Three Dark Crowns is one of those books that just seems to have been floating on my radar since before its release. Although I’ve never read any of Blake’s other books, Anna Dressed in Blood is also something I have vague intentions of reading, but the high fantasy setting of Three Dark Crowns pushed it higher up my list.
I love stories about three sisters, being one of three sisters myself (although not a triplet, and not inclined to kill my sisters), so this plus magic powers over the elements or nature or poison, I was totally on board with this book.
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.
My main problem with this book, I have to be honest, is that while the blurb sets it up to be part of a deadly battle between three equally powerful triplets, it’s actually an entire book of setup. All three girls are prancing about their respective cities with their respective love interests, preparing for their sixteenth birthday and being, well, pretty boring for the majority of the book. Not a whole lot happens in the first hundred or two hundred pages, other than establishing who each girl is, and what her powers are (or are supposed to be, since two of them are a bit, uh… pathetic).
Since Katharine was introduced first, I feel like we were supposed to have the most sympathy for her, but actually Mirabella was by far the most interesting of the three. Having said that, though, she wasn’t actually all that interesting, and I spent much of this book wondering when the action was going to start.
There were a few moments of tension in Three Dark Crowns, together with the almost inevitable YA love triangle, and enough twists and turns to keep me reading, but I certainly wasn’t enthralled by it, nor was I itching to get back to the kindle to find out what happened next.
Okay, but the best this about this book? Definitely the covers. There are three different covers available in the UK, one for each triplet. Can I stop myself buying all three? Yes, for now. But I’m not saying that I’ll hold myself back forever. These are also superb looking. How atmospheric! How poisonous! How gorgeous! These are incredibly beautiful books.
Although I wasn’t gripped by the story enough to be slavering for the sequel (One Dark Throne), I will probably pick it up eventually, and will probably enjoy it as well. I just think this felt like a pretty forgettable fantasy book, and doubt it will linger long in my mind.