In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown.
If this book was sorted into a Hogwarts House, the hat wouldn’t even tremble. It would be Slytherin all the way.
Three Dark Crowns is like a deceitful, conniving trap you fall into and can’t get out of. This book and these characters are still haunting me all the way from their terrible, twisted mansions and caves in the land of Fennbirn.
I am PLEASED to say that this story checks all the Slytherin traits I was looking for in the smartest and best-written fantasy matriarchy I’ve read. Prepare a nice cup of tea, some Halloween left-over cookies, and make sure to keep your nails away from your mouth when you read this book; it will truly not be what you expect…
In many ways, this book surprised me and showed me what I didn’t know I wanted from a story. First off, the world. In this land, a set of royal triplets is born every generation, they are separated according to their powers and taken to three different sites in the island: The Poisoners Mansion, Wolf Spring, the Natural City, and Rolanth, the Elemental City.
When they turn 16, the battle begins and each of the three queens must do their best to kill the other two and win the Crown. Then the cycle repeats.
Also, this is basically Taylor Swift's Reputation in book form.
This first installment is like a perfect set-up for a fabulous series, and what it did was build the ground and structure for everything that will happen next.
The official fighting competition does not actually take place during this book, which you should know to avoid mild disappointment. However, Three Dark Crowns did not run short of THRILLING events, deceiving illusions, tricks, and mysteries.
What many people have complained about is the PACE of the story. The book starts out slow and it takes its time to unfold. The real action doesn’t start until the midway point, but I personally did not have trouble with this.
The writing style was so lush, rich and descriptive that it really placed me in the setting of the story. I could not take my eyes off of it, and I had a lot of fun leisurely getting to know all the characters and suspicious matters that were going on at each corrupt, political points of the island.
My advice is that you go into this book feeling inclined to witness some interesting character development and exploration. Not ONE of the people in this book were fully trusting and reliable. The cast of characters is the most morally grey and terrifying one you will encounter.
The most prominent feeling this book gives is of DARKNESS and GREYNESS. There is no black AND white. Everybody is either really cruel and merciless or on their way there.
Mirabella: This is the elemental queen and my least favorite of the three. I didn’t like her not because her character was badly written or because SHE was a cruel person. I disliked her because she was far too nice and sacrificing, as well as naive. She acted innocent at times and too eager to help, but there is no place for mercy in this story. Put your heart down, Mira, and grow up.
Although she has the most developed powers and is the strongest as regards to magic, I cannot imagine her winning the crown. She is easily manipulated by the Priestesses, which have taken control of the Elemental City. She was so naive about it, and it annoyed me. Mirabella is dooming the Elementals by relying on the Priestesses. And trust me, those “religious” maidens and leaders have not a single drop of piety in their blood.
Katharine: Katharine is totally the underdog. She is the Poisoner queen, but her powers DO NOT WORK. She has been given deadly drinks and nourishments her entire life to try to strengthen her body and finally help her powers bloom, but nothing has worked and Katharine is still as immune to Poison as bugs are to RAID Disinfectant.
She is not as smart as Arsinoe, but thankfully also not as sacrificing and loving as Mirabella. But she IS very stupid and can also be easily manipulated. Still, I do root for this girl. Judging by the ending of the book, I might have to prepare myself for some serious kicking ass from her part.
Arsinoe: I also like Arsinoe quite a lot. She is, thanks to the Gods, SMART, untrusting, and careful. I was so relieved to at least have ONE queen was not a fool. Her powers are not developing either, which is her major problem and what is making her believe she will soon die, but I’m sure the Natural queen will freaking give a show.
Each of the characters is absolutely complex and SO well crafted. Reading about the three girls is like reading about three complementing items. Each has their assets and their weaknesses, and at the end of the day, fate makes sure to announce that one of those will be, for two of them, their downfall.
Male characters are BRUSHED ASIDE with a broom and not given the spotlight AT ALL this time. Every man that is in this book is just a SUPPORTING character, like so many females have been before, and I appreciated that SO MUCH.
The males are key to this story too, but their development is limited. Everything is centered on the women, and not even only the three queens. There are deadly female snakes sliding around everywhere in this story, and they are the bones of this island. I CANNOT WAIT TO READ THE NEXT BOOK!
-The map, although it was GORGEOUS, was useless. It was nice to see the names and locations of the three main cities, but not one of the important settings visited later on in the book is actually on the map. I hope it will be more helpful in the next installment.
-The killing hasn’t happened yet. I didn’t care about this THAT MUCH because I was so invested in learning about the characters and the world, but it’s some shady stuff to go running around announcing a GREAT competition and then not delivering it… YET. The killing will begin in the next book, surely, but the synopsis was not completely accurate. This is not so much the trouble of the book but of the marketing and the way it was DESCRIBED.
I will continue with One Dark Throne, which I IMMEDIATELY ordered online after finishing this book, really soon. I will start Buddy Reading this with Katherine on December 13th!!!
Plot: 4.5 /5 stars
World Building: 5/5 stars
Writing: 5/5 stars
Characters: 5/5 stars
Pace: 4/5 stars
Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5 stars
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