Three Dark Crowns
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
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.
If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.
Okay ladies and gentlemen, this was an interesting read for multiple reasons. This book is very, very hyped and a lot of the time, I'm reluctant to read overhyped books, I had this conversation with Becca the other day actually! As I went in to this, I was intrigued, it sounded promising, three Queens and only one can live and rule....one being super powerful the other two having to fake it...and it was presented to me as a kind of Hunger Games type thing! I liked the book. I did. But there where some things that bugged me a little bit. But first....the good!
The first three parts of the book introduce us to the Queens, and I really, really liked how it was done. It intrigued me and presented a certain image of each of the Queens, that gradually changed as you read the book and they grew and changed. I really enjoyed getting all three Queens POV's as it helped you to understand what each of them was feeling and thinking, what their motivations where, and it was really, really interesting to see how each of the Queens viewed each other. I liked how each Queen was different depending on their upbringing, it really reflected in them and I'm interested to see where their characters go in the next book.
I haven't really picked a team per se. I'm kind of Team Anyone But Mirabella, for reasons I will explain soon! I really, really felt for Katharine. So badly. Don't get me wrong, all three of them are in a rough situation, but I feel like Katharine's was the worst from what we see. Sure she has people who care about her, but she's also left on the floor suffering and no-one makes a move to help her, and there's a bully of sorts too. Plus the power she has to fake has some really unpleasant consequences. I'm so intrigued by her and what she's going to do next, and what she's going to do, and what she's going to become in the next book after her last line in the book. I actually cackled when I read it! I'm also not going to lie, I kinda shipped her with Pietyr, sure it was a little bit suspect at places, but it was the least annoying of the romances in the book, although I don't think it's going to end well after the end of the book. I'm assuming he wasn't being all evil but we'll see!
Arsinoe....she was tricky for me. I wasn't sure I liked her at first, but the more I got to know her the more I liked her. She didn't let anything keep her down for long, after the bear incident she didn't react at all how I was expecting and it really made me respect her even more. She was so loyal to Jules, her best friend, and I loved the friendship between the two of them, although in the beginning it did kind of seem like Jules was overshadowing Arsinoe a bit. She wasn't a main character, she was more a secondary character, but her large presence makes me wonder if she's going to be a bigger character in the next book...for reasons. ANYWAY. Arsinoe is with kinder people than the other two, I think, and much like with Katharine, I'm interested to see what's going to happen to her in book two based on the ending of the book!
Mirabella. Personally, I kinda think she has it the best, she has her power. Sure the priestesses have her guarded and everything, but she isn't treated quite how the other two are, and like I said, she's all powerful and everything. Perhaps too powerful in ratio to the other girls, although there is a reason! I guess I just root for the underdog, or in this case underdogs. I really didn't warm to her. I wasn't too sure about her in the beginning, she was bigged up as being the most powerful and how she was totally going to win and become Queen and she seemed kind of haughty and everything. I thought I might grow to like her but then something happened that just made me irritated. The Joseph thing. I actually had to poll Twitter to check it just wasn't me that was bugged by it and put off of both characters. Like I was thinking it might have been me having a problem with it for personal reasons but apparently not!
Now I need to talk about the Joseph thing and there will be SPOILERS for this paragraph. When we first met him, I really liked him. I really liked Jules even though I thought it was strange that we got such a lot of her when she wasn't one of the Queens. I shipped Jules and Joseph really badly. But then the thing happened. The thing that made me latch on to Katharine and Petyr because I needed some form of romance to get over the horrible situation with Joseph. I'm not sure if I was supposed to start shipping Joseph and Mirabella or what, but I know it's going to bug me to another level if in the next book there's some huge thing between them. I really didn't like the scene with Mirabella and Joseph. I know why it happened and if you read the book I'm sure you'll know what I'm talking about, it's technically Arsinoe's fault, you could say. But at the same time, it felt like it was randomly popped in there. I wasn't expecting it at all. It bugged me. Sure he was delirious in the beginning but then he wasn't, and he really wasn't the second time. He comes back and he begs forgiveness from Jules and so on. But then it happens again. Then there's the tent scene and my heart broke for Jules. And then there's the end. Yet again Joseph and Mirabella like to irritating magnets go towards each other. Joseph really started to piss me off at this point, and his character will forever be marred now. I don't think he can be redeemed. After the events of the Disembarking he gets all pissy at Jules. I was not having that. She lost control and she had every right to be so hurt and heartbroken that she couldn't control things properly. Yet he's all accusing. HOT DAMN I wanted to punch him in the face. I was totally done with him at that point and then at the end he's all "I'll never leave her again" and I was like sure dude. Until Mirabella shows up again and then off you'll trot and repeat your past behaviour. Like go away you stupid sod. I know it's going to happen in the next book and keep happening, and they'll probably end up together and ugh. I can't be dealing with it. It pissed me off so damn much! I just want Jules to be happy you guys!
SPOILERS CONTINUE because that wasn't the end of the cheating. I don't know what it was about it. Like usually I'd be like "oooh drama" and I'd be raving about how it livened up the book, but the author got me so damn attached to Jules that I couldn't be anything but irritated at Joseph's behaviour. I was even more angry at Madrigal though. All I'm going to say is that her sister raised Jules when she couldn't be bothered to do it herself. She took Jules punishment so Jules could carry on living her life. And then Madrigal goes and does what she does. HELL NO SISTER. I'm 99% sure she's used some freaky magic. And I'm really hoping I'm right otherwise I'm going to lose all faith in romance in this book. ALL FAITH.
So. Anyway. I loved Katharine, Arsinoe and Jules. I loved the friendship between Jules and Arsinoe as previously stated. I got on board with Katharine's romance because I needed something to counteract the bad romance. The other things I enjoyed about the book? The supporting characters, other than Jules we had Billy. I loved him for everything he tried to do for Arsinoe, his friend, and I'm kind of hoping that might develop in to a romance....I need someone to get a happy romance okay. I liked Natalia, she wasn't all soft and fluffy with Katharine but she did care for her. I loved Jules family and how they looked after Arsinoe. The author really created characters and brought them to life, and you could see how the characters that raised the girls influenced who they became. There where plenty of secondary characters you love to hate, Genevieve for one. And Madrigal. Idiotic Joseph....and so on. The Priestesses too! *growls*
I need to also mention the world of the book, I was really intrigued by it and it's existence with the mainland. I thought the author created the world very vividly and the world sucked me in and I was so curious to know more about it and it's history. I also enjoyed the whole government/religion struggle going on. I didn't really like the Priestesses so wrong or right, I was kinda rooting for the Council, sorry guys!
Now what I didn't like, aside from the abundance of cheating, randomly shoved in or otherwise....I felt like the book was kind of slow. I kept reading because I was intrigued to see what would happen and the book got really good towards the end. But like I said previously, I was expecting an action packed Hunger Gamesy book with battles or whatever going on, and I didn't get that BUT this book has set the next book up for that. It introduced us to the Queens, it showed us their motivations, and it kicked things off ready for the forthcoming battle. I think there where some things that could have been cut out to streamline it down, but while it was slow, I get that this book was an introduction and I was probably influenced slightly by the preconceptions I had about it. I enjoyed the authors writing and she drops a massive bombshell at the end that changes everything. Like as soon as I saw a certain sentence I had to sit and mull it over for like 5 minutes after it hit me. Then I read the last few sentences and it was confirmed and I again, had to sit and mull over the implications. It genuinely changes everything and I'm really excited to see what's going to happen in the next book after this revelation!