikely to survive the year but she is determined to try to survive for as long as she can. Three sisters, three dark magics, one crown in Three Dark Crowns (2016) by Kendare Blake.

Three Dark Crowns is the start of a trilogy. The book follows Katharine, Mirabella, and Arsinoe in close third person narration. Snippets of the story also follow those closest to the sisters as all three move inexorably toward the battle for the crown.

Blake expertly brings the island of Fennbirn and its strange customs and fierce traditions to life. Evocative prose and vivid landscapes make the island a secondary character in the novel as different parts of Fennbirn are revealed in each chapter.

Magic on this island has a cost, as does the right to rule, and throughout the novel all three sisters pay dearly. Katharine, Mirabella, and Arsinoe are distinct characters with ambitions that have demanded they harden their hearts and make great sacrifices.

Three Dark Crowns is dark fantasy at its finest and most tense. Page-turning action contrasts with moments that will leave readers breathless. Intricate plotting, surprising moments of intersection between the characters, and shocking twists make this a must-read. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix, A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
paul wonning
On the isle of Fennbirn, the struggle between the three triplet queens and their loyalists is strong. A poisoner queen has reigned for many years now, and the poisoners hope Katharine, their current ruler, will keep the line going. But she's prone to illnesses, so her strength is questioned. The same goes for Arsinoe, her naturalist sister, who is supposed to be able to control animals and plants and have a powerful animal familiar at her side, but hasn't shown any sign of of this talent. There's Mirabella, an elemental, who can harness the winds and command storms. Their sibling rivalry is more than that: they must prove their powers and, eventually, fight until there is one left to rule the island.

Kendare Blake is a true talent when it comes to dark fantasy. Her prose is eerily beautiful and atmospheric. The world building was well thought out. Fennbirn is steeped with gloomy forests and crashing oceans, divided cultures and practices. And the food! Each sect of magic is given loving detail. We get to see the poisoner's realm with its dark, sparkling grandeur; the elemental world with its airy, almost Greco decor; the naturalist village is rich with the salty ocean air and vast forests.

The stakes are slowly raised as the story moves toward their face off. I felt the tension and the intrigue. There's so much happening behind the scenes; loyalists on each side prove just how far they would go to make sure their queen makes it to the throne.

Of the three sisters, I liked Arsinoe the most. I feel like her chapters were more intimate, so I got to know her more. Her world is the one I would love to live in. But Mirabella also has a place in my heart for her fragile yet unrequited love for her sisters. This does not mean I don't underestimate Katharine--she starts off as a delicate flower, but she proves she's hiding some very dangerous thorns.

The book does leave me with some questions throughout. There's a subplot in Arsinoe's story involving a spell cast over her best friend Jules and a boy named Joseph, whom Jules has always loved. For some strange reason, a love triangle forms. I have my ideas as to why this happens, but the not knowing is killing me. Also, there's a reveal at the end that might not be all surprising, but it does leave you impatiently waiting for the second book. Or maybe that's just me. :)

Having read Kendare's Anna Dressed in Blood duology and the first book in her Goddess War series, this is her richest world yet. The stakes are high and there's a crown to win.

**Thank you to Epic Reads for the ARC, provided at Yallwest**
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
dimas riyo kusumo
So this was the second time I had attempted to read this book since receiving it. It is about 3 sisters, who each have different abilities and live separately, training in those abilities Elemental, Naturalist, and Poison. The Book goes between different POV's between the 3 sisters, and normally I love this; but the girls actually don't seem to be very complex. They are very 2-dimensional. At first, I thought I could not get into the book the first time because of how busy I had been, but after picking it up this time, I found that at the beginning I had already become bored within the first 30 minutes. The three sisters are queens who live in different parts of the land, Arsinoe-a naturalist, Mirabella-an elemental, and Katharine-a poisoner, on their 16th year they must compete against the other and kill each other, the survivor will become Queen. Yet the only who actually has her powers come in seems to be Mirabella. I know the author may have wanted us to get to know the girls, but I seriously had to soldier on buy the audible version just to attempt too. I was determined to finish this book, to see what so many who had loved it was raving about. I still don't get it.

The book goes between the three girls, and the groups that are attempting to help them "win." There is no action, no adventure, no true romance, just some girls who are kinda boy crazy or watch their close friends who cater to them be boy crazy, or you have Mirabella who constantly plays with her elements. My favorite girl would have to be Katharine, if I had to pick. Now albeit the bar isn't set very high due to how bored out of my mind I was, but she is the Poisoner, or attempts to be cause her powers have still not come in. All of the characters we just ... flat.

What I expected from this book. I heard that three queens who are sisters have to compete for the crown. Well hell yea I got excited. I expected action. Lots of scheming and back stabbing and again lots of action. Maybe a little romance, but I am ok with very little, if there is other things going on. I will say I am happy the author did not info dump but I wish the world and the whys and the hows would have been interwoven within the story more, and the characters built on more.

But gloriously, if you can get at the very least half way through the book, it seems it finally picks up. Mirabella runs away and meets her sisters' friends' love interest, Joseph and from there it gets so much better. Now the characters might change slightly and do not really come alive, but the story line finally starts to pick up. Although Mirabella may have gotten a smidgen more interesting, it made me lose complete interest in Arsinoe. I could not root for her at all. Not one time. And finally at the very end a major and huge plot twist, that makes me hope that book 2 that is coming out, will be worth the read. So I will give this book 3 stars out of 5. Simply because of the end. It gave me hope that maybe, maybe the next book will be amazing. And that this book, though boring and slow, and dull characters (hence minus the 2 stars) will make sticking it out worth it for the next one.

My recommendation: Read it, soldier on through it as much as you can... TRY TO, at least. And let's hope that book 2 makes all of it worth it, and that this story only gets better and that these three girls, now full of revenge, will make it a book WE can't put down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
susan dietrich
This story was such a unique concept that I feel in love with it really quickly. I had to know who was going to come out on top at the end of it I had to stop myself from reading the last page so many times. I loved Arsinoe, she turned out to be my favorite sister even if she was considerably the weakest. As the naturalist queen she was suppose to be able to control animals but she was horrible with nature. She was still a decent person inside, even at the end it looked like she was totally awful. Then Katharine the poisoner I kept expecting to die by her own people, and the ending completely threw me off. Seriously no spoilers, but how? Then Mirabella the strongest of the three, the sister they kept calling the true queen because she has the most powers is honestly who I thought would win. She could control the elements but I just don't know. I cannot wait till the sequel comes out to this. I have to know what queen will end up ruling if one ever does. I mean there are few stories with not one chosen one, but three! The world building was done really well in a way that didn't overload you but didn't leave you confused either. The characters were all really easy to pick apart from each other. She did a good job of making the villains noticeable when necessary and secret when not, because like I said that ending just kind of confused me. Why? I loved this story. If you want something fast to read, where there isn't a ton of emotion involvement but will keep you engaged this is a good book to pick.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
alice green
Wickedly dark with twists and turns, Three Dark Crowns is a good beginning to Kendare Blake's newest series. The book is rather long and I certainly felt its length in several parts, but I enjoyed the magical elements and the characters' journeys.

The island of Fennbirn has been ruled by one queen. But the queen must earn her position on the throne. Each generation, the queen gives birth to a set of triplets, with each one carrying the gift of an elemental, a naturalist, or a poisoner. The girls are separated at a young age and not reunited until their sixteenth year. The reunion is not a happy one. To be queen, one sister has to kill the other two.

One might think that with a fight to the death would mean that the female characters are harsh and unsympathetic, but that is quite the contrary here. What I really liked about Katharine, Arsinoe, and even Mirabella (the most powerful queen) was that they were all very vulnerable and easy to relate to.

Katharine has been beaten down most of her life and told that she was worthless. She hasn't been allowed to thrive and has never felt loved. But then she meets Pietyr and falls in love when she's not supposed to. Arsinoe is a naturalist whose power is absent, but she's thoughtful, kind, and selfless. The most powerful of them all, Mirabella, appears to have the path to the throne carved out for her. Her sisters will be an easy kill but she has a conscience and is determined to find a loophole to get out of having to murder them. I really enjoyed seeing each of them shift and change throughout the story.

This entire book was very visual and I thought the author did a good job bringing the reader into this imaginative and dark world. Filled with magic, political intrigue, betrayal, and romance, there were several moments that had me captivated. Though, I wanted the author to give more time to the foundation of the world and make the explanations for the world a little less convoluted.

One thing that really bothered me a lot was the way the romance between Jules and Joseph played out. Blake creates such a sweet and beautiful story for these two and later stomps all over it. I believed the love story and I rooted for them. What happens later comes completely out of left field and the reader is asked to chalk it up to "low magic" (black magic). It seemed out of place and it made me so angry.

The saving grace romantic storyline in this book was Katharine and Pietyr. I was on board with them from the first dance. Good forbidden love stories are my kryptonite and theirs was quite sweet. Katharine has an innocent grace about her, not even thinking about falling in love. And Pietyr is just an honorable guy who wants to shield Katharine from harm. It's the perfect recipe for a sweet romance!

My other main criticism is that it the book felt entirely too long. By the end, I found myself skimming large passages. The plot dragged throughout, often getting weighed down by details that didn't need to be there and time spent on characters that didn't add much to the story (like Matthew and Madrigal and Rho and Luca). The twist in the book was one that was rather apparent to me from the beginning, so someone who didn't pick up on that may have enjoyed the literary ride more than I did.

I would recommend this book for those who enjoyed the vivid imagery and the darkness of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy. This book had a very "Grisha" vibe to it with the different magical powers and even the friends to lovers storyline.

* I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
rusty
For such an interesting premise, THREE DARK CROWNS suffers from a lack of strong execution. From the blurb, I was thoroughly hooked, however upon reading, especially at first, I was less than enamored. The book starts off in the middle of things to the point where it's incredibly confusing as to what's going on. I had to go back twice to make sure my kindle didn't accidentally start at a few chapters in. But unfortunately that wasn't the case so I mustered on. I have to admit I almost DNF this book several times. Nothing really happens, nothing is explained, nothing made sense, and frankly not a single one of the characters aside from one side one really caught my attention until pretty far into the book. It's hard to root for someone to win when none of them seem worthy and/or remarkable enough to really get behind them.

With that ringing endorsement, you are probably wondering why I kept reading and didn't give up on the book, and why I wound up rating it a 3 rather than lower. Somehow despite my confusion and lack of attachment to the characters, after the first few chapters I found myself oddly hooked. I just couldn't stop reading. The premise and the world is incredibly fascinating, and while the continually rotating perspectives made it hard to get attached to any one character it was rather addicting much to my surprise. There's just something so dark and twisted about the story, and I especially enjoyed how every path that seemed to light would twist and turn and wind up leading back down a dark path again. Those aspects of the story kept me on my toes and turning the pages. By the end the three sisters all seemed to have found their identities and chutzpah. It should make for one heck of a showdown once things come to a head if the last few chapters of this one are any indication.

Overall I'd say THREE DARK CROWNS is one heck of a "sleeper" hit that sneaks up on you. From starting out so rocky, it rather impressed me at the end. I have very high hopes for this dark and twisted series, and can honestly say I'm dying to get my hands on the next book.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
desmond
Although there were quite a bit of slow points in THREE DARK CROWNS, I enjoyed the overall story line and the characters circumstances were interesting enough to keep me wanting to find out what would become of them.

