Three Dark Queens are born in a glen.
Sweet little triplets
Will never be friends.
Three Dark Sisters, all fair to be seen.
Two to devour,
One to be queen.
The setting for Three Dark Crowns and the background to the book is really quite excellent and original, even though right from the off it conjures up images from Game Of Thrones et al. You feel like you’ve been here before but the story is unique with a very appealing concept.
Every generation on the island of Fennbirn a set of triplets is born. All three of them are heirs to the throne and all gifted with magic. Only one of them will be crowned as Queen, and they have to fight to the death to decide who it is. They are separated at birth and brought up away from each other where they are schooled in their magic and taught to fight and survive knowing that the day will come after their sixteenth birthdays where the fight properly begins and a winner and Queen will be found.
I was given a proof copy of this book at the London Book Fair recently and I initially assumed that this was going to be a stand-alone story and approached the book with that mind-set. Having got to the end only to find out that I have been left on a pretty big cliffhanger I did a bit of Googling and found out that this is the first part of a two part series!!
This book gets released properly in September this year and it looks as though the follow up is being aimed for around September 2017, so a long while to go yet before I can see the story out to its climax.
Once I realised that the book was just part one I went back and re-read a number of the chapters as I had originally felt like the book was moving at too slow of a pace in many areas. Considering the very dramatic setting and back-story there just didn’t seem to be enough happening for large parts of the book. Sat in the context of being the first half of the story I think the book actually works very well as it means that the main characters are properly understood ready for what I hope will be the more dramatic finale next year.
I was surprised to find myself actually liking all 3 of the triplets as I expected that there would be the token evil one, the goody-two-shoes and the mysterious one, but I sort of ended up rooting for all of them. Those stereotypes just aren’t in this book and kudos to Kendare Blake for that as it must have been tempting.
Three Dark Crowns is very well written. It leans more towards the Young Adult style of writing, and this possibly explains why a love-triangle somehow manages to be woven into large parts of the story but even this reveals itself to have a reason for being there towards the end of the book.
The book handles the difficult to handle issues of politics, the move into adulthood and the pressure that comes with great expectations really, really well and although I have passed reference to the slow pace of the book at times that is more of a comment on the speed of the story progressing. What the slow pace does offer is genuine and thorough character development and now I understand about this being part one of the story I can see how that works and is right and proper.
The last quarter of the book really picks up the pace and hurtles towards the cliffhanger and genuinely left me wanting more, and I mean really wanting more. I’m really impatient to find out how the story ends, and if part two picks up at the pace that Three Dark Crowns ended at then it promises to be quite the ride.
This is the first book I have ever read by Kendare Blake and I now trust her well enough to finish this tale in an exciting and compelling way.
I look forward to September 2017 when I can find out if this is the case. Although I am making this my book of the month right now I would actually recommend that you hold off from buying Three Dark Crowns until next year as if you get as hooked as I did on the overall story by the end of this book then you won’t have long to wait for the sequel!!
Three Dark Crowns will be published in September 2016 by Macmillan and the price is yet to be confirmed.