Hello happy readers! So I have been slacking again, though this is partly in that I lost my USB with all my reviews temporarily (it was in my wallet for some reason) but also storm related I mean can we be done with storms for a bit please? So I have finally gotten around to the first book in this series, Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake. I started it a while back but I couldn’t give it the attention it needed to learn all these new characters, powers, and overall world. That and it was one of my “I’ll wait until close to the next book then read it….” Ones which sort of worked as the 3rd book did recently come out. So here are my thoughts on the first book in this new series.
Fennbirn is ruled by one queen. Each generation is set of triplets are born, three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessing a particular magic. When they are but small children they are pulled apart and raised by their own house: elemental, naturalist, or poisoner. When the time comes only one can live and be crowned, the others must die. Each sister must try to learn her gift and how to defeat her sisters for the crown before the battle begins for the crown and life.
This generation we have Mirabella the elemental, Katharine the poisoner, and Arsinoe the naturalist. This book was a bit slower to start but if you can just hold out it is worth it. Blake takes the time to introduce three separate main queens and their life thus far. How they have been raised including the magic of and how each group and how it falls in the overall system of the world. Three separate storylines that all meld into one as the sixteenth year approaches. Each queens’ story is whole and developed with their own characters, motivations and problems.
Katherine doesn’t seem to have much of a gift despite the poisoners being at the top of the hierarchy, and every intention of staying there. She is raised in a harsh life, constantly poisoned to build immunity and so on. She is starved for not just for a good meal but real love. Still and maybe partly despite what she went through she isn’t all doom and gloom and has an almost naivety to her. Arsinoe also doesn’t seem to have much of a gift for nature but her best friend, Jules, is one of the most powerful and trying her best to help. Arsinoe and Jules and the dynamic and loyalty there is really amazing and a feel of sisterhood that in a book about three sisters who are being raised to kill one another might lack. Last but not least we have Mirabella who seems to be the strongest of the sisters and thus has a stronger hand trying to guide and shape her.
"Every gift is light and dark."
There are still some questions about the world I need to know. Questions I think will come into play in book two. I loved the dynamic of seeing each girl raised differently. A real case of nature vs. nurture. Still as you try to take all of this information in the first say quarter of the book can be a bit of a struggle. You get to know one set of characters and life then move to someone else and have to start all over again with a new set and so on. Still if you hang in there it’s worth it as the stories unfold and meld. I found the audiobook helped tremendously here for me. Personally I sometimes struggle when there are so many names/things I can’t pronounce that hit me all at once. It messes with my flow.
As the story progresses and knowing the idea of this world I found myself tallying up who I liked more and who I wanted to win. It gets harder with each section for sure. There were some things I liked about each and some things I didn’t like as much. Each is very real and human in this way with flaws as well as strengths. Each queen was different and unique in her own story and I connected to each of them. I still don’t know how I want things to turn out because there are twists and turns all over the place. Still my favorite part was the characters and their connections. That is what made me ache for each of these girls, from the lives they lived sure, but the people in their lives. I mean some of the side characters were my favorite to love/hate! All I know is with how book one ended I can’t wait to dive into book two and have it on my phone ready to dive right back in.
Until next time…