While I didn't find the characters super interesting on their own, the situations and their stories kept me wanting to read THREE DARK CROWNS. Each sister has different powers/talents/lives, but they all share one thing, their all queens fighting for the crown and they will have to kill two of their sisters to get it. There is a lot of learning about the characters and the different magic they have and the communities they belong to in THREE DARK CROWNS. The problem is, I still don't think we learn enough about the world that they live in and why it's the way it is. Of course each 'group' wants power, but I felt like we never got the whole story and I was left with a lot of questions.

As I stated above, there are a lot of slow points in THREE DARK CROWNS. Maybe now that we know—sorta—the sisters and their different lives, maybe book two will have a faster pace with less down time. I do have an idea of how this series will end, just because it's clear the current way of doing things doesn't seem to be working for this generation of triplets. I will be interested in seeing if my prediction is correct.

I didn't see the twist at the end coming, but it sure does make a few things make more sense and I am actually really interested in reading book two JUST to find out what the fall out from that bomb will be. I think you are either going to love THREE DARK CROWNS or be disappointing with it, I don't think a lot of people will be stuck in the middle like me. If you have the chance to borrow THREE DARK CROWNS from a friend or the library, give it a shot!

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
guspanchame
*4.7 stars*
An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Its not easy being Queen

This book...ugh..it was amazing. I don't even know how to put it into words, but i'll try.

Three Dark Crown is about these three triplet queens who each have different powers. One is a naturalist, one is a elemental, and the other is a poisoner. When these queens reach the age of 16, they each must use their powers to kill the other queens and the last one standing will become the queen of the whole land.

Okay, if that didn't draw you right in then IDK what will because that just sounds awesome. Three queens with powers fight to the death? SIGN ME UP!

Throughout this book, we get to meet each queen and to see each of their personalities. We get to see their secrets, fears, and hopes. What I liked was that I wasn't rooting for just 1 queen, but I was rooting for them all. They all are so different and unique, it made it hard to have a favorite queen.

I think the cool thing about this book is that it isn't written in just the 3 queens' POV, but also in the POV of their friends (secondary characters). Its nice to be able to get inside the the heads of other characters besides the main ones and see what they think about ___(fill in the blank)__.

The book was a bit slow in the beginning but its that good kind of slow. The kind that is placed there for the purpose of building the world and the characters. I think if an author makes the beginning slow, then they need to know how not to lose the readers interests. Mrs. Blake did that. She wrote this book in a way that I didn't mind the slow parts, because I knew what they were leading to something big. It think it takes a lot of skills to write like this. So way to go Mrs. Blake!

All in all, I think people who enjoy books that takes place in a magical kingdom, with fight-to-the-death plots will enjoy this book. It was a really fun read for me and I hope y'all enjoy it too!

Happy Reading!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joe ethier
I DEVOURED this book, like a poisoner at her Gave Noir...plot lines, protagonists, twists and turns all dripping down my mouth. Absolutely, 150 % loved every little thing about this book. Kendare Blake, you AMAZED me. She did a marvelous job with world building (it's so detailed and gorgeous), character development and that twist at the end?! I never saw it coming! At first I thought I was onboard with Team Arsinoe, but now I have no clue. I loved all the Queens. They each have their own, very distinct personalities and I enjoyed spending time with all of them. The story has the perfect amount of action, backstabbing, magic, danger and love triangles. I've read this is going to be a duology and I need it in my life, like yesterday. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys epic fantasies with kick butt female leads who will do anything...even kill...for a crown.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
askwhy
Three Dark Crowns was everything that was promised: a dark and twisty story about three sisters who are destined to fight to the death for the crown. Although, the Queens aren't exactly what they are supposed to be. Arsinoe and Katherine struggle with their powers while Mirabella excels, only Mirabella dreads the thought of hurting her sisters.
The world that Blake has created is very unique. The sisters live on an island that they cannot escape; held captive by the power of the goddess. There is much magic on the island and many have a gift, but on the mainland there is no magic except for "low magic" (which is pretty gruesome, as you find out when you read the book). The powers on the island come in a few different forms, such as poisoner, naturalist, and elemental. Each have their own abilities.
The story was full of twists and turns. It was impossible to guess what was going to happen next. There were a few slow bits, but for the most part I could not put the book down! The end especially threw me over the edge. The world was turned upside down and on its side and put in a salad spinner for a while and when it came out everything was different. Book ends. Boom. I'm honestly still trying to process.
I probably don't need to say that I can't wait for the sequel (One Dark Throne), but I'm gonna say it anyway: I CAN NOT WAIT! I am going to give Three Dark Crowns four out of five hearts.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lori gottshalk
Three Dark Crowns was the book included in September’s OwlCrate box.

This book started very slow. I almost gave up on it a couple of times, eventually I read the last 3 chapters and it helped me continue going. The book does pick up, but to far close to the end of the story.

Three Dark Crowns is the story of triplet princesses who at a certain age are split from each other and brought to an area of Fennbrin to study a special talent, with these three princesses those talents are elemental, naturalist, and poison. Every generation produces triplet princesses to be trained and bred for the Beltane. At this Beltane, each princess has to show off her talent to the people. The next day, the three have to set forth and try to kill each other until one princess remains, becoming the queen.

Each princess has her own trials and tribulations. The chapters surrounding The Beltane were the most exciting. It had the most action, the most betrayal, and the most Oh My God! moments. It ended in a cliffhanger. You have been warned.

The last few chapters and the cliffhanger are really what sold me on this series being promising. I am looking forward to this series and will definitely continue on. The going comment in reviews is “it is slow, but keep going because it gets better.” Let me tell you…it gets WAY better!!!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
joe bauer
The first time I picked this up I ended up DNF'ing because life got a little too crazy and I couldn't follow the story anymore. And finishing it now I see that was a good decision.

One of the pros of this book is its very interesting premise. However, the pacing just isn't that good. I would say the first 100 pages and last 100 pages are pretty solid, but everything in between is pretty meh. So you have to be able to take your time and focus on what you're reading.

As an extension of that, there are so many side characters that you will probably forget a few until they pop up again at the Beltane festival near the end. But the main girls, Katharine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella, are all interesting in their own ways.

And finally, the romance in this book is really awkward. Even with the 200 pages in the middle we get very little chance to see any of the romances grow and develop into what they are by the ending so a lot of things might not make sense entirely.

With all things considered, I still enjoyed the story enough to continue. I just hope that Blake figures out the right pacing for One Dark Throne cuz it's a bit longer than this one.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
mahmoud afify
This book never really had a solid hold on me, but I was going along in hopes of getting answers to the questions the early chapters pose. The writing is serviceable but not great, the pacing is uneven but not whiplash-y, and so on. It was a perfectly fine book.

Then came page 181 (in my Advance Readers Copy, I can't promise it'll be the same in the final version) and the only thing that saved the book from a high-speed journey into the nearest wall was the fact that my kids were sleeping and I didn't want to wake them.

And let me say this, as a PSA for anyone who might not know: sex doesn't cure hypothermia.

That is all.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nina c
I'm such a fan of this author - Anna Dressed in Blood? Perfection. Also anxious for the movie. When I saw this book on Edelweiss, I had to have it.

I've seen numerous YA books revolving around young queens - why they don't want to rule, why they do, they just discovered they're next in line for the crown and didn't know they were of royal descent, etc. Sometimes there's an attractive/evil king involved that adds some conflict to the story or they're forced into the job to keep the peace between countries. But Three Dark Crowns is unlike anything else I've seen out there. It's a dark, fantastic world where each triplet is raised and groomed to be queen - after she kills her other sisters.

Each sister has her own distinct personality, strengths and weaknesses, and the environments and circumstances in which they're raised are just as dissimilar, but they go about their daily lives, all the while knowing what's expected of them when they turn 16. Secrets, betrayals, heartache, power struggles, love interests - they're all here, along with surprises and twists, but be warned this book primarily sets up the world-building and introduces us to the sisters and their struggles, leaving the reader with a hint at the battles to come in this mesmerizing series.

The good new is that this book immediately hooked me - the bad news is I have a while to wait for the sequel. Highly recommend to Blake devotees, as well as fantasy fans looking for something original.

Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
william razavi
Three royal sisters all believed to be the strongest of their kind, and one that will win the crown, but each carrying a secret that could end them. Now it is up to each of the girls to discover how to disguise their flaws while determining how to kill their own sisters, all while not knowing who to trust and who is out to kill them.

Fall under the deadly, magical spell of Three Dark Crowns. Full of lies, betrayal, magic, love and revenge Three Dark Crowns will tempt and thrill fans of fantasy and magic. Told in three voices, the storyline is rich in detail and emotion, as each chapter allows readers into each sister’s royal struggle to discover the difference between who they are expected to be and who they truly are.

Kendare Blake’s new two part series brings adventure, fantasy and a battle to the death, taking readers on many unexpected twists and turns. Beautifully written and unique, Kendare Blake does it again. In her own amazing way, Blake has the ability to successfully write in multiple genres from; horror, to fantasy, mythology and contemporary, tapping into all reading styles, allowing all types of readers to enjoy her books.

* Full review originally posted in Dixon Independent Voice Newspaper column- For the Love of Books
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
heather lucy
This is a difficult book to review because there were some aspects that I loved and others that I didn’t.

I struggled through the first 30% of the book as it constantly switched between the three queens. Each had different secondary characters, abilities and worlds, and I didn’t feel a connection with the characters until half way through the book. It picked up after that when the pacing improved and the plot became more intriguing.

The queens were separated at a young age and raised under the influence and guidance of others who have their own agenda. The queens were merely pawns in a political struggle for power and control. Refreshingly, the queens were not all powerful, and without the support and strength from those close to them, they would have had little control over their lives. I found the supporting characters more interesting than the queens, though I can foresee the queens developing more in the next book. I loved how one incident has a snowball effect and influences the outcome of other events. There are plenty of twists and a bit of romance as the story unravels to a surprising conclusion.

In summary, I loved the characters and the plot, though it is very slow and confusing in first part of the book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
micaela
I am SPEECHLESS after that ending. Absolutely brilliant is what it is. I need the sequel now!

This may be a bit slow in places but trust me, it's worth sticking it out.
Here we have three sisters, all queens, who were raised to kill each other in order to claim the throne. They were separated at six years old to be brought up based on their specific gifts. Katharine is a poisoner, Mirabella an elemental and Arsinoe a naturalist.
A majority of the book is spent introducing the queens and some additional characters who are there to help them hone their skills. I really liked getting a glimpse into their lives and seeing how different they all are. The best part though? I was never truly rooting for just one of them. They're all such strong characters despite their weaknesses that by the end of the book I was quite conflicted because well...I want them all to survive.
Three Dark Crowns is a wonderful start to a new series. From the world-building to what's basically a kill or be killed plot...I'm eager to find out what the future holds for these three queens!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
baraa ahmed
This was one story I really enjoyed. Unique with three strong main characters, each with her own charms and shortcomings, I was hooked from the start. Just when I would start rooting for one sister to win and become the next Queen Crowned, my sympathies would shift to one of the others.

With stakes already high, knowing that only one sister can be queen but also that her sister who lose the crown will also lose their lives kept the suspense and tension high right to the end of the book.

