[Book Review] Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

I received Three Dark Crowns from my very first OwlCrate. Here’s a video of my unboxing, which was actually super fun. It was so exciting to open my presents! Three Dark Crowns came out September 20, 2016 from Harper Teen. It’s a YA fantasy fiction novel.

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The novel centers on three triplet sisters, Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katharine, who have an affinity for different schools of magic. They were separated at a young age to groom their magic among other magic wielders. They also prepare to kill their two sisters at the age of 16 in order to ascend the throne and rule their homeland. For as long as anyone can remember, this is the cycle of how their ruler is chosen.

Katharine is being fostered in the house of the current ruling school of magic, the Poisoners. She does not yet have her magic, so she learns to make delicate poisons and build immunity to poison through frequent use. Like Katharine, Arsinoe struggles to learn the school of magic from her fosters, the Naturalists, and does not yet have her gifts. Instead, she dabbles in a dangerous low magic to force some measure of success. In contrast, Mirabella is known far and wide as the strongest Elementalist in generations. But, she too struggles. Mirabella has nightmares of her childhood and memories of her young sisters, whom she cannot bring herself to murder whether it wins her a crown or not.

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Meanwhile, the fosters and schools of magic conspire against each other. The Church has chosen a side, as has the Poisoner-installed Grand Council. Behind the scenes, each school has set events in motion that could bring jubilation for their own queens and ruin the others.

First and foremost, Blake pulled me in and made me care about these girls immediately. By page 27, I was fascinated with her world and the girls’ place in it. While certain tropes are present and identifiable, the magical schools that Blake chose and the interweaving politics of her world are riveting and complex. As the book builds towards it’s climax, Blake turns the entire world on it’s head. The ending left me breathless, waiting very impatiently for the next installment of this book.

You can find Three Dark Crowns in print and e-book.

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