Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Spoiler-Free Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns is a book that was high on my reading list, and I’m really glad that I finally got around to reading it. I’m not sure what I expected before going into this book, but for the most part I really enjoyed this book.

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Spoiler-Free Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

TitleThree Dark Crowns

Author: Kendare Blake

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Published: September 20th, 2016 by HarperTeen

Goodreads description


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.

About: Kendare Blake

Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most of which you can find information about via the links above. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller.

She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their cat son Tyrion Cattister, red Doberman dog son Obi-Dog Kenobi, rottie mix dog daughter Agent Scully, and naked sphynx cat son Armpit McGee.

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My Review


I don’t want to hate on this book. Because it wasn’t a terrible book. But I have to say something.

There was no plot in this book. The blurb for the book? Untrue. It’s not just that the book doesn’t live up to the promise of the blurb – the blurb is straight up wrong about the book. It hypes the story up to something that it just absolutely isn’t. It’s actually false.

What happened in the pages of the book weren’t what I was expecting going into it. Now, I understand that authors don’t always have control over what gets written on the back covers or inside folds. It’s very possible that Kendare Blake would’ve written something else to promote this story! But I was surprised with how different the book ended up being.


Arguably the three main characters, sister-queens Katharine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella, are the most inactive and passive characters in the entire books. They do essentially nothing of their own regard throughout the book. The characters around them are doing things, but they are all puppets and pawns. They do not think or act independently.

Additionally, these characters all felt the exact same as I was reading them. Like, I get that they’re triplets, but their personalities seemed to be carbon copies as well. The only one who really seemed all that different was Katharine, but then it was only marginally.


The pacing felt slow, but not dramatically so. The chapters were often short, and flipping back and forth between characters’ perspectives keeps the pace feeling quick.

However, nothing really happened in the story. There was an incredible lack of action. The entire book was all planning, practicing, and honing. There were no big events in the story until the end of the book. The midpoint, which should’ve been a big moment in the book, was essentially a desperate sex scene. It was scandalous, but it didn’t merit being the midpoint, especially considering the intended plot of the story.


The story concept was so unique, and the world-building was very well done, I thought. But the story had so much potential and I think it fell short. But I will say that because I’m so interested in the potential the sequel has, I am going to keep reading it. The end of the book was where everything really picked up (and honestly that should have been the midpoint of the story, with the sequel book being the second half, probably). Even though I called the plot twist at the end, I was glad to be right and it makes me more excited for the second book.

I give Three Dark Crowns 3/5 stars.

Let’s talk about it

Have you read Three Dark Crowns? Did you enjoy the story? Will you read the sequel when it comes out? Which of the queens was your favorite? I think mine was Katharine. And did you see the plot twist at the end? If you say anything spoilery, please leave a little warning for other readers who haven’t yet read this book! Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

    1. Haha yeah I definitely felt that Katharine was the most interesting of the sisters, so I’m really curious to see how her story will progress in the next book!

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