This is a really unique tale full of twists and just when you think there will be a resolution, you end up finishing the book craving for what will come next. Good thing there is One Dark Throne for you start on as soon as you’re finished!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sandes de fiambre
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!! It’s the best book I’ve read in a LONG time and it, more than anything else, has truly gotten me out of my reading slump. It was deliciously dark, intriguing and wonderful in every aspect and every way – the writing, the plot and the characters.

Overall, this book was seriously dark and twisted and epic in so many ways! The writing and world-building were so incredible, I don’t think I can put it into words. This is my first Kendare Blake book, despite owning several others by her, and I’m already obsessed with her skills. Definitely a new favorite author! I need to read more of her books ASAP!

If you’re looking for an epic, intense book to read, this is the one you should pick up! And if you’re already a fan of Kendare, this may end up being your favorite book she’s ever written (which is weird for me to say, since I haven’t read her others to know. But I’m 98% sure I’m right…)! So yes, I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend you read this ASAP, either way!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
douglas
I am a huge fan of Kendare Blake. Her Anna Dressed in Blood series is one of my favorite creep reads. When I saw that she has a new book coming out, I immediately pre-ordered it. Three Dark Crowns isn't like her other books, but it is just as good, if not better. The land of Fennrin is fully realized. Kendare does an amazing job of building a vivid world. I loved reading about the sisters from their individual chapters. It was a perfect choice to have each sister be their own individual element for the majority of the story. The progression of the story was slightly slow and methodical, but it has a huge pay off for the last 1/4 of the book. From there, it moves at break neck speed and the last page left me gasping for breath and offering to clean Kendare's house, for just a taste of the next book.

All three sisters are such vivid and unique characters. They have their own voice that even if you get lost in the story and miss the cues with where on the island the scene is taking place, you know exactly who it is. You will definitely have your favorite sister to root for. I'm #TeamMirabella all the way, but I have a feeling, in the next book, I might change my mind.

If you are looking for a book that gives you fantasy, magic, sisterly competition, and some twisted masochistic characters, look no further than Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
wain parham
Months before Three Dark Crowns released I read the first chapter and was utterly thrilled. It was dark and unexpected, intense even. So perhaps it was my high hopes that made this one a difficult read. It was painfully slow to the point I spent more than two weeks trying to finish it. TDC plods along jumping from queen to queen and doing lots of hinting but not revealing, telling but not really showing. I was ready to DNF it at one point. Then decided I'd read a page and skim the next just to move it along.

I've avoided reading other reviews but one of the big issues I had was that there was only one character I actually liked and one of the ones I think was intended to be a favorite really just grated on me.

Though I desperately wanted to like TDC and the last 20 pages were pretty good (the last line of the book is phenomenal), I just didn't find it enjoyable as a whole. Rather than outright not recommend it I think this is one of those times when I would rather recommend checking it out from the library or borrowing it from a friend. If the sequel winds up getting rave reviews I may eventually read it, otherwise I will probably pass.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
adam oleksa
4 STARS

When I first heard about this book, way back when, I knew I was going to enjoy it. It also didn’t hurt having friends praising it and telling me just how much they loved it. While I did love it, it wasn’t until the latter half that I truly began to fall for the story and the characters.

The story follows these triplets who were raised at the Black Cottage until the age of six. when they were separated and “claimed” by a family. Once they turn the oh so magical age of 16, they will be forced to kill each other. They have a year to use every trick up their sleeve to complete said task and it isn’t until only one of them is left standing that the crown can be claimed.

These three queens each exhibit a certain type of magic.

Queen Katharine is a poisoner, meaning that she can ingest poisons without having to fear for her life. Although she can’t die from poisons, her body doesn’t take well to them and so they make her sick. Although she seen as weak and unlikely to take the crown, she is quite skilled at developing her own poisons, which may or may not come in handy. My lips are sealed.

While I don’t necessarily love Katharine, I don’t hate her either. She was just kind of eh for me and I don’t really think she herself added much to the story but I did love her and Pietyr. There banter was fantastic and I definitely need more of them!

Queen Arsinoe is a naturalist. meaning that she grow flowers and control animals. Or at least she should be able to do these things but it seems like she can’t. She has grown up hearing from (almost) everyone that she is weak and that she will not live to see past 16. Because of this, she has come to accept her fate but that may change when a certain suitor shows up at Wolf Spring.

Arsinoe is hands down my favorite of the three. I love her strength and loyalty and determination so much. Out of the three, I connected with her the most and felt a sort of kinship with her if that makes sense. And seeing her friendship with Jules *a.k.a the person most deserving of happiness in the world* is so magical. They care so much for each other and would do anything to protect one another. They are just so pure. Before I forget, Junior (he will always be Junior to me) and Arsinoe just make me sooooo happy!

Queen Mirabella is an elemental, meaning that she can control the elements. She is seen by all as the strongest of the sisters and the one to claim the crown. The High Priestess has even showed her favoritism towards her, which is an uncommon thing to do.

Mirabella is probably the kindest and most caring of the sisters but I still ended up disliking her because of what went down with Joseph (who I dislike even more btw). I know, that’s a horrible reason but a certain someone didn’t deserve it.

This book wasn’t necessarily action packed but it was good nonetheless! The writing was magical, the plot was captivating, and the characters were pure cinnamon rolls. It took some time getting into it but once you’re hooked, you’re in for the ride of your life! If I wasn’t already such fan of Blake, I would be now!!

P.S. the ending blew me mind.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jane vandre
Um...wow. That's all I can say.

In my reading, I have been sorely disappointed with the dull and tasteless drivel that has come out this year. Perhaps I have read too many novels and nothing surprises me anymore but the ends really do justify the means I suppose.

Before I reached the end of this novel, it was a solid four stars. I thought this book would make me hate all three sisters and it's honestly been hard for me in the past to read and invest in anti heroines/heroes. I mean, after all, these sisters had to be wicked, horrible people to even contemplate killing their sisters for the sake of a crown. BUT! This author made these three an compelling moral grey. It was interesting to see how my loyalties towards the sisters changed over time through their actions. This was quite entertaining for me.

This novel probably isn't for everyone. It's got a dark theme and it does move slowly but I rather liked that it did. It gave me time to acquaint myself with the protagonists and also a host of rather interesting secondary characters. I feel as though the author did a great job making all of the characters unique individuals. I didn't have a hard time remembering who they were and I appreciated the shifting points of view from sister to sister. I grew to truly understand each personality and their motivations.

My four star rating jumped to five stars with that stunning, unexpected conclusion. I cannot WAIT to see what happens next. For those who didn't take the time to finish the book, they missed out! I have so many questions and they need to be answered-like, NOW already! I am definitely a fan and am chomping at the bit to read the next installment.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
niebla
​Okay, I’m going to be very honest: I didn’t go into this book thinking I was going to like it. I’ve never been a big fan of dark fantasy, but since I’d heard so many good things about it, I thought I’d give it a try. I think this book came into my life at just the right time for me to fall in love with it.
At first glance, I had no idea how Kendare Blake was going to make this plot happen. Three sisters trying to murder each other for a crown? I thought there were too many ways for this to go wrong in the eyes of the reader, but I think that’s what makes the story even better. Each event throughout the book was thought out in a way that flowed and wasn’t ever predictable or cheesy. The many plot twists were what made this book stand out in my mind among all other fantasy stories.
This series features a huge cast of characters; there are three queens, along with each of their separate friends, families, and communities in which they grew up. I’m not going to lie, I was a little overwhelmed in the beginning, but after a few chapters, I melted into the world. It would have been easy for Kendare to throw all of these characters at the readers at once, but she does an excellent job of bringing them in one or two at a time. I think what made them easy to keep straight was that they are all unique and have depth. There wasn’t a single character who was thrown in just for the heck of it. They all play an essential role in the queens’ lives in different times and circumstances.
​The story takes place on the island of Fennbirn. Fennbirn is a unique world because it is a small island set apart from the rest of the world (aka “the mainland”). The island is hidden from the mainlanders by a magical mist that isn’t ever discussed in the book, (I have a feeling it will become more important in the next two books...just a hunch.) and the people who live there are a part of long lines of families who have existed for generations. Since the entire world of these stories takes place on a fairly small island, we get to explore a majority of the land. We get to see the cities, the small towns, the forests, and even a few secret locations. *aggressive eyebrow wiggle*
The structure of Fennbirn’s society is one of my favorite parts of the book. Their world is a “queendom,” where a set of triplet queens is born every generation. Once the sisters turn sixteen, they attempt to kill each other for the crown. (Kind of brutal if you ask me...) The last sister alive takes the throne and rules over Fennbirn until she gives birth to the next set of triplets. Up until recently, I hadn’t read very many books centered on queens ruling, but more and more “queendom” books are emerging and being highlighted in the book world, which I think is fantastic. I am all about seeing strong and independent women in literature, and these books are no exception. All three of the queens and their mentors in this novel are capable women, and their contributions to their society are valuable to all of the characters.
Much of the government’s operation is centered around the island’s mythology. The people of Fennbirn believe that their Goddess’s will is at the core of everything. She is the one who brings the three queens into their world, and She is the being in control of what happens to the island’s residents. Her presence is prominent in the lives of our three queens and is referred to time and again throughout the series. I think this integration of mythology and government is the most fascinating civilization in a fantasy book that I have ever read. There are so many small details and pieces of information that Kendare Blake stitched together to make this book one of the best.
This series is set up in 3rd person limited and alternated every chapter between each queen. I really liked that the author chose to have different points of view without it being in the first person. I felt that the little bit of objectivity the 3rd person POV brings was vital for a cohesiveness throughout the book. If this book was told in 1st person, I think it would be hard for readers to separate the three different narrators every time it switched. I found it easier to keep all of the characters and settings straight with it being told in 3rd person; at the beginning of the first book, it was almost like we were getting three different stories in small sections. As readers, we got to see each queen’s emotions but didn’t have to commit to each girl’s full point of view.
FINAL THOUGHTS
I am so glad I decided to give this series a try. This dark fantasy had everything from magic, to romance, to action, and I couldn't be happier with it. It made me remember that trying out new stories usually turns out for the better. Arsinoe, Katherine, and Mirabella snagged my heart, and I can’t wait to read their next tale in September.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
solitairerose
Short Version:
Three Dark Crowns was a solidly good book
and I would definitely recommend reading it,
but I do have some complaints. (Which does not mean I didn't like this book. I actually really liked this book. A lot.)

-=+=-

My largest complaints for this book:
- Plot contrivances/unnecessary occurrences. I thought there were several times in which the characters did things that did not seem true to who they were. They were also some events that didn't seem to add to or affect the story at all. One example, in my opinion, is Joseph's affair with Mirabella. It just didn't feel like something Joseph would do and there didn't seem to be a reason that it happened. If you have different ideas please comment them below because I would be very interested to hear them!
- Trite scenes. There were some scenes that felt like the mood shifted to quickly or they didn't fit the flow of the story. I found them somewhat disruptive, but definitely not a reason not to pick up Three Dark Crowns.
- I thought that Kendare did a very good job of personalizing Arsinoe and Katherine, but I think she left Mirabella as a somewhat flat character.

