Three Dark Crowns by Kendra Blake
Published by: Harper Teen on September 20, 2016
Review Source: Publisher, Edelweiss
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Plot: Killer queen triplets must fight to the death for the throne.
Review: This was a hard one for me. Here’s the pros and cons:
- The writing. Blake has a stellar track record when it comes to writing. One thing that consistently impresses me is her ability to easily maneuver between genres. Horror, adventure, fantasy, or any other genre you’d like, she can write it. Not a lot of authors have that kind of skill, and I greatly respect her for it. Her prose has a good balance, and I never felt like it was too flowery or underdone. Three Crowns is also told from the three different POVs of the queens, but Blake manages to keep everything neat and tidy. It was very easy to slip between the different protagonists without getting lost. You can tell that she is a veteran writer with a lot of talent.
- The concept. Think of this one as one part Hunger Games, one part fantasy, and one part family drama. Three sisters who all have super powers and have to kill each other to rule? Sounds pretty original to me.
- The worldbuilding. This kingdom and its court are complicated. You have three different factions with their own unique histories to navigate through. While Blake does offer a lot of information about Fennbirn and the mainland, it doesn’t overpower the storyline.
- I didn’t like the queens. I tried. I really did, but I did not bond with any of the three queens. The only character I did like was Jules, because let’s be honest, she’s tough and has a mountain lion as a familiar. By comparison, the queens felt weak and whiney. I think in my mind I wanted the queens to be all in. Either they were totally out for blood, or totally out to break away from tradition. Their dynamics felt too tepid to me, and it made me feel pretty blah by the end.
- I needed more. I get that this book is the first in a series, but I still need enough plot progression to make me want to keep reading. I’m not sure I got that from this opener.
Final thoughts: The last line of the book leads me to believe that a lot of what happened in this first volume will click during the second, but I’m not sure how well this tactic will translate to readers. There were simply too many plot threads and not enough time spent with any of them for me to invest in this series. Maybe others will do better with it than I did.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Who Should Snag It: Fans of Blake’s work or fantasy might want to give this a try.
*I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review*