Narrator: Amy Landon
Series: Three Dark Crowns #1
Published by Harper Collins on September 20, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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.
I loved the world of Three Dark Crowns. The island where this story takes place is so isolated that the outside world doesn’t really know much about them and they don’t know much about the outside world. The three sisters live in this brutal microcosm where they know that their gifts are their weapon and only one can rule. Three Dark Crowns takes its time setting up the lives that the sisters live. Each one has very different experiences, but Arsinoe and Katharine both struggle with the gifts that they are supposed to possess. I felt the slower pace at the beginning let me get to know the sisters and get into their world a little bit. Although they grew up together as children, they have been separated for many years and so there is a bitter-sweetness to the knowledge they all have about their futures. They are resigned to the idea that only one of them will live and while they didn’t seem to think it was particularly sad, it definitely shed a bit of darkness on the story, which I loved.
Of all of the ‘houses’, I found the Poisoners most intriguing. Everything they eat or come into contact with might kill a regular person, but they have a natural ability to survive poisons and have built tolerance to the rest. Katharine doesn’t seem like she fits in at this house and that uneasy feeling runs through the book for more than one of the characters. Each sister ha a bit of their own romance drama, too, which added a lot of interesting complications to the plot. It didn’t overwhelm the story, but I felt that it added to it and made the web of their lives more tangled. I think I got to know Arsinoe the best of the three and I am hoping that we get more time with Mirabella and Katharine in the next book. There is a excellent little twist at the end that will make you want book two immediately because it threw such a wrench into the whole thing. I have so many theories about where this story is going to go, but I know whatever I come up with won’t be anything compared to what Kendare Blake surely has in store for us.
The narrator did a good job providing the voicing for each sister. When you listen to the first book in a series, the hope is that the narrator is good enough to read the subsequent books, and in this case, that is true. If they keep the same narrator, I will definitely get book two on audio.