Things I loved:
- I really loved the idea behind this story. I love the idea that triplets, each with a different power, grow up apart and then must fight to the death.
- I also loved the powers Kendare Blake chose to showcase. Elemental magic is fascinating, but it's a pretty popular topic (not that I'm dissing it at all- Throne of Glass is my favorite series and it features a fire Elemental. I'm writing my own story regarding elemental magic). The "Naturalist" magic and "Poisoner" magic were almost completely new ideas. We've seen powers similar to naturalism in other stories, often with characters who can control animals or cause plants to grow. Yet, this "naturalism" was featured in a different light. I especially loved the idea of poisoner magic. I imagine that, in a world where people will do anything to kill you, being immune to all poisons is a huge advantage.
- THE END! The end of this book was what really clinched it as a great read. The endings of books are often the hardest and most disappointing parts. Kendare absolutely nailed the ending of Three Dark Crowns! It left me with my jaw hanging, begging for the next book.

-=+=-
If you liked this review, please visit bookkace.blogspot.com
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
zahra ahmadian
Three words for this book: Original, captivating and dark.
Upon reading the description of this book I really wanted to read it. The premise of three sisters who are raised to kill each other is certainly unique. I found their world fascinating, it is filled with both kind and cruel characters that act quite realistically. It’s dark, exciting and thrillingly freaky! At the beginning you don’t know which sister you’re rooting for, in the middle you have a certain favorite, and by the end you’ve probably changed your mind half a dozen times!
I like how well written it is and the balance of descriptions to dialogue is spot on. The author creates a clear picture of the scene every time without fail.
The writing draws you in to the scene, but not necessarily the characters. I found myself wishing the sisters were described more. Besides vague details, the physical traits are skimp. When I was about 25% of the way done I felt the story was taking a while to get going, but after realizing this is a series, it makes sense.
I liked that each chapter was dedicated to a sister, this made it really easy to follow. Out of the three sisters, Arsinoe is my favorite. She's brave and I love the way she interacts with Billy. The people of the island (all the main cast in this story) are weary of mainlanders and find them strange.
Magic exists in this world, but from what I understand it’s much weaker than it was once. I’m hoping that will be the case once again further in the series.
Final thoughts: I’ll defiantly be picking up the next book in the series. I hope it dives deeper into this world of dark magic.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dana marie
Having loved Kendare's other series, I was beyond excited to get my hands on this one.

First off, love love loved that we got POV from all three of the sisters. It made it so easy to relate to their turmoil and the situation as a whole. Because we got to see and know everything, it definitely made for some delicious tension and screaming while reading.

I don't want to say too much and ruin the reading experience for anyone else, so I'll just say that this is one of the best roller coasters I've ever been on. This story is filled with magic and swoons and epic heartbreak and kick ass girls and characters I wanted to hug or smother {and sometimes it was both.} It is truly immersive and it's a world I'm not quite ready to part from. As I finally type this up, it's been 4 days since I finished and this is as close to a real review as I think I can get.

Do yourself a favor and pick it up as soon as you can.

**Huge thanks to Harper Teen and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
elena passarello
Characters: 4*
Universe: 3*
Plot: 4*

An enjoyable read. The characters are fairly well written and memorable (although some of the tertiary characters are a bit more one-dimensional than I'd like). The protagonists are all interesting and grow throughout the story.

The plot is also a strength in this book. Well written and full of twists that I was not expecting, but not too complex to track. In books with multiple lead characters where the vantage point is frequently changing many authors make it too difficult to tell when perspective changes or to know what is going on. This author does not have that problem.

The universe is intriguing in this book, but I'm only giving it 3* because the surface has barely been scratched. I fully expect book two to pick up at least one more star in this area.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
heather guerena
Sometimes writing a review for a book I love comes so easily, then there are moments like this. I stare at my screen wondering how I can possibly convey the excitement and love I have for this book that sits before me? Three Dark Crowns has been on my radar for some time now. I was almost afraid to pick it up when it arrived last week. I sort of let it sit on my table and admired it (look at that cover!), saying a silent prayer that it would not let me down. “Please be all that I have hoped you are”.. yeah total nerd stuff. But that is me, and my life as a lover of all things books. So cat is out of the bag, I loved it!!!!

Three Dark Crowns places an entirely new twist on the cliche battle for the throne. Common fantasy elements are given new life with the author's unique and ingenious personal touch. The world building is complex and the alternating narration can feel overwhelming at first, but hang in there with this one. Patience is your friend. The end result is a story that is as unpredictable as it is entertaining!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stacy frank
I just finished this one. Very impressive return to form from Kendare Blake. While I enjoyed her goddess wars series,
it's this book that fulfilled and exceeded the promise of Anna Dressed in Blood.

Great, original world building with three main factions (poisoners, naturalists, and elementals) and the unusual nature of the island (which hearkens back, just a little, to British and celtic mythology, but is also a fully realized place). The world is filled with interesting details of magic and history, revealed naturally as the book progresses without info dumps.

And I liked how all of the factions were willing to cheat, lie, and scheme to get their queen on top, and yet all of them also contained sympathetic characters you could root for and people you'd like to see tossed down a dark pit. Perhaps we root a bit more for the Naturalists, and yet they manage to cause their own bloodshed and make their own mistakes). The supporting cast beyond the queens themselves was well realized; even groups that are painted fairly darkly (like the priestesses) have individual members (e.g., Elizabeth) who are sympathetic.

The book also has an excellent sense of pace. I was never bored, it was a fast read, and I didn't want it to end. Looking forward to the sequel!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
shad
Considering I almost DNF'd this at 100 pages, I'm glad things turned around!

I feel like the synopsis is pretty misleading. I thought I was getting a completely different story than what we actually got. Which is a shame, because this is a good story; it just took me far too long to get use to the idea of it.

This isn't a story about the girls killing each other for the throne like the synopsis suggests. Rather, it's the build up to that event. Think of this book as one extended prologue to the real, nail-biting story.

It has all the right things to make this story absolutely epic: an intriguing world, strong female characters and buckets of danger. It just needs to use those things a little more to create an engaging plot--not just build up to it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shravani
This book made it to my 2018 favorites list because it is jam packed full of amazing content. A Goddess, an island, three kingdoms, three queens, their courts.. friends... loves and enemies. Lots of characters to love and hate. This story has so many things going on and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. The book follows the lives of triplet queens and how they are raised to compete in one battle and that is to kill their other two sisters and sit on the one dark throne. This series is going at the top of my list of anticipated books. I can not wait to see what is going to happen in all of their different lives. I would highly recommend this book to everyone.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
arvind passey
Actual rating: 3.5

I found the book's use of third person present tense baffling and distracting. Also distracting was the love triangle between Jules, Joseph, and Mirabella.

Another stupid plot choice was the betrayal at the end of the book. It wasn't foreshadowed at all. We spent time reading the betrayer's POV and they never gave any indication of their true goals.

My other big problem with this book is that it's all set-up. The summary talks about how the three queens have to fight and stuff, but that doesn't start till the last 50 pages. All the rest of the book is worldbuilding. It's interesting enough, but I was promised sisters trying to kill each other.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sheena strickland
I was surprised that this book captured my attention so quickly when I started it because it usually takes me at least a hundred pages to get into some of the books that have been coming out lately but it just grabbed me from the start. I did have a slight lull before the Ascension started but then it was back to being a whirlpool for drama and surprise. I enjoyed the writing and having three main characters means their stories are shorter so there were far fewer lulls than in a normal story as their stories are shared.

I'm so happy that I had this book to review (Thanks, Pan Macmillan Australia!) before the release date because I rarely pre-order books but I actually did for Three Dark Crowns because I was desperate to read it. The plot sounded so awesome and when I read it I wasn't disappointed. I can't wait to have my paperback copy and I'll be eagerly awaiting the sequel.

(Full review with spoilers: [...])
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
justine gieni
*A large majority of this book is for set up. It introduces characters, explores the world and its history and culture, and works up to the action. Those looking for fast-paced and high action won’t get it until near the end of the novel

*I LOVED the characters and the world-building. It may be a slower paced novel, but it’s interesting, rich in world-building, and the characters are engaging and fully developed.

*This book seems to be hit or miss for a lot of people, probably due to the slower pacing and lack of action until 70% into the book

*Kendare Blake’s writing is easy to get immersed into and I devoured this book in two days.

*Lots of strong and impressive female characters all over the spectrum; warriors, mothers, the merciful, the cruel, the unsure, the leaders, the friends, tons of great ladies!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
natosha
The first 35% or so was ROUGH. I honestly would have DNF'ed this had it not been for friends telling me to keep going. I'M SO GLAD I DID. So if you're reading this and you get bored/overwhelmed with all the names/generally disinterested... it WILL pick up! (And don't worry about memorizing all the character names/who is who.)

Basically we have three triplets. They are separated at a young age and each raised in separate parts of the kingdom/island thing. Each of them is tailored to have one type of magic. When they reach 16, they are all supposed to face each other off with said magic, and whoever wins gets the throne. (Not only are they supposed to try and kill each other, they try to gain supporters and win suitors to help them in this.) Then, the surviving queen will choose a suitor who will act as 'king consort'. She will have said triplets (thanks to the curse on the island?), be sent away, rinse and repeat. Pretty depressing world, if you ask me. The general vibe is pretty dark and bleak, so be prepared.

*Very Minor spoilers below*

Anyway, I went into this fully expecting to favor one queen and not like the others- but I was surprised. I actually adored each of them - and felt really sorry for them. What I didn't expect was to get really invested in each of their stories AND all the suitors as well. Each queen has a "guy" that they are close to/favor... but things do not play out the way you'll expect them to. Shit gets cray.

We have Katherine - who is the 'poisoner queen' raised by the Poisoners. Except, she's so incredibly weak and isn't actually showing strength digesting said poisons. She's forced to eat poisoned food all the time and is constantly sick. Since she appears so weak, her clan is greatly concerned and tries to fake her strength. Poor Kat pretty much knows she's going to die- so her only chance at survive is to learn how to "woo" all the suitors. Enter Peityr - the boy who offers to train her on how to woo men.

Then there's Arsinoe who I just adored. She's strong, kind, and generally just badass. She's raised by the Naturalists who have a gift for animals. Each naturalist has the power to tame one animal - and that animal becomes theirs / they can control said animal for the rest of their life. Except Arsinoe can't seem to do that. But, she has dear friends and has a great attitude anyway -- though they don't expect her to live past the ascension year either. Then she meets Billy, and ... I can't say anything else.

Mirabella is the strongest of all the queens - her gift as an elementalist (she can control elements/weather) is extremely powerful. Everyone expects her to easily win/outlive her sisters... BUT... she is so incredibly kind and doesn't want to hurt them. I CANT EVEN with the guy. I can't. I can't. I'm not saying that's a good or bad thing either. Just wait.

AND THEN there's Jules, Arsinoe's best friend and very powerful naturalist who almost feels like a fourth main character. She has several POVs and she gets very tangled in things and her love story.. I can't.

SOOOOOO all that to say... the story picks up and lightly introduces you to each queen and blah blah. But their stories get intermingled REALLY quickly. And it happens in ways you won't ever suspect. And it gets emotional. And I was flailing and freaking out and.... Ugh. Just read it.

