REVIEW: Three Dark Crowns

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Book Review: Three Dark Crowns
 book cover Book title Three Dark Crowns
Series/standalone Three Dark Crowns #1
Author Kendare Blake
Pages 398
Year published 2016
Category | Genre High Fantasy
Rating 2.5 stars

Official Summary

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.


In A Nutshell

Three Dark Crowns came short of the promised complex siblings rivalry.


  • The cunning ploys and all the political intrigue. If there’s a thing I enjoyed the most about Three Dark Crowns is that all of the adults have their own agenda. Make no mistake, some of them are truly despicable – but still I got to admire the thoroughness Blake puts into each and every character to make me despise them. On the downside, the sisters were merely tools for these adults who want to reign the island.
  • The premise. Is it a good or a bad thing that a book has a really good premise, but doesn’t deliver? One might opt to classify this as a bad thing, but what I see is that there’s hope that this series will get better because with a premise that good, surely you have a way to go there. It’ll be quite a long and bumpy journey, but I still think that Three Dark Crowns (series) has the potential.

Things I Wish Were Different

  • Love trianglesss. For the record, I do not mind love triangles if it’s necessary and well-written. The love triangles – and actually all the romance – in Three Dark Crowns were just exhausting to read and in some cases, infuriating. I do not like any of the love interests, and the way the three sisters behave when it comes to romance. This book was supposed to be about the battle between the three sisters, and yet it was filled with scenes of them went all googly-eyes on the guys.
  • More diversity please. Surely, surely with three protagonists and the numbers of side characters in the book, the author could throw in some LGBTQIA+ reps but it was all cishet romance and there was an awful lot of them. As far as I can tell, there was also no POC and disability representation, and yes, I am disappointed in this regard too.
  • Unrealistic plot and plot holes everywhere. Just because it’s a fantasy, doesn’t mean you can wave your hand and make plot holes go away. Three Dark Crowns, sadly, is riddled with them.
  • Slow, slow pace. This book took forever to build up and I’m not even sure it eventually reaches a good pace. It’s like going all turtle pace up till the end then it suddenly “FIRE!” “EXPLOSION” “CHAOS EVERYWHERE”.

Final Score

2.5 stars
2.5 stars (out of 5 stars)


This book was one of my most anticipated reads last year so I really was disappointed when I found it didn’t deliver the promised conflict, nor did it deliver the complex siblings relationships. I think the biggest reason why I was very disappointed is that the synopsis promised me an epic battle and instead it gave me romance storylines I didn’t enjoy, uninspired secondary characters, and plot holes while going on a snail pace.