Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake: You May or May Not Faint from Shocking Twists

3 stars, BOOKS, REVIEWS / Saturday, January 27th, 2018

Three Dark Crowns Kendare Blake Aimee Always Review

Three Dark Crowns
by Kendare Blake

first book in the Three Dark Crowns series
published September 20th 2016 by HarperTeen
young adult | fantasy

My rating:


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.


Kendare Blake's my go-to author for vivid descriptions, intimidating plotlines, and shocking surprises. She delivered all three of those in Three Dark Crowns, but the pacing and romance were so off that I couldn't fall in love with the book in the way I wanted to.


1. The writing was so easy to get into.

Kendare Blake has a way of writing novels in a way that feels dark, but is still very casual and easy to read. She has these gorgeous descriptions that aren't boring to read at all–they made the story so much richer, and more exciting to imagine.

reading matilda three dark crowns reaction smirk gif

2. There was a complex world with some interesting politics and backstories! Plus twists!

I mean, c'mon guys, you've read the synopsis, right? How kick-ass can that backstory get? We have three queens who are destined to kill each other, so there was bound to be some intense world-building to explain everything–and for me, Blake definitely succeeded in this aspect. She also manages to insert about three million crazy twists at the end of the book.

3. Each of the three queens had different stories and difficulties.

Coming up with THREE different main characters in a book is tough, but Three Dark Crowns managed to give each queen their own story, their own personalities, and their own beliefs. Of course, I have a favorite and a least favorite, but I appreciated the characterization nonetheless.


1. The story could have been so much more evil and exciting.

Like I said earlier: HAVE YOU READ THAT SYNOPSIS? There's a promise of so much evil and darkness in the plot, and while the atmosphere felt that way, the actual story lacked the evilness that could have been. We were thrust too much into getting to know the queens that there wasn't enough time to add a dark bang here and there. I think the twists at the end made up for it, though.

2. The pacing was so weird.

Well, weird may be too strong of a word. More of inconsistentMost of the time, things went on at an incredibly slow pace. In the end of the book, suddenly, *whoosh* things are going faster.


I DO NOT GET IT AND I NEVER WILL. Too. Many. Confusing. Romance. Subplots. 

confused math problems solutions three dark crowns gif



If you're okay with reading a slower fantasy book, and if you love a good backstory and some crazy twists, I say go for it!

Have you read this book yet? If not, do you want to?! Let me know in the comments!

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47 Replies to “Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake: You May or May Not Faint from Shocking Twists”

  1. I've been really wanting to read this book for the promise of political intrigue, power struggle, and dark stories however, I've seen reviews saying the pacing is off and the presence of unecessary romance. I hate it when authors force the book to have a romance and ruin it in the process :/ Are you going to read the second book? Because if you do, I hope it will be better than this one. Great review Aimee!
    Tasya @ The Literary Huntress recently posted…S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett // Huntin’, Shootin’, Fishin’My Profile

  2. Lovely review, Aimee 🙂 I have heard some mixed things about Three Dark Crowns so far and haven't read it. I'm sorry that the romance subplots were a bit confusing, I hate when that happens and when… things don't flow and I just have to think too much about it to understand every relationship that is going on, somehow :/ I'll have to think about it before adding it to my TBR, but your review was very helpful, thank you! 🙂
    Marie recently posted…Bullet Point-Review: The Hazel Wood, Melissa AlbertMy Profile

  3. I don't know if I could deal with a slower fantasy book…. I haven't been reading much fantasy lately for some reason so if I do decide to read one it has to be AHMAZING! It's a shame this one didn't really work out for you… I have heard some mixed things about it, but it's good to hear you did enjoy some parts of it! Also I think I've already said this to you but I love your review style and the way you format everything too!
    Lara @ Words With Lara recently posted…Why I Love Blogging (and you should too)My Profile

    1. Oh, I totally get you! I think I'm feeling the same way about contemporary right now, since the last ones I read were… difficult reads. Thanks so much, Lara! ^_^ <3

  4. I was one of the black sheep that really did not enjoy this book. I wanted to launch it so many times and I'm trying my best to forget I ever read it. 😂 The pub sent an ARC of book two to me last year and I was like NOPE, bot happening. If you continue with the series, I hope it gets better for you!

    Have a lovely weekend, Aimee. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!
    Alyssa Susanna (The Eater of Books!) recently posted…Review: Sightwitch by Susan DennardMy Profile

  5. HAHA I LOVE THAT GIF FOR THE ROMANCE. Honestlyyyy I'm not here for confusing romantic plotlines – god knows our own lives are already so entangled!

    I like the whole premise of this book but a lot of people weren't a fan of the pacing, which is what always gets to me. I adore fast-paced fantasies, so this will be forever on the bottom of my TBR, lool.

  6. Oh I love this series! I agree about the writing and the worldbuilding- she makes it so easy to read even though there's a zillion characters and things going on. I do think it's a tad slower than it could have been (it definitely feels like it's being spaced out for a trilogy or 4 books or whatever it is) and it could have been even darker, yes. But overall I like the premise and can't wait to see what happens with these three!

    Great review!
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  7. So glad for your honesty! I've had this series on my to-read list for a while but I'm still not sure about it. If the romance is off-kilter, it might be really problematic for me. Great reviwe!

  8. Okay, I’m still trying to catch my breath over the “things that make me poop rainbows” line. =D I’ve seen so many raves about this book (and series) but since fantasy isn’t really my go-to genre I’ve never picked it up. Your mention of the slow pace makes me wary. I mean, I find fantasy a little tricky sometimes anyway but add in a slow pace and I think that might be a deal breaker. Do you plan on continuing the series, Aimee?
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted…The Sunday Post #92My Profile

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