AND THEN THE END OHMERGSKERJSLKFJSLKDFJSLDKFJ. I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING. Okay okay, but everyone told me the end was crazy awesome- but just to give a heads up... it's not this huge action packed scene. It's one kicker at the very end.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rae clevett
Three sisters, triplets: Katharine the Poisoner Queen, Mirabella the Elemental Queen, and Arsinoe the Naturalist Queen. Only one can rule over their magical island homeland, and it's up to them to kill the other two.

This premise drew me in right away; it's so dark and awful to think about sisters being tore apart from each other, fostered by different powerful factions, and trained to survive the attempted murders by their other sisters.

The Poisoner Queens, backed by the powerful Arron family, have been ruling for decades now, and they have no intention of letting go of their power. However, Katharine has been slowly killing herself for years trying to develop a resistance to several types of poison, and her mentor, Natalia Arron, knows that time is running out for Katharine to prove her powers.

Arsinoe's power has yet to reveal itself in the form of a familiar, and this makes her people resentful and wary of her. Only Mirabella, fostered by priestesses, has truly been able to show her gift. She can make flames dance, wind blow, and water fall. The time is approaching when suitors from the mainland will be brought to the queens, and then The Quickening begins: a full year for one sister to rise, and two to fall.

This book twists and turns in ways that are unexpected. It gives us high stakes, tension, unexpected betrayals, and most importantly, a rich tapestry of supporting characters. Fantasy fans are sure to devour this and count down the days until the sequel!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
helder da costa
Three Dark Crowns came out September 20, 2016 from Harper Teen. It's a YA fantasy fiction novel. It's dark, think Hunger Games with magic.

The novel centers on three triplet sisters, Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katharine, who have an affinity for different schools of magic. They were separated at a young age to groom their magic among other magic wielders. They also prepare to kill their two sisters at the age of 16 in order to ascend the throne and rule their homeland. For as long as anyone can remember, this is the cycle of how their ruler is chosen.

Katharine is being fostered in the house of the current ruling school of magic, the Poisoners. She does not yet have her magic, so she learns to make delicate poisons and build immunity to poison through frequent use. Like Katharine, Arsinoe struggles to learn the school of magic from her fosters, the Naturalists, and does not yet have her gifts. Instead, she dabbles in a dangerous low magic to force some measure of success. In contrast, Mirabella is known far and wide as the strongest Elementalist in generations. But, she too struggles. Mirabella has nightmares of her childhood and memories of her young sisters, whom she cannot bring herself to murder whether it wins her a crown or not.

Meanwhile, the fosters and schools of magic conspire against each other. The Church has chosen a side, as has the Poisoner-installed Grand Council. Behind the scenes, each school has set events in motion that could bring jubilation for their own queens and ruin the others.

First and foremost, Blake pulled me in and made me care about these girls immediately. By page 27, I was fascinated with her world and the girls' place in it. While certain tropes are present and identifiable, the magical schools that Blake chose and the interweaving politics of her world are riveting and complex. As the book builds towards it's climax, Blake turns the entire world on it's head. The ending left me breathless, waiting very impatiently for the next installment of this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kevin wilder
Posted originally at: [...]

Sooo.. if you couldn’t tell from the summary, it seems like it could be a super dark, delicious fantasy. Was it everything I wanted, and more???

I absolutely loved this book! I requested it from NetGalley and crossed all my fingers (and toes) and hoped like hell that I’d get to read it early. And I did, so thank you so much HarperTeen!!

I loved Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood duology for its dark, bloody scenes and wonderful friendships, and I loved Three Dark Crowns for similar reasons.

Told from varying perspectives, Three Dark Crowns gives you insight into each and every queen. I initially thought I’d pick one and hate the others, but I ended up loving each of the queens equally. We get to see them interact with friends and “family”, along with seeing some cute romance that doesn’t take over the story totally (thank goodness!).

It was dark and brutal and it was everything I wanted from this book and MORE (!!). I enjoyed the writing in this book, which flowed well throughout. The beginning is a little slow, but the shifting perspectives (whilst confusing at first) help keep the pace moving along. I found the writing to be beautiful and descriptive, while still being action-packed and easy-to-read.

The world-building was alright, although some elements were lost as we skipped between perspectives. In saying that, I felt pretty familiar with the world by the end of the book. I really enjoyed the mix of magic in this book; we see ‘high magic’ that only the queens possess, alongside ‘low magic’ which is your more traditional witchcraft style magic.

There were some incredible plot twists thrown in for good measure, and even though the ending isn’t a complete cliff-hanger: I NEED THE NEXT BOOK, AND I NEED IT NOW!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
stephanie hargis
Why have I waited so long to read this book? This is the question that I keep asking myself. This was such a good story! It started off a little slow, developing the readers knowledge on each one of the sisters; but once that part was done, the story really took off. I enjoyed the different sister's perspectives on what they were having to endure and what they believed (or were led to believe about the bad intentions of the other sisters and their desire to be the one true queen). The ending of the book left off on such a cliff-hanger that I found myself saying "What!?! What just happened???" I am so looking forward to the next book in the series!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amber
There are almost no words to express how much I loved this book! After almost two years of wanting to read Three Dark Crowns, I’m so happy I finally did! Pretty sure this will be one of my book of the year picks. There is adventure, risk, love, hate, a feeling of needing to prove one’s self, self-discovery… the list goes on. I fell in love with all the queens, each for their own unique reasons. It was easy for me to adore the character in this book. I became invested in each queen’s story and this was hands-down a five-star book for me.
I only have a couple of complaints about the book. First off, although I loved the main characters, I felt that the queens could have had stronger personalities. They weren’t really treated how you would think a queen would be treated. I don’t know if that’s because of their age (15 turning 16), or because that’s how their society treats queens until they are officially crowned. Neither one of the girls seemed to really take charge and were just “yes” sayers to those around them. Another thing I found kind of a bummer was that they weren’t as “dark” as I was expecting. I’m hoping to see more darkness come out of them as the books continue.
Seeing as I loved the book so much, there’s a lot to talk about. Blake did a really nice job changing perspectives, which can sometimes lead to confusion, at least for me. I typically don’t care for books that do that, but this was nicely done and I was able to follow each storyline without mixing them up. With that, the book had great flow despite the perspective changes every chapter. The pacing was well done and I don’t feel that any one part drug on and on. The characters were unique and I was able to care for them and hate a few too (sometimes it’s good to hate a character if that makes sense). At first, I thought the powers were a little cheesy, but once I saw how they played out, I bought in. It was a quick read and kept me wanting more, which is huge in my opinion.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
bradschl
I really wanted to love this book, unfortunately, I just didn't care for it. I went in beyond excited to read this, the synopsis sounds amazing and I was buddy-reading it with close friends, but it, unfortunately, was just a let down for me. Initially, I thought that I would be getting a story full of action and suspense instead it was more about world building and setting the stage for action later in the series. This made the pacing of the book feel painfully slow, I don't think that it really picked up till about halfway through the book. Even after picking up, I still don't think that I was ever fully as engrossed as I hoped I would be.

While I will admit my expectations did play a large role in my feelings of this book, it was not my only reason for disliking the book. I really was not a fan of the writing style of this book. The book was constantly switching from one point of view to another, sometimes even switching between people while still in the same chapter. This made the book very confusing at times, and difficult to understand whose point of view I was reading. I was also annoyed that we got a lot of Kathrine and Mirabella's points of view but very little of Arsionoe's. For me at least, this made it very hard to connect with Arsinoe as a character. I feel that I would have liked the book more if she had found a way to tell the story only from the Queen's points of view.

Lastly was the world, while it was beautiful and fantastical, it was just too much and was very confusing at times. The author would often reference historical events of the world and would sometimes explain and sometimes leave the reader hanging. The world is just so intricate it seems like historical preface or appendix to give the reader some context. I was also left confused because the author references the real historical event of Cleopatra VII ( the one we all know as Cleopatra) having her sister Arsinoe murdered, which made me wonder if this world was somehow connected to ours or if this was simply an easter egg.

All in all, the book itself was not horrible, but I probably would not have finished it if it were not for the fact that I was buddy reading. That being said, due to the ending, which was probably the best aspect of the book, and the fact that a friend, whose opinion I trust, has raved about the sequel, I will probably try to continue with the series. With any luck, the rest of the series will make up for the slow start.

Original Review literarychaos.com
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
scott loyet
This good was SO good! I love Katharine. She is my queen. I think the concept of this book is so sad but the book is cool. Its similar to Hunger Games ideals. The concept of making these triplets kill each other to become queen made me want to cry because I wanted to take care of all of these little girls. The adults in the story scare me especially the prisoners. I would not want to live the life these little girls live but Blake's creation of this twisted world is fantastic. The ending was totally unexpected! This book is dark and twisty but clever.Three Dark Crowns
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stuart black
I read the book “Three Dark Crowns” by Kendare Blake. This story is about three princesses named Mirabella, Katherine, and Arsinoe. They each strive to become queen and rule for years. Mirabella is the oldest and people believe she will be the future queen while Katherine and Arsinoe are seen as the weak queens. Each princess is given a helping hand such as the priestesses, naturalists, and the Arrons. Mirabella has the priestesses while Katherine has the Arrons and Arsinoe has Naturalists. They each have their own power; Mirabella is an elemental while Katherine is a poisoner and Arsinoe is a naturalist. All three sisters feel differently about the Quickening Mirabella wants to run away because she neither wants to kill her sisters or become queen. Arsinoe doesn’t know her full power so her friend Jules is helping her find it. Katherine is afraid she is not good enough as a poisoner, therefore, thinking she won’t be a good queen for her people. Once each queen turns 16 the battle to becoming queen is ahead of them, one will live and the other two will die. Once the Beltane Festival begins they start with a hunt which the sisters cannot participate in. Leading up to the Quickening where each sister gets their own stage revealing their powers, but some things go wrong causing the queens to try to get revenge on one another and others who know it’s a simple misunderstanding. The book ends with no one on the throne yet.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kristina kent
"Three Dark Crowns"'s intensely twisted plot transitions between the diverse perspectives of three, fair, rivaling queens. By cause of such beautiful depiction of a spectrum of emotions while invoking the same in the reader, flipping each page is a pleasure. Blake has written the novel in such a manner, where the moment the peruser tends toward the outlook of a character, he or she immediately shifts to another queen's view. Constantly in excitement and suspense, the readers can royally experience the contrasting environments of the royals. Sublimely portraying the island of Fennbirn poisoned with virulent prejudice and injustice, the author never lets you down by keeping you eager and ravenous (a key word in the book) for more. The three gifted queens, an elementalist, naturalist, and poisoner, face a dramatic dilemma as conflicted feelings towards slaughtering each other (in society's favor) and loving each other (in personal favor) arise. Rectify the cliffhanger at the end of the story by reading the rest of the interesting trilogy!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jakob
Three Dark Crowns is a novel about triplet queens, murder and sabotage. Set in a world where queens rule by power and strength on a magical island, the novel focuses on one set specifically: Katharine, Arsinoe and Mirabella. Each time a set of triplets are born, they are divided up at a young age to each of the schools of magic. One goes to the way of the Naturalist, one goes the way of the Elementalist and one goes the way of the Poisoner, and on their sixteenth birthdays the ascension year starts. One sister must prove she is the strongest by killing her other two and that branch of magic will rein until the next set of triplets are born. The last two queens have been poisoners, but Katharine is weak and can’t stomach her poison. Arinoe can’t even bud a flower. Mirabella has the strongest gift of the three, but the weakest heart.

