Three Dark Crowns

Back in September, I received my first Owlcrate box and the theme was “darkness” I was so excited to see that the book was Three Dark Crowns. Being a busy college student, I got a little distracted with the rest of my semester and ended up putting this book off until Christmas break. I finally read this book and while it took a little while for me to get into the story, I enjoyed it overall!

I think the biggest flaw in this book is its world building. Is this a dystopian future or the past or a fairy tale setting lost in time? It is impossible to tell. Is the island even real? I began to question that by the end of the novel. Blake could really benefit from a little more history of the world. There were a couple instances of history lessons woven into the story, mostly with the priestesses, but many times I felt as if the people living in the world knew as little about its history as I did! This world seems really fascinating, but I want to know more about it! I want to understand the magic and the history of the queens! Hopefully, future books will elaborate more on the history of Fennbirn and the queens.

I’m usually a fan of multiple protagonist stories that intersect, a la Jodi Picoult and My Lady Jane, but it was a little frustrating that not all the protagonists were interesting, at least to me. I was so unfascinated by Mirabella’s story, but perhaps that was how the author intended it. I was looking forward to Katharine’s chapters more than anything, and while Arinsoe’s story was interesting, I was way more into Katharine! Perhaps it was because her story was so much more…severe..for most of the novel, and that she had a love interest of her own! Had Arsinoe had Joseph or really been interested in Billy or Mirabella some love interest their chapters might have been more interesting.

On the topic of love interests and who has them, I’m still confused by why Jules is so important. I was expecting her to hide behind Arinsoe’s mask and impersonate her or something, but that didn’t come to fruition. Jules got a lot of page time, and I feel like as a reader I am more invested in her than Mirabella! Is there more to being a “Beltane Begot” than we know yet? That might explain Jules’ importance. I understand that she has always been there for Arsinoe, but this is a book about “three dark crowns” not “three dark crowns and another girl” so I’m going to need a bit more meaning in Jules’ existence to totally buy into it.

For all the hype and buildup to the Quickening, it seemed to happen really quickly! I felt like each queen deserved much more time. If this was really SUCH an important event, shouldn’t it have earned more time in the book? This was supposed to be the most important nights of the queens’ lives, what they had been working to their whole lives, and then it was over! The cliffhanger that followed was great and makes me anxious for the next book, but I would have gladly read it twenty pages later for a better “Quickening” experience.

Overall, I enjoyed this book! I didn’t really get “into it” until around p. 150, but now I am looking forward to the next book! I have high hopes for this world, and I hope with a little more history I’ll understand how everything fits together!

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