Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake


Three dark queens

are born in a glen,

sweet little triplets

will never be friends

Three dark sisters

all fair to be seen,

two to devour

and one to be Queen

Look at that. Look at it. Read it. Let it take your imagination away. That is what is printed on the back cover of this book. And just look at that front cover. Doesn’t it draw your eye? Pull you in? Don’t you feel the yearning to read it? The art and the poem tempt you to pick this book up, give it a try. They make you feel like they will not let you down.

Oh, my friends, but they do. They do.

I have never been left infuriated by a book. I’ve been disappointed. I’ve been disgusted. I’ve been left feeling dirty. I’ve been left with my soul empty, carried away by musty pages. But never, in all my life, have I been infuriated. I promise you honest reviews and, oh, you shall have one.

We have three sisters, triplets, who were separated at a young age to be raised by different factions all on the same large island. This island is a kingdom unto itself and nearly entirely cut off from the outside world. Each sister has a gift.

Arsinoe was brought up in a village where most people have an animal companion, a familiar. The people of that village are fiercely independent and are people of the land. They can encourage plants and crops to grow, coax fish from the sea, and are skilled at the hunt.

Katharine was taken in by the current ruling faction, the poisoners. They are skilled at mixing poisons and being immune to them. The poisoners see any food that does not contain poison detestable and insulting. They are used to being in charge and will do anything to continue that way.

Mirabella was raised by the elementals. They have control of, you may have guessed, the elements. Fire, water, wind, and earth. Mirabella can call down a storm, walk through fire, cause an earthquake, and most anything else involving the elements. She is considered the strongest of the sisters and her faction also controls the heart of religion on the island by means of the priestesses.

These three sisters were separated to be raised by the factions only to be brought back together during their sixteenth year to, in a nut shell, fight to the death. Two of the sisters must die by the other’s hand. The one left alive will rule. They have their entire sixteenth year to accomplish this.

Doesn’t that sound like a great premise of a book?

The poisoners have had control for the last three queens and of course they want Katharine to conquer over her sisters so they may continue their rule. The problem is that Katharine is not a very good poisoner. She can mix and brew with the best of them but actually ingesting the poisons still makes her violently ill. She is weak. Arsinoe is a strong willed, brave young woman but she has no familiar and has not learned control over animals and growing. She is also perceived as weak. By contrast, Mirabella is a goddess. She can walk through flames without feeling the heat. She can bring on a storm that can sink ships in the harbors. She can shake the ground and bring buildings crumbling down. Most assume that she will be a shoo in for murdering her sisters and inheriting the crown.

And that right there folks is pretty much all you get the entire book. There is all of this build up and explanations and ceremonies leading up to the Beltane feast. It is the Beltane celebration that signals the beginning of the year when the sisters are to off each other. There is so much anticipation and focus on this that you expect there to be a bloodbath or something.

You know what? There isn’t. There isn’t anything. You wait the entire book for absolutely nothing to happen. Guess what? There is a second book. It hasn’t been published yet, but there is to be another book. So this one is just a 400 page buildup of absolutely nothing happening so that the second book will make sense. I just read 400 pages just to be coaxed into reading the second book. I don’t think so. It feels like a Walking Dead episode. Nothing happens nothing happens nothing happens…BOOM! Cliffhanger at the end to encourage you to watch the next one.

I got sucked into a story that ended up feeling like a preview for the actual action. Not only are there so many characters in the book (one of which is called by three different names just to make things confusing) that they are nearly impossible to keep straight. None of them mean anything to the story in the concept of this as a stand alone book. It’s like a commercial where you are supposed to be impressed by whatever the promoted item does but you never actually get to see it do anything. I am infuriated.

You know what? I’m sure the next book will be fantastic. That it will tie things together and make the build up interesting and hopefully kill off some of the multitude of characters. But guess what? I won’t be reading it. This commercial didn’t sell me on the product, it just ticked me off.

10 thoughts on “Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

  1. I. I somehow still want to read it based on your review. I believe something is wrong with me 🙂 I will, however, wait until book two is out.


  2. Oh no that’s the worst! I like the trend for series because when I fall in love with characters I want to hang with them for at LEAST ten books, but each book – especially the first one! – has to stand on its own too. How rubbish!


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