The triplets are all amazing in their own way. Having two sisters of my own, this overall concept was a little hard to stomach. Now, this doesn’t mean Three Dark Crowns wasn’t good! It just meant that it made me think and consider how societies differ, which I think is always a good sign of an excellent book. Arsinoe was tough and fierce. Katharine was sweet and saw the best in people. Mirabella was strong and loving. Each would make a good queen in their own right. I couldn’t decide who to root for. I would start to root for one sister, then the perspective would switch to one of the other triplets, and then I’d start rooting for her.

Unfortunately, I can’t say who is queen. The novel ended before one was crowned, but there were definitely some interesting twists that it took. Not everyone is what they seem, and not all the secrets are on the table. I’m interested to see what happens in the next book. I’m interested to see if this is going to be just a set or a trilogy. Either way, I’m hooked and can’t wait to see what happens to the girls in the next novel. And if you have some free time, or looking for an exciting listen, this is definitely up there on my recommendation list.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lizrazo
I really enjoyed this book. A little confusing at first on audio, but it got less confusing the further into it I got. I really loved how it spent so much time giving the readers the chance to get to know the Queens. I think that I came to understand them and their motivations more, which really helped when it came to the more intense parts of the book. And that ending!? Whoa. I think that it came as more of a shock to me because of how it was written. This story is crazy when you really think about it. Super dark and super addicting. I am so excited to read what happens next.

Also my hatred for Joseph knows no bounds
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
versha
I thoroughly enjoyed Three Dark Crowns. In fact, if book two were available, it would already be on my Kindle.

I loved the world building here and the history of the Queens. As for our three young Queens, while I definitely had my favorite, I enjoyed reading each of them. (For those who are wondering, I'm Queen Katherine all the way!)

The storytelling is very rich and vivid.

While definitely a cliffhanger (seriously, I need book 2), the ending is handled in a way that's very satisfying.

Bring on the next book, please!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
chris oliver
3.5 stars

Not entirely a winner, but better than the silly plot summary suggests.

I've very tire over time of fantasies with some kind of contest at their core. I am sure I am not alone. Here the whole idea that the triplet sisters would kill each other is also questionable. "Goddess wills it" motivation doesn't quite work for me.

But Kendare Blake did manage to infuse her fantasy with a decent number of interesting characters and moderately imaginative magic. Each sister lives, because of what kind of magic she is supposed to possess, a distinct life style. Frankly, I was mostly invested in the poison queen's arc. Not so much in the other two sisters' fates.

The downside of the 3 distinct worlds is that it's pretty hard to keep up with all the players. It takes about half a novel to get a grip on who is who and who does what and why in every story arc.

Overall, not a perfect, but moderately entertaining fantasy. Not quite sure yet if I will continue on with this series, especially if it's more than 2 books.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
ramprakash
So part of this is my fault. I didn't realize until about halfway through the novel that it is part of a series. That's fine. What's not fine is that darn cliffhanger! There was a lot of character building for the first two thirds of the novel so that part went a bit slow. Then it finally started picking up and shocking me and then...acknowledgments. I am dying to read the next book now, because this one seemed to end at the peak and that is disappointing. The good things about this book is I did not see any of the things coming. The things I thought were going to happen didn't and then things I never would have guessed happened. I enjoyed it, but wish the book had been better paced throughout and ended with less action.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
paula
This won't be long simply because I'm now in love with the twists and the turns within this book and I can't wait until next week when the second book comes out! I had to wait for the story to come to a head before I came to the point where I wanted to become immersed in their world. What do I mean by that? Things started out slow for me, really slow, the different povs and Katharine's side characters in her Kingdom threw me off A LOT. All of it was still interesting which is why I kept reading, but I wasn't convinced I would make it all the way through until I reached the halfway mark through the book. And realized her build up was incredible! Don't give up too soon, is what I'm trying to say! If you don't like dark stories, figuring things out without being babied, and most importantly don't have patience... this one might not be for you.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bob griffith
*I received this book as an eARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

I am loving these YA Fantasies with ensemble casts! Just like Truthwitch, I absolutely loved this book. The world is big. The characters are well developed. The magic is so interesting.

The different types of magic are so interesting. I wanted to jump into this world and explore it. This is just the first book and I am excited to more to come!

I give this book a 5/5 and highly recommend it. I know this review was pretty void of details, but I don't want to spoil anything. If you like Fantasy YA, this is a must read!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
stephen terrell
This book was very good -- until the end. I took off a whole star because it has one of those non-endings. There is no plot resolution and very little chance for the reader to grasp what happens at the end, as the style of writing changes --- and so do the characters.
It's as if the book were an unfinished manuscript left by a dying author and then finished by someone who just wanted to publish it quickly, with as many shocking changes thrown in as possible.
I suppose some of this will be alleviated by a sequel, and I suggest that readers wait until there is a sequel before reading this volume, as they will be less angry that way.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
franci
Pros: Very different plot line! I thought I knew where Kendare was going with her book, but I was wrong! She does a great job at developing a lot of minor characters as well as the major characters. The last 38 pages of the book are my favorite! If you enjoy books that are a littler darker this is for you! Three Dark Crowns is considered young adult fantasy, but it has the perfect splash of mature elements in it as well.

Cons: The first couple of chapters were extremely confusing. Once the plot and characters are developed  the confusion is resolved! The places on the island were also very confusing, but the map in the beginning of the book helps a lot! Lastly I don't know when the sequel is coming out, but it's too far away!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
carole
I don't know what's going on in my TBR list lately, but I have been picking AMAZING BOOKS to read as of late!!

This one I have been waiting on for forever in my #Overdrive #audiobook holds, and I finally read/listened to it, and it was FANTASTIC! The narrator, the story, the twist at the end that made so many other things in the story make sense...LOL! So obvious, but not completely clear until the very end! I cannot wait to get started on book 2!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
burney
I read this book because it is on the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award reading list for this year. I'm really not sure why it is on the list, other than that is occupies the spot for fantasy genre. The story is cumbersome and slow moving. It is mostly focused on petty teen romance. The book has three separate story lines that fail to come together by the end of the book. Not my favorite read of the summer.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sage3511
For everyone that says that this book was not for them, I saw just stick out the first half of the book! I feel like it's so hard to keep the characters straight and figure out what each community does that it's discouraging. Yes, the beginning is slow but that's the world building that we needed in order to figure everything out. Come the middle part of the book, the action picks up and it gets really good! I genuinely love all 3 girls and am so torn about who I am rooting for to win the crown!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
carl smith
Three Dark Crowns, what can I say? You fooled me! A tale of three queens with natural powers: poisoner, naturalist, and elementalist, that at 16 have to fight to the death- what else could you want? We start off getting to know each of the queens, and how they’ve been raised by those that favor each power. It’s still unclear what happened to the king and Queen after the birth of triplets... but I’m not sure who is my favorite. Each of the queens has their own power and personality, none being truly favored in Kendra Blake’s writing. I was sucked in from the get go, only to have the story slow down and give a lot of background and plot building, with lots of action and a real cliffhanger at the end!
Can’t wait for the series to be completely written.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
jackie consolvo
This novel was terrible, and I cannot fathom how excited people are about the trilogy. I thought this was going to be dark, and was really looking forward to something different, but all the girls were total wimps and had no purpose or desire for power. Boring. One-dimensional characters.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
clare marie
4.5 rounded up to 5 stars

This story was really original and a lot of fun. The beginning was a little confusing but once it gets going it is hard to put down. The characters are all very likable, which is rare for me to find. I cared about all of the POVs of the queens and cared about what happened to each one of them.

I can't wait to see what happens in book 2. I don't want anything bad to happen to anybody, I love them all.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
yoitsafi
It definitely started out slow for me but the further in I got the more intriguing it became. I was not totally sure of the three sister queens and only one survives plot. It was interesting to learn about each queen and the different gift and of course I picked who I wanted to win(naturalists all the wayyyyy). I have soooo many opinions on Joseph but no spoilers. I have to say the last few chapters were FANTASTIC!!! SHOCKING!!! I am looking forward to book 2!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
allie krause
I just finished Three Dark Crowns and loved it! Historical Fantasy is my favorite genre. I read it cover to cover in what would probably amount to a day but was actually hours here and there over the course of three. Lately, I've had trouble finding a book that will hold my interest long enough to get past the second chapter. Not so with this book. I loved the story as a whole and the way the story is told from different character's point of view. It wasn't at all hard to follow either. The only thing that prevented me from giving it five stars was the way they talked. Sentences such as "That is not true, Mira" are a mouth full and it was hard for me to see the characters speaking that way, even with the time period. I'm excited to read the second book and hope I don't have to wait a year to read it, I also hope Joseph makes up his mind already!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
kamlesh
So Three Dark Crowns was a book on one of my most anticipated lists for the fall season. I have not had a chance to read a Kendare Blake book, but I know that she has gotten a lot of praise for her Anna Dressed in Blood series and I’ve been told that she is a great writer.

I am so very disappointed to report that this story did not live up to my expectations and I had to declare this book a DNF 10% into the story when she began introducing characters with a tell, and not a show. It’s the typical kind of issue that turns me off to stories (no matter how wonderful they may get later on). If an author, regardless of it being exposition or not, introduce a character without the tell tale “_______ is this person/thing/place/etc” or “_____ is this/that”, then I can’t particularly move on.

Not only was this an issue but there were far too many characters introduce in a limited amount of space. I know that from reading other reviews, that people were able to get a really great story from it, but by the time I DNFed, I couldn’t remember who was who (at least the minor characters). I felt as though each sister could have had their own book - introducing all three of them made it hard to keep track of where I was and who I was reading about.

Do not get me wrong, I love the premise of this story. It reminds me of Marie Lu’s The Young Elites and the idea of a dark and twisty story that leaves me no desire to have a “good guy”. And when I began the story at the start, I thought that this was going to be a great one. I loved the idea of the three sisters and these three abilities that define who they are in the line of succession to be queens. I thought Katherine’s life was incredibly bleak and she had gone through a lot of turmoil, but execution issues ruined the conception.

I hope that I can return to this story because, like I said, I love the idea. It’s got so much potential, but for now, I have to put it aside.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
paula marshall
The synopsis was intriguing. Three girls, three different view points, and no way to know who would win. I found myself changing who I was rooting for throughout the book. One chapter one queen, the next I was against them. The only thing that could make this book better is if you could choose who you want to win. Sadly you have to read the next book to know, which isn't out yet. All in all it was a compelling read that made me think bout what would make a good ruler and how different factions see each other
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
kyliekogs
Review copy

Plot: The story of three warring queens is enough to make everyone throw money at their nearest bookstore in order to get their hands on it. But it's nothing but a pretty face/cover/summary without much plot. Nothing really happens in Three Dark Crowns, we get to know our three queens who were raised separately as well as the political climate of their magical island. My biggest problem with this novel is that it's plainly written without any emotion behind it. I was never thrilled, scared, or relieved during this novel. I just read it, set it down, and promptly forgot about it.

