Publisher's Note:  

 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, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. And don't miss the highly anticipated sequel, One Dark Throne!

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.

Be sure to catch the stunning sequel to this New York Timesbestseller, One Dark Throne.

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)

by Kendare Blake

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Overall Review:  

Who knew betrayal and brutality could be so beautiful? But that's what author Kendare Blake delivers in her YA novel Three Dark Crowns. Conceptually creative, this spellbinding female governing society was inspired by the behavior of bee--queen bees to be precise. No worries if your bee knowledge isn't judicious. All you need to know is that three royal sisters seek to be queen, but when kingdom come, there can only be one.

Set on the fictional island of Fennbirn in a period before technology, the narrative follows heirs to the throne, triplet sisters Kathrine, Mirabella, and Arisone. They are separated as children into the island’s divided factions to be trained to kill their sisters when they come of age. Each sister has supposedly been born with a magical gift that coincides with their faction. Poisoner- one who can ingest and concoct deadly toxins; Naturalist- one that can commune and control plants and animals; Elemental- one who has dominion over atmospheric nature.

Each chapter pursues the course of not only the perspective queen, but their guardians, friends, and foes within their appointed faction. This immense amount of supporting characters, as well as the varied places within the island that are mentioned, may be enough to turn off some readers, but with the use of the map provided and some steadfast reading the disorientation will subside, and the excitement will take hold.

They may be sisters, but the only thing Kathrine, Mirabella, and Arisone have in common is their resolve to stay alive. With the ever-changing character development, readers' loyalties will shift from one sister to the next.

This dark fantasy parallels other imaginative authors works, but only in the best way possible. The corrupt politics, sinister cruelty, with components of paganism, brings to mind Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes series, while the simmering romance coheres to The Glittering Court series by Richelle Mead.

Will your favorite queen reign supreme? Readers will have to wait and see as this series is set to be a quartet.

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

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  6 Religious exclamations; 3 mild obscenities; 1 religious profanity; 1 derogatory name.

Violence/Gore:  Character picks at another character's scab, causing it to bleed; speculation of violence; report of character killing their siblings; character describes their intent to kill; mentions of character being poisoned and sickened many times; several (10+) threats and implications of violence; character becomes seriously ill; child throws stones at teen causing minor injury; reports of past deaths by poison; extended scene (about 1 page) physical fight, minor injury; extended scene (about ½ page) character has violent dream; report of attempted murder; character is known to be violent; sacrificial killing (non-detailed); few jokes involving violence; few comical acts of violence; rumor of murder; extended scene (about ¼ page) discussion about possible violence; few times (about 5) character(s) is cut as part of ceremonial act, mentions of blood and injury; character has violent dream (2x); reports of past violence/violent acts (10+); reports of Guardian injuring their teen ward since childhood; extended scene (about 5 pages) teen must execute a child charged with murder; extended scene (about 3 pages) mentions of violent acts; character is bitten by animal, minor injury; violent imagery; extended scene (about ½ page) character falls overboard, threat of drowning; extended scene (about ½ page) impending violence; adult roughly grabs teen causing injury; violent warning; report of violent act of punishment with brief description of act and injury; character stabs another character's hand, mention of blood and injury; memory of seeing gory results of an animal after another animal attacked it; extended scene (about ½ page) character is attacked by large animal, gory injury; report of violence against child; report of character killing animals with poison; reports of injuries after hunting accidents; extended scene (about 1 page) character is sentenced to a brutal death, character fights off attackers causing injury; adult hits child; characters plan murderous attack; extended scene (about 1 page) large animal attacks causing deaths and injuries; character roughly grabs another character; mention of character killing animals with poison causing them to suffer; character pushes another character off cliff; few (about 5x) injuries and deaths are graphically described.


Sex/Nudity:  Characters discuss love and marriage; character kisses another character's hand, they dance closely; report of flirting; reference to male genitals; male flirts and tries to kiss female; sexual innuendo; few (about 10) sexual references; joke about French kissing; female eats food suggestively; sexual joke; extended scene (about 2 pages) teen characters flirt, kiss, and touch each other romantically; male reports being with many women; teens hold hands, kiss, hug touch (20+); extended scene (about 2 pages) discussion of female character courting; extended scene (about 1 page) mature discussion regarding sex; extended scene (about 1 page) teens lie on top of each other kissing and touching; mention of conceiving a child on a holy day; unwed mother; teen female lies naked with half clothed male in attempt to prevent hypothermia (non-sexual); extended scene (about ¼ page) moderate description of teens kissing and touching each other while naked, implication of sex; teens kiss and desire to have sexual intercourse; mention of nude paintings; teen male admits to having had sex; adult admits to having a long-time lover and bedding them frequently; declaration of love; extended scene (about ¼ page) teens flirt, kiss, and touch; extended scene (about ¼ page) teens lie on top of each other kissing; teens kiss, female touches shirtless male romantically; adult male is caught leaving adult female's bedroom, implication of sexual intercourse; extended scene (about 1 ½ page) teens kiss, touch, begin to undress each other with plans of sexual intercourse; teens lie on top of each other kissing; characters kiss, hug, and declare their love.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Murder/plot to kill, political intrigue, abuse, torture, human sacrifice(s), brutal punishment(s), magic, teenage sex.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Teens and adults drink alcohol throughout the novel, reports of being drunk and hungover; herbs, plants, and insects are used as poisons; use of a drug as a sleeping agent.

Reviewed By MaryLou
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