Friday, October 21, 2016

#Friday Review - Three Dark Queens by Kendare Blake #YALit #Fantasy @KendareBlake @harperteen

Series: Three Dark Queens # 1
Format: Hardcover, 398 pages
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

When kingdom come, there will be one.

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 the first installment in author Kendare Blake's Three Dark Crowns series. On the island of Fennbirn, triplets, were born. Katharine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella. One is fated to become Queen, while the others are fated to die by one of the others. When the girls were six, they were taken and placed with host families. Katherine with Poisoners, Arsinoe with Naturalists, and Mirabella with Elementals. The story features a revolving storyline told in the third person narrative. 

Three dark queens
are born in a glen,
sweet little triplets
will never be friends.

Three dark sisters
all fair to be seen,
two to devour
and one to be Queen.

Katharine is the smallest, and the youngest of the triplets. She is also apparently the weakest of the three sisters. But, don't let that fool you. She has been preparing for Ten years to become the next poisoner Queen and can mix a mean brew of poison. Katharine has felt the affects of every imaginable poison thanks to her host family and survived even though it has taken a huge toll on her. One could say that because of those who have trained her, Katharine is the one who isn't afraid of killing in order to become the next Queen. 

Arsinoe is the second Queen introduced. She is supposed to be a Naturalist, who can make flowers bloom, and have a familiar like her best friend Jules. But, her talents seem to be holding back, leaving her exposed to being easily killed by her other sisters. Which is why it is easy to forgive her for wanting to escape to the mainland where she can be free. If you are looking at a character to really pay attention to outside the sisters, then I suggest Jules. Jules is really an interesting character, with a familiar who easily as badass as Jules is.

Mirabella is the elemental Queen who might be the strongest of the three sisters. Mirabella has access to fire, and wind, but fire may be her weakest link. She has been guided by priestesses of the Temple Rolanth. The priestesses, may have something up their sleeves to ensure that the poisoners reign as Queen, comes to an end. One could say that since Mira is the strongest, that she would have the edge. But, Mira is the one who has the most memories of the sisters and may not be able to kill them when it counts the most.

One of the more curious aspects of this story, is the aspects of romance that encompasses all three sisters. For Katharine, it is Pietyr, nephew of the woman raising her, and her personal attendant. For Mirabella, it is Joseph, a boy who was sent away for 5 years after trying to escape. I am not hopeful of this relationship, and no, I will not say why. For Arsinoe, it is Billy, one of her intended who comes to see her as a person, not as the next queen, and the one who understand who vulnerable she is to her sisters without her own gift.

I found myself actually feeling for each of the sisters. They've been through so much. They each are pushed, and pushed some more in order to overcome the obstacle of staying alive and becoming the last Queen standing. By the end, you have three sisters who are dangerous, and are looking forward to eliminating the other two. I would have liked a bit more world building, especially after the author mentions Cape Horn. Cape Horn is off the coast of Chile. So, does that make the mainland Chile? (Author response: Cape Horn was just an accidental cape of the same name! The Island isn't geographically off the coast of Chile. Not that you could travel thru the MISTS to find the Island! Thanks, Kendare!

There are a whole lot of secondary characters who play huge roles in this story. I would love to know more about their backgrounds. I want to know more about the Black Council, and how members are chosen. I want to know who came up with the idea that only ONE could be queen, while the others are killed. 

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