Characters: The Poison Queen, The Naturalist Queen, and the Elemental Queen all have powers over their elements and must prove their worth. The only perspective I cared about was Katharine, the Poison Queen, because of the dark rule that her court led. The other two were bland and even played secondary to other characters (looking at your Arisnoe).

Worldbuildling: The world is...odd. There is an island off the coast of the mainland where people have magic. This is weird to the mainland people because they don't have magic. Why do some people have magic and others don't? We'll never know. What do these worlds look like? Well, they live on the island so they eat a lot of crab. That's all you need to know. The worldbuilding in The Dark Crowns was a missed opportunity.

Short N Sweet: Three Dark Crowns was a let down in every sense of the word.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
jen wrenn
Interesting premise that wasn’t fully fleshed out. On finishing the book, I felt like I didn’t know enough about the world, the rules, and what was stopping someone from killing one of the queens before she turned 16 (or what happens if there’s an accident?). Could’ve done with more detail rather than detail as a quick plot device.

The writing itself was just ok, but was pretty atrocious around the romantic plot lines. Overall, the romantic plot lines were rushed, illogical and unbelievable. Also unbelievably annoying plot lines - don’t get me started on Joseph.

Many characters, including the queens, aren’t developed at all. Facile characters surround the queens, and while Mirabella was somewhat fleshed out, Katharine and Arsinoe just seem like they are helpless.

I can see the appeal for other readers, but wasn’t my cup of tea.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
maya
I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! The setting was magical. The characters were all so great-I don't know what other words to describe them. They all had characteristics I loved. Like I don't even know who I want to win, can't they all just live?! The storyline itself, was heartbreaking, happy, and dark. Oh so dark. I can't even begin to describe how excited I am for the rest of the series. This was the first book of 2017 and it set the bar up so high! 2017 is going to be a great year for books!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
makell
The fact that I didn't like this book makes me want to curl up in a ball and sob endlessly. The premise just sounded so interesting and full of promise. But what did I get? A book where very little of interest happens in the first 75 percent. We get the dreaded love triangle, the dreaded insta-love, and just nothing of what I signed up for after reading the synopsis. Also, this is one of those books that would have seriously benefited from having a first person POV as opposed to the third person POV. It definitely would have made it easier for me to connect with one of the triplets. But it didn't happen. Sigh. This book was such a huge disappointment. It's my first Blake book and I have to say, I'm not looking to forward to picking up the other two that I already own. More sighing.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
paige curran
This will definitely be the unpopular review: I could not finish this book. I made it as far as page 102 (that’s almost a quarter of the book) before I finally called it. Other readers loved it so I know it has fans, but I just could not get into this book.

Divided into the POV’s of royal triplets separated as toddlers, each sister is raised in a separate house and taught a magic for what appears seems to be the sole purpose of killing the other two. The surviving sister, queen of her house, becomes the queen of the country of Fennbirn. One sister is raised by homicidal poisoners, a second learns to command the elements as weapons and the third sister becomes a naturalist, able to use plants and animals to destroy her enemies.

From the beginning we learn the matriarch of each house regards their ward as the “weakest” they have ever raised and those families are pretty sure they’re backing the wrong horse. We know there is some matriarchal goddess-type religion that must be appeased by sacrifice. And I’m pretty sure there will be cheating along the way to the death competition to be held on the festival of Beltane. Surely that should be enough to keep my interest but Three Dark Crowns does not.

The author has an MA in creative writing which is apparent when it comes to ideas for a story. But her broken up POV execution, sparse world building, and rudimentary dialogue, as well as a phone book of major and minor characters that are difficult to keep track of, makes the novel tough to get into. I kept confusing the naturalist queen with what I assume is a childhood friend and so I thought her story was actually about the friend (the friend has the cool mountain lion familiar and the queen does not, again the sister is shown to be weak). The poisoner queen is frail and sickly from ingesting poison her entire life and her guardians are just plain evil. The temple secretly backs the elemental, but it’s obvious she doesn’t want to be queen.

I truly wanted to like this book; I even pre-ordered it because it sounded like a good strong story. Although I did not finish the book, not finishing it is in itself a review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kacie anderson
I was captivated by this book the minute I read the description and saw the cover! As a lover of literature--especially fantasy and anything Kendare Blake, I couldn't wait!!

I will confess the first few chapters were a struggle, not because of the overall story but because of the overall amount of characters. Along with the three queens, each has their own story lines and set of characters around them, and at times I had to go back to remind myself who was who. But as the story went on, I became invested in each queen and their story. Once I gained momentum, I couldn't slow down!!!

The book seriously kept me guessing until the end. I had no idea what turn the book would take and kendare Blake did not disappoint with suspense. I won't go into specifics because I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but this book is worth the money and your time!! And when you reach the end you will be SHOCKED that you have to wait a year to find out what happens next with these amazing characters.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
vipul
I did somewhat enjoy this book but I did have issues with the stilted writing that didn't really flow very well and that I saw the "twist ending" coming from a mile away. I did enjoy the atmosphere and how dark and blunt things were in this world, nothing is sugar coated, which I love. It did get better the farther in I read, and to be honest, I do want to know what happens in the next book so it did it's job.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lauren jones
Overall, this is a very interesting book and I liked it a lot. In my opinion, there were a few plot holes and it was a little confusing. Firstly, it was hard to keep up with many of the side characters who appeared in different sisters' stories. At first, I thought this was just because I wasn't being attentive, but when I read the reviews, I found that others also had trouble remembering all the background characters. There was also this kind of unrealistic love triangle thing between Joseph and Mirabella and Jules? I personally was annoyed by that, but others might have liked it. So many things were left untied in this book, so the next book is going to have to be pretty long I guess... For example, why on earth would Pietyr push Kat off the cliff? And how did she survive? Also, is Kat now a naturalist? And how could the queen possibly have mixed them up? I liked this book, I really did, and I can't wait til the next one comes it. It has you on the edge of your seat the whole time, and is quite creative. I hope the author can tie everything together in the next book.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
tim h
I have to admit that it was a bit difficult for me to get into the story, I think it was a combinations of the narrations and the different PoV’s and all the character’s names but once I was a little bit more familiar with it all I started to enjoy the book (even if sometimes I didn’t know who was who).
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kristi green
This is a very positive three star rating. I enjoyed the world, the concept of three estranged sisters competing for a crown, the characterization of each sister having distinctly different personalities, and the fact that romance was not a key feature (unlike lots of YA). Some bits were slow, and I can't say I loved any of the characters, but I am looking forward to the next installment.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
janine shelton
I just finished this book and cannot wait for the sequel! As soon as I finished reading it, I ran into the next room to tell my wife and held it above my head like a prize and announced, "I LOVE THIS BOOK!" (And that was about the tenth time I said it.)

If I had stumbled across this book in a store, I probably would have ignored it. The cover just doesn't interest me. But I'm currently an Owlcrate subscriber, a book club that sends you a random, secret book each month, and this was September's pick. (The Owlcrate came with some neat freebies, too, like a map of the island on which the story takes place, the author's autograph, and a little printed game based on the book's characters.) I read the synopsis and just about had a cow; the last book I read was "Daughters of Ruin," which has a very similar plot (sisters out to kill each other for the crown). I liked the plot so I immediately started reading "Three Dark Crowns"...and I could NOT put it down. This book went everywhere with me. While I was working, I'd read while waiting for a screen to load. If I was in a waiting room, a parking lot, a restaurant...this book was open in front of me.

The setting is rich. If you love fantasy, this is what you want to read about: magic that controls the elements, binds familiars to their masters, and enchants men into falling for the women who want but should not have them; an island that lives and breathes and from which no one can escape; and dirty, dirty medieval politics.

This book has plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing, and the cast is a memorable one. The three queens are the main characters, but their families, friends, love interests, religious figures, guardians, and even their neighbors and village shopkeepers all come to life vibrantly, and you grow to love (or hate) them all.

Critiques: The pacing is pretty perfect, but sometimes the story would just make a quick reference to something that happened earlier that could have been a huge scene on its own, and sometimes a scene would fade out when you really wanted to see what was going to happen next. I did notice two typing/editing mistakes (a word, "crates," was meant to be plural but was spelled "crate's" as if the crates possessed something; also, "He cupped her face in HER hands") but overall the writing is clean and smooth. I am usually not a fan of stories written in the present tense, but it just seems to fit this book, and it is used consistently throughout.

I've become an instant fan of Kendare Blake's and look forward to the sequel to "Three Dark Crowns," and any other books of hers I can get my hands on!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
christa morris
Every generation there is a set of triplets born, each one having the gift of being a poisoner, elemental or a naturalist. When they are very young they are separated and taken to be raised by their respective houses and trained in their gift. When they are 16 they will attend a ceremony and use their gift to fight and kill each other. Last queen standing wins the crown.

Katharine is my favorite of the three sisters. She is a poisoner, and while she is very adept at making poisons she has not been able to build up a resistance to ingesting the poisons. She is the smallest and weakest of the three sisters from years of basically killing herself from all the different poisons she has taken.Despite being the weakest of her sisters, she is the most ruthless and determined. She has been raised and trained by the Arron family who has held control of the kingdom for many years and are not about to give up control now. Natalia Arron brings in her nephew Pietyr to help Katharine become strong and confident and the two end up falling for each other.

Arsinoe is the naturalist, although not a very good one. An awful one actually. She is supposed to be able to make flowers bloom and have a "familiar" pet. Her gift has yet to make an appearance. She is very headstrong, maybe even a little rebellious, but she is fiercely loyal to those she cares about. Jules is her best friend and the most powerful naturalist in decades. Joseph, Jules' love interest, has served 5 years on the mainland as punishment for trying to help Arsinoe escape 5 years earlier. When he returns he brings another boy back with him. Billy is a suitor and is supposed to introduce himself to all 3 queens as a potential king-consort. He becomes friends with Arsinoe and while they each say that there is no love between them there is definitely something there. Billy is devoted to Arsinoe and helps her to escape right before the Quickening.

Mirabella is an elemental and the strongest one of her sisters. She is taken in by the priestesses who are ruthless and will stop at nothing to see their Queen crowned. I found it very interesting that despite being the most powerful of her sisters, she does not want to kill them. She knows that as a rule queens are not supposed to love their sisters but she remembers her time with them as children and still cares for them.

The book did start off a little slow. At the beginning I found it hard to keep up with so many secondary characters but they are essential to the story. It seems as though it is the individual houses and the priestesses that are vying for power and control over Fennbirn and the queens are more of a figurehead. I do wish there had been more world building. Billy comes from the mainland, there is no magic or anything there and Fennbirn is becoming something of a myth. But there was no explanation of how they are able to get to the island sometimes and other times they are kept out by a fog. How do they even know of Fennbirn?? If I knew there was an island full of magic I would be on the next boat over there! Maybe in the next book there will be an explanation and more info about the island and the magic inside it.

