Book Reviews

{Review} THREE DARK CROWNS, by Kendare Blake

Published by Harper Teen Genres: Dark Fantasy, Dark Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Occult & Supernatural, Paranormal, Psychological Horror, Supernatural, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover

New York Times Bestseller * New York Public Library Best Book of 2016 Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2016 Kirkus Best Book of the Year

Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood will devour Three Dark Crowns, the first book in a dark and inventive fantasy series about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. 

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.

5 Stars.

Buy on Amazon: eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Horror After Dark Review

THREE DARK CROWNS is the first book in this series by author Kendare Blake. The premise is one that immediately captivated me: Three triplets, each a “queen” born with the power to control a different element, would be raised separately from the ages of 6-16.

Then, one of them shows a stronger wielding of their powers, and must kill the other two in order to gain the throne.

“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.”

As in any first book in a series, much of this is set up for everything to come. Yet each detail, from watching the sisters–Mirabella, Katharine, and Arsinoe–grow and try to “learn” their powers, to the emotional turmoil and growth they endure, is an adventure. The politics, greed, and “back-room” deals of the warring segments of the land all add to the impending danger of the inevitable show-down.

The Poisoners, Elementals, and Naturalists all want the Queen representing them to succeed, and some won’t be content to leave that to . . . chance.

“. . . she is so very skilled at poisoning.” 

Blake does a fantastic job of building up this world of magic and old traditions. It was easy to move through each of the young queen’s lives, feeling both outraged and joyful along with them as the occasion warranted. I never felt “lost” in this novel, or any sense of confusion when switching between their viewpoints. Each section and grouping felt unique and strong in their ways. The characters were easy to keep track of, and I very quickly grew attached to some–especially the sisters.

“We are all dual natured . . . Every gift is light and dark . . . “ 

The world building is spectacular. Considering this is only the first book in a series, I expect to learn more of the layout in future books. However, so many details were provided in this one that I could easily visualize the different towns in which the sisters get up in. The way each section lives and works says much about the “value” of the Queen whose powers go with these regions. The Poisoners, for example, being the most prosperous because of a succession of “Poisoner Queens”.

“Saying so does not make it true.” 

Overall, I am extremely impressed with my first novel by Kendare Blake. There was not a single section that I felt “dull”, or that didn’t further the plot along somehow. There were several developments that I never expected, and this–perhaps more than anything–impressed me the most. The friendships, relationships to the “teachers” that housed them, and treatment by others around them differed depending upon the Queen and her powers. In the back of my mind, knowing that tradition pits these three girls against each other so that only one may reign . . . THAT permeated every page I read, drilling into me every last word for even a hint of what was to come. I will eagerly be reading Book Two, ONE DARK THRONE, very soon.

“I want revenge . . . And then I want my crown.” 

Highly recommended.

About The Author

About Kendare Blake

Kendare Blake grew up in the small city of Cambridge, Minnesota. She is a graduate of Ithaca College, in Ithaca, New York and received a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Middlesex University in London, England. She loves to travel, is an advocate for animals, and cheats a lot when she plays Final Fantasy. Adopted from South Korea at the age of seven months, she arrived with the following instruction: “Feed her chocolate.” Though not medically advisable, she and her parents are eternally grateful for this advice.

Kendare is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of several novels including ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, ANTIGODDESS and THREE DARK CROWNS. 

Coming in Fall 2021: ALL THESE BODIES.


I am an avid reader/reviewer and collector of books--primarily horror, supernatural, and supernatural-themed thrillers.

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