Sunday, September 4, 2016

Three Dark Crowns

Each generation, three sisters are born to the reigning queen. They live together for 6 years and then are separated to be raised by their faction based on their power. Arsinoe is a naturalist with no discernible power and Katherine is a poisoner with no resistance to any poison. Mirabella is a powerful elementalist with fire as her favorite element to control. All three of them will have to fight for the crown and kill their two sisters to do it. Which queen will reign victorious?

The first bit of the book was difficult for me because there were so very many characters and places all at once. The three queens live on three different islands with their own set of guardians, friends, and enemies. It was a bit overwhelming at first and I kept having to refer back to remember who some were. After the initial confusion of being thrown into the world, I began to invest in each of the potential queen's stories. Although the competition aspect has been done before, I really enjoyed the magic system. Poisoners are immune to poison and have the ability to heal. Naturalists hold power over plants and animals. Elementalists wield the elements. The war power can be used to attack or protect. Each of the factions (poisoner, elementalist, naturalists, and the very rare war power) wants to rule in their own way and resents the others with fervor. All scheme to get their queen into power by any means necessary.

My favorite of the sisters is Mirabella. She is the most compassionate and actually remembers the time she spent with her sisters. Her instinct is to protect them rather than kill them as she is expected to. Her power is unparalleled and assumed to be the next ruler. Arsinoe is a naturalist with no power over nature. As a child, she tried to escape the island and failed, causing grave punishments to all but her. She is my least favorite because her selfishness led to so much heartbreak and ruined lives not only as a child but as an adult. Her selfless friend Jules is a much better character that is deserving of so much more. Katherine doesn't have any poisoner abilities as she should, but she dutifully consumes poison and endures much abuse to try to kickstart her gift. I felt the most sorry for her because the people around her didn't even have her best interests at heart even though he success would greatly benefit them. All three are bound by circumstance and try to cope with it in their own way. All of them hate the arrangement, but can see no way out of it.

Three Dark Queens is a unique fantasy novel with a dark premise, but moments of light, friendship, romance, and hope. The world and magic system is the biggest strength of the novel. The ending was the weakest. The events are actually exciting, but it feels so abrupt. It ends in the middle of a scene and doesn't really resolve much. I love the story and I'm invested in the characters, but the ending was a let down. I will be eagerly awaiting the next book.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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