Three Dark Crowns
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.
I went into this book with extremely low expectations – I’d heard people complain about the pacing, the number of characters, the plot, and so on. Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Three Dark Crowns!
The royalty trope is kind of played out in YA, but I thought that the premise of Three Dark Crowns was incredibly unique. Three Dark Crowns is about a set of triplets, each with a unique power: Mirabella is an elemental, Katharine is a poisoner, and Arsinoe is a naturalist. The three sisters were separated as children and fostered in three separate cities, each known for a specific talent, and spent a number of years nurturing (or failing to nurture) their gifts. During those years Mirabella blossomed, while both Katharine and Arsinoe failed to fully manifest their powers. When the three queens turn sixteen, the Ascension year begins, throughout which the sisters try to murder one another in order to be named the true queen.
I think that most of the complaints about the pacing of the book are due to the fact that the majority of it was fairly character-driven. I actually didn’t mind the slower pacing, and thought it was kind of refreshing. It is true that the build-up to the Ascension was a bit on the slower side, but the last section of the book was very intense and it ended with quite the cliffhanger. So, I think the next book will be faster-paced now that the real action has started.
There were some really intriguing characters in Three Dark Crowns – like Natalia, the head of the poisoner faction and Katharine’s guardian, and Elizabeth, a novice at the temple who is secretly a naturalist. However, the sheer number of extraneous characters meant that many of those potentially interesting secondary characters were not given the attention they deserved.
My main gripe with this book was the romantic aspect – there was insta-love by page 15 and it featured the dreaded love triangle. I was glad that the romances didn’t overshadow the plot, because they were fairly boring and predictable.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading Three Dark Crowns and, thanks to that cliffhanger, am anxiously awaiting its sequel!