Book Review: Three Dark Crowns



Title: Three Dark Crowns

Author: Kendare Black

Series? Yes, 1 of 3

Rating: 2.5/5 stars


Booktopia // Dymocks // Book Depository // Amazon

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Three Dark Crowns is blessed with a unique and vivid world, along with a premise that promises high stakes and dangerous intrigue. Unfortunately, I felt very little was accomplished within this first novel. I also found it difficult to invest in any of the three princesses, despite Three Dark Crowns being a very character-driven book.


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
and one to be Queen.

The title of Three Dark Crowns refer to three sisters born to a monstrous destiny. Katherine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella are separated in their childhood – each groomed to become a powerful wielder of magic in their respective talent. Katherine is fostered with the powerful Arron family, she is taught to live and breathe the art of poison. Arsinoe is a naturalist, meant to wield abilities to control animals and manipulate crop growth. Mirabella is an elemental, she commands wind, fire, and the very earth (she’s basically the Avatar) – she also garners strong support from the religious order of the kingdom. One amongst the triplet will be crowned queen, at the cost of her sisters’s lives.

The world of Three Dark Crown is richly imagined, with clear distinction between the different disciplines and their respective lands. I found the Arron family, head of the poisoners, to be the most compelling of the sets of characters. The naturalist and their companion animal also made for an interesting setting, although I felt their chapters would have benefited from expansion on the world building. Mirabella seems very isolated with her elemental ability, and the setting she inhabited was the weakest of the three – despite the supposed political machinations by the temple.

I struggled with the book because the three main girls had quite similar voices. Katherine and Arsinoe, in particular, suffered from similar character flaws and an inability to excel at their talent. Arsinoe’s chapters were also overshadowed by Jules, her best friend and confidant. As a result, I cared for her the least of the siblings. Mirabella stood out from her sisters as her chapters felt more energetic and vivacious. She is also the only sibling who remembers the childhood the girls spent together, thus she feels most conflicted with her destiny.

Throughout the novel, the book builds towards the eventual reunion and battle between the sisters, but I could never become fully invested in their dilemma. The plot also involved at least three different romances, with suitors who began to bleed together in my mind. For a book about three young women on the brink of death, there was an inordinate amount of swooning and love polygons.

The book was missing the action and political machinations promised by its premise. Instead, Three Dark Crowns was filled with repetitive chapters about each girl’s unchanging situation. The triplets remained the pawns of more ambitious court members, and while this may change in future instalments, it made for a very frustrating and monotonous read.

There is definitely a lot of potential here for a great series, but the first volume missed the mark by failing to involve me in the characters’ story arcs. While I am still curious to see how things will play out, especially given the reveal at the end of the book – I am ultimately disappointed by this book.

38 thoughts on “Book Review: Three Dark Crowns

  1. OMG I just finished this last night. Though it didn’t fully live up to expectations, I still like it. The ending presents a much more promising plot for the second book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Though I ultimately really enjoyed the book (I loved the world so much, and especially the Arrons! So wickedly creepy), I 100% agree with your critiques. I couldn’t believe how little was accomplished in the first book. I thought we’d be finding out the end result of who became queen and the subsequent books would detail the aftermath of all that, not a book just leading UP to the ascension year. But alas, I am very interested to read the next book because of that dang cliffhanger!

    Ali @ the bandar blog 

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Too much set up and not enough pay off for me, personally. Though I did love the world building and that gorgeous map at the start as well!


  3. Damn. I’ve been hearing a lot of the same things from others about this one and I’m disappointed because I was really looking forward to it. But if the voices of the 3 girls are too similar, I know I’m going to struggle too. And love polygons you say? #BYE
    Pretty graphic, Aentee and fab review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Nick! And yup for a book I was hoping to be about sisters, this one had a few too many lacklustre romances 😭


  4. This seems to be a pretty popular opinion of the book. It’s so disappointing because this was one of the books I was most excited for this year. I’m still going to read it though (especially since I already have it haha). Hopefully I’ll like it well enough.
    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yours is the first negative review I’ve read of this book, everyone else is going so damn crazy about it. Honestly, the points you mentioned in your review will most probably irk me too, but I’m still kinda excited to give this one a try. Anyway, great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Too bad it didn’t live up to the hype. I was really looking forward to read it, especially since the concept sounded very intriguing and everything. Not to mention that beautiful cover! Sigh… at least I know what to expect now. Thank you for your review!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How unfortunate. I was really looking forward to this one because I love stories about sisters and it just sounded like a really great concept. I’m disappointed to hear that it was difficult to tell the difference between the characters. What a missed opportunity! I appreciate your honest review.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so disappointed you didn’t like this one! I’ve been sent a copy to review too, and I haven’t read it yet. I don’t really want to anymore, because so many people didn’t enjoy it, which is sad! I hope I might enjoy it when/if I pick it up, because the synopsis sounds so promising. Lovely review!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am about to receive this one in my OwlCrate box and I was really excited for it. Maybe you lowering my expectations a little will help me enjoy it more, because I too expected a lot of political schemes and stuff. We will see I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s too bad about this one! There was a lot of hype for it and I hoped it would be more focused on the sister’s relationships with one another instead of trying to juggle three romances. The first book is usually the best so it’s hard to hope for a lot with the others. Though I’ll still probably end up giving it a read

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This book honestly sounds like everything that I just can’t read any more. It disappoints me so much that an author would write a book about 3 young women and give them all what sounds to be essentially the exact same story. Use the opportunity to show that maybe women can take different paths. Maybe they aren’t all straight! Maybe one of them actually isn’t into dating right now! Maybe one of them is just murderous and power hungry and that is sort of okay in the context of the book! Or maybe one of them isn’t that into the idea of being queen and would really rather just focus on her etsy shop.

    I’m just saying. Give a lady some options.


  12. Aww…I’m sorry this was so disappointing. 😦 I can definitely see where you’re coming from though. If you can’t connect to the characters, the story itself is just going to end up being flat. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤


  13. Sorry this was such a bummer for you! Apparently it isn’t living up to a lot of bloggers’ expectations, which is sad! Also, that cover is so much prettier than the US cover, so there’s that!


  14. I hope that this is just one of those starter books in a series. I felt kind of like this in her other novel about gods and goddesses. The first book was a little flat. I liked it, but I was left feeling empty and not in a good kind of way.

    Really awesome review!


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