In this case, I cannot decide which of the covers I like more. Each of them looks in its own way stunning and is a real pleasure to the eye. Both show that the novel is about something dark, haunting, and promises a book that could catch you easily for hours without getting bored. And yes, I read this book with growing pleasure, and though this was my very first Kendare Blake book and I am not reading that often a high fantasy novel, this one really took me in. Good, I have to admit that the word dark became a new meaning to me. I wouldn´t say that this novel is too dark, but there are for sure parts in the story which show the brutality and cruelty a human can have buried deep down inside of them. And it seems that some of those human beings do enjoy being very cruel to others.

Three Dark Crowns*
by Kendare Blake
Three Dark Crowns Series #1
Publisher Harper Teen on September 20, 2016
Genre Fantasy
Pages 416
Format Softcover
Source Publisher**

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.
Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katharine are triplets and born to be queen one day over the island of Fennbirn. But not until their sixteens birthday, when their real coveted magic will hopefully either be already deployed or start to grow. And when it becomes clear to those, who have to raise and educate them; that at least two of the triplets’ don´t have strong coveted magic, things start to get rough. One party wants the reign of the poisoner to be over, another part wants to keep the power, they call their own for a hundred years at all costs. Even when that means that they must work with tricks to get their queen on the throne. 

It was quite fascinating to watch the three queens living and acting in their natural environment. One grew up in the city, another in the wild nature, and the third in a place between both. All three are supposed to have a certain kind of magic. And all three are supposed to show what kind of magic they own by birth at some point during their education. But only one so far seems to be completely developed and trained. Kendare Blake shows in a dark but very entertaining way how the life of those three future queens looks, how they do everything they can to survive their sixteen´s birthday, and to have a future.

Intrigue, lies, power, and the knowledge that only one will survive come together in strong and very imaginative characters who do their best to keep what they already have or to gain something new. The characters are profound, with incredible depth for fantasy figures, and all show at some point their real nature or face to the outside.

Arsinoe is the one, of the three queens, I like the most. Grown-up with the knowledge that she will never look like a real beauty, although she is a beauty just in a different way, and with the fact in mind, that she hasn´t found her own Familiaris yet. She risks a lot and comes up with strange ideas – all with the knowledge in mind that she might not survive her twentieth birthday. Everything depends on her out coming on Beltane. And how she masters her life until then is really great to watch. She feels like you and me like not everything needs to be perfect to actually be perfect.

I had a really good time reading this first book of Kendare Blake´s new series. It was a real adventure to explore her writing-style, to dive into her kind of fantasy, her way of creating not only scenes and the plot but also her characters. And the psychological finesse you´ll find in this great written high fantasy novel is totally stunning. I am thrilled in a very special way and know for sure that I want to read the next book. Highly recommended.

Happy reading

*I read the German edition new release by Penhaligon** on May 9, 2017 

Kendare Blake
Kendare Blake ©Shawn H. Nichols Photography

Kendare Blake holds an MA in creative writing from Middlesex University in northern London. She is the author of Anna Dressed in Blood, a Cybils Awards finalist. Her books have been translated into eighteen languages, have been featured in multiple best-of-year lists, and have received many regional and librarian awards. Kendare Blake loves animals of all kinds and is also fascinated by Greek mythology. She lives and writes in Kent, Washington.



  1. I need to read more Kendare Blake! Her writing style is unique, and her characters original. Great review, Vi!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    1. Thank you Lexxie! The author got a new fan (me), that´s for sure. And yes, her writing style is absolutely unique. I was really surprised how much I liked it :-) Thanks for stopping by.


Note: By submitting your commentar, you accept that the comment you write, and the personal information associated with it (e.g. username, email address, linked profile on Google/Wordpress) will be transmitted to Google servers. You can find more information in my privacy policy and in Google´s Privacy Policy.

Hinweis: Mit dem Abschicken deines Kommentars akzeptierst du, dass der von dir geschriebene Kommentar und die personenbezogenen Daten, die damit verbunden sind (z.B. Username, E-Mail-Adresse, verknüpftes Profil auf Google/Wordpress) an Google-Server übermittelt werden. Weitere Informationen dazu findest du in meiner Datenschutzerklärung und in der Datenschutzerklärung von Google.