Author: Kendare Blake.
Published: September 20th 2016 by HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss and publisher, thanks! I also received a finished copy from Van Ditmar.
Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown. If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.
I was fascinated by the promise of this book from the moment I read the blurb and it did not disappoint me. Kendare created a story that is not like any other I've read this year and I am now highly anticipating the sequel.
Fennbirn is ruled by one Queen, but getting that title is a dangerous game. Every generation a set of triplets is born and each baby possesses their own magic: Elemental, Poisoner and Naturalist. The night they turn sixteen, the battle for the crown begins and the last one standing is the new Queen.
Three Dark Crowns tells the tale of Mirabella, a strong and fierce Elemental who is rumored to the be one to finally push the line of Poisoner Queens of the throne. Katherine is a Poisoner, but her magical abilities are shallow and there is a lot of pressure on her shoulders. Then there is Arisinoe, a Naturalist who is not nearly as powerful as the rumors claim she is. It is clear that this round is not about the strongest, but the darkest/most ruthless one to claim the throne.
The story is divided into chapters, each switching between the three sisters. This could have been confusing, but works well in this situation. It gives us the ability to see the situation through three different eyes; how each of the possible Queens deal with their power and the upcoming battle. I liked all three of them, but felt that Mirabella was the most distant voice. Her part of the story gripped me less than the struggle from both Katherine and Arsinoe.
Katherine has to deal with trials to make her body adjust to the presence of poison, but it is a painful and slow process. Arsinoe is in a better situation, with her powerful friend Jules who will do anything to keep her safe.
The writing-style was good, but some parts still dragged a little. The ending (while I was anticipating that turn of events) made me grin. The sequel promises to be interesting and I can't wait to see how it all wraps up. Are these three sisters going to change the way their country is ruled for years – or will one of them finish it all?
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.