Written by Kendare Blake

Published by Harper Teen, September 20, 2016

My star rating: 3.5 stars

This is book 1 to the Three Dark Crowns series. Every generation the Queen of Fennbirn gives birth to triplets. Each child holds an equal right to the crown and each holds a unique type of magic. At the age of 6, the three Queens are separated and brought to their own kingdom to train. Katherine is a poisoner who is said to be talented in mixing the most lethal poisons and be able to consume them without so much as a stomach ache. Arsinoe is a naturalist who is said to be able to bloom the reddest roses and tame the wildest lion. Mirabella is a fierce elemental who can call and control fires and storms at the snap of her fingers. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle for the crown begins. Each sister will have to use their trained powers to conquer the other two to become the sole Queen.

The premise of this book is what I live for when it comes to reading. I love anything with a unique magic system and a strange and different family dynamic. The family dynamic itself was so interesting. You have these three sisters that bond for the first 6 years of their life then all of a sudden they’re ripped apart to be trained to hate and kill each other….. what?! The author did such an incredible job with this! I was so afraid that she would just make them immediately hate each other because that’s what they were supposed to do. Or she could have gone the other way and made them overly sentimental and refuse to kill their sisters. But there was a perfect blend of every scenario and I seriously loved it. The book is told from the perspective of all three sisters so you can see how the different kingdoms shaped them as Queens and how their upbringings changed (or couldn’t change) different aspects of their personalities. The characters themselves were so different from each other and their emotions were easy to love and identify with.

The magic, which is what drew me in to this book, was both great and not so great. It was very unique but I found myself wanting a little more from it. During the process of their maturity, they have to display their powers to the people, but I found clarity of what their powers were and what they could really do were a little vague. You didn’t get the chance to see exactly what their powers were capable of. Now I understand there’s kind of a reason for it as some of the powers didn’t actually mature (No that’s not a spoiler – this happens at the beginning of the book) so not all could be explained. I’m looking forward to the continuation of this series to see what all their powers entail.

The main issue that I had with this book was there was a lot of highs and lows. During the lows there was a lot of character and world building and it seemed to lag a little. Then, during the highs, it all felt a little rushed. So much was built up and thrown at you without a full and complete explanation. I need to take this for what it was – a first book in a series. Not all can be explained or completed because theres more to the story. I have a feeling that this series will be a “slow burn” series and things will happen gradually. I also wished that you got more information on what happens to the mother of the triplets. When she has the three Queens she just steps aside and disappears… but where? What happens to her? It was mentioned in passing a few times throughout the book but no solid information was given. Once again, I imagine this will come into play in the sequel.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the friendships and romance. Friendships were different for all three Queens depending on their surroundings and upbringing. Also the romance wasn’t all perfect and lovey dovey. It was messy, confusing, and you can tell there will be so much more to their relationships.

Considering the small amount of problems I had with this one, I gave it a 3.5 star rating. But I am super excited for this series to continue so it can answer all the questions I have!! Really enjoyable read!