Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake


The theme for the Nerdy Bookworm box in September was ‘Queens’ and the book chosen for this theme was Three Dark Crowns, the first in a new fantasy series by Kendare Blake.

‘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.’

I was really intrigued by the premise of this book. It is set on the island of Fennbirn and in each generation a set of triplets are born – three queens who are all heir to the throne and are all in possession of a coveted magical ability. Katharine is a poisoner, skilled at administrating the poisons she herself has become resistant to. Arsinoe is a naturalist who is rumoured to bloom the most beautiful roses and control animals. And Mirabella is an elemental who can produce fire and storms at the click of her fingers. But sadly only one of the sisters can take to the throne meaning that the three queens must fight to the death to decide who should be crowned queen. And it is on their sixteenth birthday that their battle for the throne begins. The sisters are separated at a young age and raised in different places with different families to nurture and prepare them for these events. The story alternates between the perspectives of each of the queens as they prepare for the approaching Ascension Year…

‘We are all dual-natured, Queen Mirabella. Every gift is light and dark.’

I liked the alternating perspectives and enjoyed learning about each of the sisters and the powers they had. The fact that they were brought up apart within groups who share the same powers means that each sister has their own complex world within Fennbirn with lots of secondary characters with their own stories to discover. I would say that I found it to be something of a slow burner for the first half of the book, purely because it was building up each of the sisters stories and the world they live in although the action picks up towards the end and there are a couple of little surprises on the way. Three Dark Crowns is the first in a series so I suspect now the scene has been set there may be a lot more action in store in the next book! As the story picked up the pace I became more and more intrigued by this fantasy world and how things would develop for the triplets.

‘You have heard it said that the queens are not really people…so when we kill one another, it is not a person we are killing….That’s what they say. I don’t know anymore if it is really true.’

All in all Three Dark Crowns is an intriguing introduction to a dark fantasy world. I will be interested in reading the sequel, One Dark Throne, to find out what is in store for the island of Fennbirn.

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