Title: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendra 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”
Three Dark Crowns is a fantasy novel aimed at young adult readers, based on the quite cliché premise of ‘three princesses but only one can be queen’.
To give an initial overview, there are three sisters who are divided by ability and split up at a young age, one a poisoner, able to wield it as well as being immune, a naturalist, commanding nature and animals, and an elemental, controlling the elements. Out of the three sisters, Mirabella, the elemental, is clearly the strongest, expected to kill the other two within the set time of a year and become the next monarch.
From the beginning, it is fairly obvious that the story wouldn’t play out to the bloodbath the reader expects, for better or for worse. I personally would have liked a more backstabbing, vicious plot that was initially advertised on the blurb, however I do understand where she wanted to go with the storyline. Despite this, I did enjoy how she finished the novel, providing a plot twist that I didn’t find particularly obvious, however if you’re someone more dedicated to predicting the end, you would have been able to figure it out. I think she’s also set the precedence for the sequel quite well, hopefully providing a more emotive and intense storyline.
I do like the characters she’s set out reasonably well, but there is a certain sense that she’s trying to purposefully get all the classic personality type in there, with one sister being headstrong and wanting to win, another focusing more on love and the last not wanting to kill any of the others. I do like how she set them out to a fair extent, as it would have been bland if they were all the same, on the other hand, however, I do think she could have added more layers to the queens as at times I found them to be quite 2D.
All three main characters have their own narrative and perspective, with each character having a chance to tell it from their point of view in different chapters. I find this to be quite a nice touch, so the reader can understand the motives that they each have. The only downside to this is that it provides the opportunity to forget about certain parts of the storyline due to the lack of consistency.
Overall I did enjoy reading the novel as a casual read, rather than a serious fantasy novel as it does contain a lot of average young adult themes and not so much of the fantasy apart from the basic premise. I plan to read the next book in the series ‘One Dark Throne’ in the future as I anticipate it to have more of the themes I wanted from the first. I would recommend it to someone looking for a light, easy to read novel but not to someone looking for a serious fantasy read.