Published by Pan Macmillan on September 22nd 2016
Genres: Family, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, General, Love & Romance, Royalty, Siblings, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
Click here to buy the book from Amazon •Booktopia • Book Depository • Angus and Robertson
Three sisters. One crown. A fight to the death.
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
Three Sisters. One Throne. A Fight to the Death.
That’s the tagline for Three Dark Crowns and it fits this novel perfectly. Think The Hunger Games for magical royal triplets.
Three sisters were separated as children and sent to families chosen to best help them with their gifts. Katharine was raised to be the most artful and deadly poisoner by the Arrons. Arsinoe lives with the Milones and is surrounded by the strongest naturalists in living memory. Mirabella’s gifts are the stuff of legends and the temple has helped her develop her ferocious elemental talents. Now sixteen, the girls must follow tradition with only the strongest of the three surviving and becoming the Queen Crowned.
But things are never as simple as just a little sororicide (the act of killing one’s sister). This generation of queens are different from those who have come before them. Katharine the poisoner and Arsinoe the naturalist are seen as weak and destined to be taken down by Mirabella with ease. Politics are in play and the battle for the crown is up for grabs. Mix in potential consorts, dark traditions and three girls each with something to live for. The fight for the crown is just getting started.
In many ways Three Dark Crowns felt like a prequel to a story we hadn’t read yet but after 3DC you know that you need the next book in your hands already. This is the queen sisters’ origin story. We get to know Kat, Arsinoe and Mira on their birthday as they begin the journey to determining the next Queen Crowned. All three have grown up knowing only one of them will live through their sixteenth year but each one of them has been raised with different expectations placed upon them. Mirabella is incredibly gifted and strong with many expecting her to win without much effort. Whereas Arsinoe is almost the opposite with no apparent gift and she lives her life with no real preparation for the future. Kat lies somewhere in-between with much talent for poisons but not a huge tolerance for them. It’s an interesting mix and it works well. There is a sense that the triplets are regular girls except for the whole only one can live whilst the others survive thing going on.
It didn’t take long for me to connect with each of the sisters. They are completely different and it was easy to follow their interwoven lives because of that. I liked that the novel showed that they were a product of not just genetics but how important their environments were to their development. The poisoners, elementalists and naturalists were fascinating to read about. They each have their own rituals and traditions with politics and religion playing important roles in the battle for the next ruling queen.
Three Dark Crowns is a book full of magic, mystery and a dash of romance. This is a series opener which will make you hungry for the next book. It is not too long or busy with world building for those who are intimidated with epic sagas but it is full of all that wonderfully compelling stuff like danger, murderous plots and power. I’m already eager for One Dark Throne (the next book in the series) because I can’t wait to indulge myself in this world with Kat, Arinsoe and Mirabella again.
Many thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for the review copy