Tea & Book Chat: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns #1)

Personal Thoughts: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake was hands down one of my most anticipated reads of 2016.  I had listened to Kendare talking about her inspiration for the book in a podcast I listened to at the end of 2015 (which attracted my interest because I loved Anna Dressed in Blood so much) and I was immediately like YES I NEED THIS.  She said that she came up with the premise for Three Dark Crowns when she heard about the way that bees choose their Queen- they give birth to potential Queen’s who fight to the death until the last one left standing takes over the hive as a ruler.  She thought about how that would be an interesting story, especially if applied to humans.  Yep, you probably want to read this book now too.

Plot Summary: Triplet sisters who were separated at the age of six must battle it out and be the last girl alive to take over the island of Fennbirn as Queen.  There’s Katharine- the poisoner, Mirabella- the elemental and Arsinoe- the naturalist.  The battle occurs once the girl turn sixteen and that’s pretty much all you need to know!

Critique: Three Dark Crowns is a much more politically driven novel than I had previously been expecting.  I ended up loving the story despite having heard some negative reviews early on which is why it took me so long to start reading it.  I did not want to be disappointed and thankfully, I wasn’t!  Blake spent a good portion of the novel setting up the world and the three sub-worlds for the reader.  I found the differences between the different areas of the island fascinating and I was immediately invested in Katharine, the poisoner’s, story.  I also enjoyed Mirabella who is the strongest of the triplets as well as the only girl to have had memories of her sisters and reservations about what they must do to take over the Queendom.  The only queen I wasn’t completely on board with was Arsinoe until the ending when everything got a whole lot more interesting.  I had heard complaints that there are too many characters to keep track of but I would have to respectfully disagree. I liked that each girl has her own very fleshed out world and it’s going to make the conclusion, One Dark Throne, that much harder to read because I’m partial to more than one of them!  The only element that seemed to be lacking for me was the romance which I was totally okay with because this female dominated society was more than enough to hold my interest.

Do I Recommend?: I do! The reviews are very polarizing on this one so you should read it for yourself to see where you fall.  If you struggle with slower burn fantasy, I might not suggest reading it but I’m betting there will be a ton of payoff in One Dark Throne.

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Kristin