Overall I really enjoyed this book! There are so many twists and sub-plots to keep you hooked. That ending was totally unexpected and I can't wait for the next book to see what happens!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
stephanie seale
I really liked this book. I loved the idea that the sisters had to fight for the crown. To the death not so much but I liked the premise. I found it interesting that two of the sisters were faking their powers and they couldn't let their sister know. This had me footing for the two faking sisters. I am always a sucker for the underdogs. This was a great story and it had a very interesting world. Highly recommend
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lisa maloney
i was excited for this book to come out once i saw the description of the book. the story had lots of beautiful detailings. the story its self was somewhat hard to follow,due to havving 3 main characcters plus their side characters.... but eventually i figured it out. everything came together nicely.
though its taken me longed to finish a book than normal. towardzs the end it was getting really good. the way the story ended was not cool. i hate sequels, but now i stared a story i have to finish it.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
tim robichaux
THREE DARK CROWNS is the first in a new dark fantasy series about three queens, only one of which will survive to take the throne. The queens are sisters, and after their sixteenth birthday, they have a year to kill each other. The last one standing wins the crown.

I was intrigued by THREE DARK CROWNS because I love me some dark and twisted fantasy. Sisters killing each other for the throne? Gimme. Each a user of a different type of magic? Gimme. Political factions scheming for power? Gimme.

THREE DARK CROWNS was a good series starter, but just a bit too slow for me. The majority of this first book is set up, introducing the sisters and their people, the different types of magic, and meandering along to the ceremony of Beltane. I think the author did a good job of describing the sisters’ current situations, but I was lost on the worldbuilding as a whole. For the longest time, I thought each sister was on a separate island, and I didn’t understand references to the mainland. Yes, I know there’s a map, but it was hard for me to make out land boundaries.

Because the pacing was slow, the middle of the book was a bit of a slog for me. I would’ve preferred more action and a less token romance. Each sister had her own romance subplot, and I’m not a romance fan, so that was a lot for me. Now, I should say I liked how Arsinoe handled her suitor. That was good. But her buddy Jules? Meh.

But the end of THREE DARK CROWNS redeemed that slow middle for me, and this is a series I’ll continue. With all the set up out of the way, I’m hoping the second book will be a lot darker. For a book about three queens who must murder each other, there was surprisingly little Bad Stuff happening.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
eddy bailey
*I received an ARC copy through Edelweiss from the Publisher in exchange for my honest, unbiased review* Thank you!

Cover: Eye-catching
Rating: 4 Stars
Overall: Darkly Beautiful
Characters: Well Written
Plot: Each time a new Queen is to be selected, the former Queen has a set of triplets, each with a unique gift. Once the three girls reach the age of 16, they have a year to kill their sisters and claim the throne, but this year, something wrong.
Page Turner: Yes
Series Cont.? Yes
Recommend: Yes
Source: Edelweiss

<blockquote>Three dark queens
are born in a glen,
sweet little triplets
will never be friends.

Three dark sisters
all fair to be seen,
two to devour
and one to be Queen.</blockquote>

Shout Review:
I loved this book! While I don't feel it was a 5 star story, it was highly satisfying, and I plan to be one of the first in line for the next book! While the ending didn't surprise me, many other twists and turns caught me off guard. This story is deliciously dark and grim, but also an exciting fantasy adventure! Reminding me of many original fairy-tales, this book definitely too some of it's ques from them, and that makes me love it all the more!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
gosia
I honestly loved the characters and how the author would separate the queens points of views by the House in each chapter. I liked how the characters interacted with each other although at times it seemed that other characters would speak without their presence known. The book was a slow read in the beginning and there was some scenes that were obvious on who was the “surprise” character. the twist at the end was a total game changer!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gabriella
Loved this book and I am so anxiously awaiting the next one - due out in September! What could be more exciting than three sisters who are triplets and born with magic - at 16 they are forced to fight till the death. I couldn't put this book down! One of the best books I read in 2016. A definite must for any YA readers!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jenay
As the story progressed, I was constantly changing sides on which queen I preferred. Such great characters both main and supporting within each faction. And a great story as well!! Full package. Can’t wait to read the 2nd one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bagish jha
I purchased this based on how much I loved Anna dressed in blood. This book is as far from that one as two books can be. This series is even better. I sat and read this and couldn't stop. Extremely well written. The characters are wonderful and engaging. The story is compelling new and exciting. Don't pass this book up.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
craven lovelace
I really enjoyed this book -- the three sisters were written beautifully and I loved how different they all were. The world building was great.

Overall I thought the story built a little bit slow, but the payoff was well worth it
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nabiha
If you are looking for a girl power book with magic look no further. Three Dark Crowns follows three sisters who are in a competition to become queen. The story is dark and twisted but shows the light of friendship and family. Told in beautiful prose the characters jump off the page. You will find yourself rooting for one sister but over all you will love all three. The amount of balance in the story telling is crucial and it allows for each plot twist to come as a new suprise.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
megan c
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake is brilliant. Sinister, grabby, wicked and sly. It’s the best kind of dark, dark fantasy.
With the combination of superb characters and the rich storyline which flows like thick treacle, oozing with venom, this is a book I will not forget.
@crushingcinders
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jude alkhalil
Author Kendare Blake spins a tale of three sisters determined to be queen at any cost to each other. Once a series of triplets are born they are raised in an almost typical life until the age of sixteen. Then that day forward they will fight to death until one is only standing and becomes queen.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
chelsey mcguire
Interesting concept with nice character development. The jumps between story lines may be too frequent; I felt like I was just getting involved with the characters when the plot would leave to visit a different queen. I also had trouble keeping all the secondary characters straight. Overall very entertaining premise and solid fantasy story. Looking forward to diving into book 2.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
daniel tasayco
Holy cow. This was one great book! It started off a tad slow so you could get introduced to the main players. You get to see three perspectives and with less than 100 pages left in the book, you get to see it all start to come together. Then, the last page hits you with a plot twist so hard, you get whiplashed! There had better be a sequel!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jamey
There were a lot of characters to keep track of, which made the book get off to a slow start, but once it got rolling I couldn't put it down. Dark concept, a conflict of the highest stakes and a good twist at the end
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sarah samir
I loved this story & can't wait until the next installment. I need answers to certain things!!!! The writing is engrossing; Blake is a really great storyteller. It's a roller coaster of emotions and plot twists. Would definitely recommend!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
frances thomas
I thought this was a very well done book. I read it all in one sitting. The only thing I think would have pushed it up to 5 stars would have been spicier romance. Aside from that, I found myself switching sides and trying to figure out what was going on. The ending was fantastic. I can't wait for the next one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
niamh
I was absoluetly enthralled with this book. I received it courtesy of #owlcrate and thoroughly enjoyed every word on every page. I consider myself a snob when it comes to books and I tend to over critcize most of the books I read, and this is the first book in a long time that trully captivated my attention and imagination. I hope that others will enjoy it as much as I have. I cant wait for the next one! And I never ever rate books or leave comments.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
tiffiny corbett
At the start, it was very bland to me. It did start to kick off at the end but for 3/4's of the book I was very bored and unsatisfied. The concept is what brought me to purchase this book, I mean, the concept and synopsis was just amazing and it lured me in, but when I read it, it was just like food lacking seasoning. It had flavour, but it wasn't strong and it was bland.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
aimee corazzari
I absolutely love this book! Yes, the ridiculous cheesy romances were a set back, but the ending and the concept and the story itself completely makes up for it. It's a very traditional fantasy book with a bit of a different concept than I have so far seen in the genre. I can't wait for the next book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
slanger
I loved this book! Although I initially found it a little bit hard to follow as the story jumps from one sister to the other I quickly got over it. It is an exciting book and all the twists and turns kept me reading this at a fast past. I found my allegiances to the characters shifting and changing as the book went on and I loved it! I seriously CAN'T wait for the sequel to come out. I hope it come quickly!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ako31
Ah, I loved this book. None of the older kids in my circle have read it yet, but I'll be passing it around to them. It's a great story with twists and turns and honestly I don't want to give anything away so I'll just say that there are few books that I say will probably appeal to everyone, but this is one of them. Check it out. It's terrific.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
richard schneider
I was sucked into this world pretty quickly. While in the beginning I was a little confused about the world once everything was laid out I was fascinated! There were a lot of characters but they were all distinct and had their own motivations. I was invested in all of them. I look forward to the rest of the series
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
seema patel
Slowly but surely the story unfolds and slowly but surely, you get sucked in and come to like the three little queens. As the plot turns you find yourself liking one better than the other,then a chapter later all had changed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
linn a
Listened to the Audible version on a long drive for the holidays with my two teenage girls. We very much enjoyed it - I had to convince them to listen but once we started, we had to finish. The book has sparked lots of conversations. Great way to pass the long drive.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
carlos
I LOVED this book! If I could give it more stars, I would! The feast in chapter one hooked me, and I was wishing I could physically read faster after that as I was so excited to see how things played out. There were characters I was rooting for and characters that I was actively rooting against which to me is a sign of a great book. I was not expecting the turn of events at the end, and it made me even hungrier for the second book. Three Dark Crowns is a MUST read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
cassandra mickelson
Although not a book I normally would have chosen, it was well reviewed so I have it a try. I thoroughly enjoyed it!! Suspenseful, a little like Game of Thrones meets The Hunger Games. Looking forward to reading the sequel!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
evan
This book is absolutely amazing I loved every minute of reading it. The writing sucked me right in and I couldn't put it down.. Originally bought it at a book store and didn't realize it was a trilogy. As soon as I finished I ordered the second and pre ordered the third. So ready for them to arrive!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
rebecca rebecs44
Received this as a free ARC. I really liked this author's earlier books, so I had high hopes for this one! I did enjoy it, but it did take me a couple chapters to get involved with the story. I am looking forward to the follow up, and I hope Kendare Blake continues in YA Fantasy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
abby terry
I was not sure of this book at first. It was slow moving at first and a little hard to follow due to the way it jumped from one sister to the next. But by the end I could not put it down! There were a couple twists at the end that I did not see coming at all. I am so glad I stuck with this book and I cannot wait for the next one as I am dying to know what happens next!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
karen
I really wanted to love this book. It sounded amazing and something new. I've loved other books by Kendare.....but this one fell short for me.

It started off right in the middle a scene, the details slowly coming together and learning about why things are the way it is. But it kept losing my intrest, I was so close to just giving up on this book. It wasn't until the end that I was hooked. I'll give the next book a chance, but I was disappointed with this one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
crystal simmons
I read this book in two days, I am absolutely obsessed with it!! It's so different than anything I've read, the characters practically jump off the page and I am giving it to everyone I know that would love it!! Thank you for giving us something new and inventive and fresh; I can't wait to devour the sequel!!! Go get this book now!!!!!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
carl plumer
An amazing read! If you're looking for something filled with lots of girl power, dark themes, and twist & turns. The author, Kendare Blake knew what she was doing when writing this novel, and it has easily become one of my favorite books after reading it. Definitely go purchase a copy!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amyara
Can we please talk about how this book BLOWS MY MIND!!! I want the story to never end yet it needs to end because I need to know!! I love the characters and their development and the dark setting. It's a medevil hunger games feel for me. A must must must read.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
chinmaya kher
This book definitely had the potential to be great. It was excruciatingly slow at times and I had to force myself to continue with the story. It finally picked up at the end and I'm hoping the sequel is a little more exciting and suspenseful.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
silvan
I loved this book can wait to read more. At first I felt like there where to many characters but my brain soon wrapped around the idea and understood. I really can't wait for another book. Everyone should read pass it around the family
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shaun hennessy
This was such an amazing book. I found it on the barnes and noble website and I read a sample of it and fell in love. SUCH a plot twisy in the end! I can't wait for book two! I'm so intrigued about what's gonna happen next...
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