Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Olivia Tierney
Reviewed by Olivia Tierney
Summary: Fantastic fantasy with three sisters completing for the coveted crown of the Queendom. The book's unique story, brilliant characters and wonderful writing all make it a must-read.
Buy? 'Yes' Borrow? 'Yes'
Pages: 401 Date: September 2016
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1509804559

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Three dark sisters, all fair to be seen,
Two to devour,
One to be Queen

Three Dark Crowns is a high class fantasy novel following a set of triplets: Katharine, Arsinoe and Mirabella, who are each gifted with specific magic and are equal heirs to the crown. Katharine is a poisoner with the ability to ingest the deadliest poisons, a girl who cannot die. Meanwhile, Arsinoe is a naturalist, who has the power to bloom flowers and control the fiercest animals. Finally, Mirabella is an elemental, one gifted with the ability to create fire and incredible storms powerful enough to topple buildings. On the island of Fennbirn, as is tradition, the queens are separated at the age of nine and fostered by families who share their magic. From that point onwards, they are each trained to use their magic as a weapon in the fight to the death against the other sisters. On the night of the sisters'sixteenth birthday, they will each begin their quest to secure the throne and become the rightful Queen. While the crown awaits the victor, death awaits the two weaker queens.

I really enjoyed this book: I've been looking forward to its release for a while now and it really didn't disappoint. Kendare Blake has constructed a unique and captivating storyline, with a fantastic concept and great characters. The magic on the island was different and intriguing leaving the reader desperate to know more, while the underlying politics of the ascension also added further depth to the story. In addition, the ascension traditions of the island were imaginative and usual; for example: there is the Disembarking in which the suitors are presented to the queens, the Quickening in which the three sisters showcase their abilities and then the Ascension Year in which the three sisters are able to attack one another to claim the crown.

Another thing I loved was the author's writing style. Kendare Blake's use of short, to the point sentences was refreshing and the phrasing of those sentences was expertly done to add drama to the story and keep the reader guessing. The blunt writing was sharp, rather than flowery and excessive, thus as a result it added to the dark feel of the novel and left me very interested to know more. The alternating narration between the three sisters was also very effective in giving the reader insight into the three sisters' struggles and relationships with those around them. It was great to see how the Ascension process had affected all three sisters and their changing opinions towards the other two queens. Moreover, Blake has done a fantastic job in creating characters whom the reader can connect with. The three sisters were very easy to empathise with and I was quickly emotionally invested in their futures as well as those of their close friends.

My only grievance with the novel was that I wanted to learn more about the island and delve deeper into its history. However, I'm hopefully that there will be more world building in future books in the series as well as action and character development.

Three Dark Crowns is a superb start to what promises to be a new exciting young adult fantasy book series.

Many thanks to the publisher for providing The Bookbag with a copy to review.

In terms of further reading, Fire by Kristin Cashore is another great fantasy book with strong female protagonists and is definitely worth a read.

Buy Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake at Amazon.com.

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