Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

3dcBack in 2016, I read the first chapter of Three Dark Crowns and fell in love. The excerpt promised a story of three sisters, each with a claim to the throne of Fennbirn island. On their sixteenth birthday, the sisters would begin a battle to the death, only ended when one queen, the true queen, remained.

I was expecting action, intrigue, maybe a little romance. I wanted Game of Thrones. What I got was Anna and the French Kiss.

“I want revenge.” She whispers, and her fingers trail bloody streaks down Natalia’s arms. “And then I want my crown.”

Three Dark Crowns is not a prequel. It is the first book in a duology-turned-quartet. But, for eighty percent of the book, the only thing that happened was uninteresting romances and an introductions into the world of Fennbirn. Nowhere in the book do the sisters try to kill each other. In fact, they don’t even meet until the last quarter of the book!

More than anything, I feel cheated. The first and last chapters of Three Dark Crowns are incredible. There’s deception, bloodshed, and political intrigue. In these chapters, the novel lives up to its premise.

But, the middle 200 pages feel like they are setting the characters up for the next novel. All that happens are four lackluster romances, multiple bear attacks, and poorly-executed plans by secondary characters who are more interesting than the three queens combined.

Of the three sisters, the only one I found compelling was Katharine, the youngest. While she is not all that interesting on her own, her other sisters are excruciatingly dull. They fall into the Chosen One But Doesn’t Want To Be The Chosen One trope that numerous other heroines before them have used. I wanted action and Katharine seemed to be the only one who could actually accomplish that wish.

Yet, despite the drivel, I plan to read the next novel in the quartet, One Dark Throne. The first and last chapters of Three Dark Crowns are so incredible that I just have to keep reading. Hopefully, with all the world-building out of the way, Blake will get to the good stuff in her next novel.

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