Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Release Date: 22nd September 2016
Buy The Book: Book Depository
Three sisters. One crown. A fight to the death.
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.
Three Dark Crowns is set in a world in which triplets are separated at the age of six and trained to be queens until they are sixteen. After that, the sisters then have a certain amount of time to try and, well, kill the others. The last remaining sister gets the crown and is allowed to rule until the next set of triplet queens are born. Each queen has one of three abilities that are common across the island; elemental, poisoner, and naturalist. Whichever sister wins the crown strengthens those with that specific ability during her rule. Since the poisoner queen has won the crown for several generations, poisoners throughout the island are stronger than ever.
The poisoner queen fighting for the crown this time is Katherine, but she is nowhere near as strong as those who have ruled before her, and the family training her are trying their best to hide it. The elemental queen is Mirabella, widely known by everyone as the strongest of the three sisters and the most likely to win. She is the strongest elemental in a long time, and their best chance of regaining the crown. The third and final queen is the naturalist, Arsinoe. So far she has not shown any of her ability and her sisters are aware that she is the weakest. Arsinoe's best friend Jules, however, is an exceptionally strong naturalist and is doing her best to help her friend find her ability.
Before I get into the plot of this story, let's talk about the three sisters in the heart of it and the people surrounding them. The first thing that made this book stand out to me was how focused it is on strong women. I found it refreshing that women were the ones holding power over the island. There are male characters in the story, but the intriguing ladies are definitely the main event. The sisters were all interesting in their own way. I liked Mirabella's attitude and her feelings over the situations she was being forced into as a queen. Although, there was a scene halfway through the book that made me question my opinion on her a little, along with another character who I haven't quite forgiven enough yet. Katherine was the queen I had the most sympathy for because as a poisoner, she faced a lot of pressure to do well, and was put through a lot of harsh training. My fave of the sisters, though, was Arsinoe. She was seen as the weakest when it came to abilities but she was strong in other ways. I adored the fierce friendship between her and Jules. Despite not being one of the three sisters, Jules was also a favourite character of mine. Although I enjoyed following all of the sisters, it was Arsinoe and Jules' journey that I was hooked on the most.
The plot was well paced and I enjoyed the time that was spent getting to know the characters. There are so many complex characters throughout this book, some of whom I feel we've only just scratched the surface of. The last quarter of the story was exciting and tense and I could not put it down for those final few chapters! There was also fantastic world-building that told enough to understand what was happening but definitely left the story open enough for questions. Oh boy, do I have a lot of questions about this island and what the bigger picture is. Also, the ending was incredible. Plot twists were thrown around all over the place before the big one right at the very end. I honestly just stared at the page open mouthed thinking I NEED THE NEXT BOOK IMMEDIATLEY. There are so many things I'm looking forward to in the next book after that ending, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for these characters. The world within Three Dark Crowns is utterly fascinating and it's one I'm eager to return to.
Over here in the UK, there are three gorgeous covers to collect, one for each queen! My personal favourite is the poisoner cover because snakes are my thing. Which one is your fave??