Title: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Date Published: September 2016
Rating: 2 stars
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’ve promised myself that 2017 is the year I will not force myself to complete a book I am not enjoying. In the past I would force myself to read just because I felt so guilty for not finishing a novel, as though I owed it to the author to complete the novel before deciding whether or not I enjoyed it. This tactic has proven to be extremely unproductive and has resulted in many reading slumps.
A while ago I requested Three Dark Crowns from Pan Macmillan South Africa and was so excited and grateful when they sent me a review copy. So when I finally had the time to sink my teeth into it I had all these high hopes for the novel, I blame booktube and bookstagram… I sat on my comfy spot with my giant mug of coffee, getting ready for an all nighter. I was committed and determined that I would absolutely love this novel as much as everyone else did. But 20 pages in I was already bored… I continued to pick up the novel throughout the next month and battled through the next 100 pages. Eventually when the new year rolled in I came to terms with the fact that there was no way I was going to finish it, at least not anytime soon.
So why didn’t I enjoy it?
There are three main characters and each one of them is bland. Katherine is pathetically weak and has zero personality. Arsinoe is naive and doesn’t have a single thing going for her. Mirabella is the only sister with any semblance of a personality or real power and is the only reason, aside from a side character named Jules, I got to 150 pages. Besides the bland characters, the premise of the novel defies logic. Three queens must fight to the death to rule the Kingdom, but why? What if one of them just decided “fuck this, I don’t want to rule”? And where are their parents? So the last queen was crowned, married and ruled for a couple of years, had her triplets, gave them up and left for the main land? I don’t know, it just seems loopy to me. I wasn’t convinced. Three Dark Crowns just didn’t captivate me. I really wanted it to, but I guess it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
If you’ve read it, please let me know what you thought of it. Did you enjoy it? If so, what captivate you? If not, well then at least I am not alone…