With three sisters in line for a crown that they have to fight to the death for, the Three Dark Crowns series is packed full of history, action, and drama. The Island of Fennbirn’s history begins with the Goddess who was the first ruler and she birthed triplets, giving gifts to each of them. Elementals, naturalists, poisoners, oracles, and warriors are born throughout the triplet line and sent to fight for the crown on their 16th birthday using their gifts.
BOOK ONE – THREE DARK CROWNS
I began this series hoping I could get lost in a fictional world on the Island of Fennbirn. Instead, I took a long time getting past the first few chapters. The book began more abruptly than I would have liked, with very little backstory. However, as each chapter progressed, I did find it easier to get into the flow of the book. Each chapter provided a different point of view based on the cities that each of the three queens were living in. This book was interesting surrounding the history of the island and it was like nothing I had ever read before.
After getting past the first few chapters, I enjoyed learning about the history of Fennbirn and the way they worship a Goddess who created the Queens. Each of the characters believes that the island is owned by the Goddess and their purpose is to serve her and her alone. This by itself made the book easy to fall into as I too wished to have a gift from the Goddess to make me different!
We follow the stories of Arsinoe, Mirabella and Katherine, three queens who have been birthed into the line of rightful queens. Queen Mirabella, the elemental (can control the elements) is the strongest of the three, and was an interesting character through her development of the book. She began as someone who was controlled by priestesses (followers of the Goddess), however she comes into her own and tries to run away in part of this book in order to save her sisters. This is one of the things I admired her character for, because she learned how to become her own person which made me really enjoy reading her parts of the book.
Queen Katherine is probably my least favorite of the queens. From the beginning Katherine seemed to be a character who was controlled by the people above her. Katherine was the last born of the three and as the book progresses, we learn from Mirabella’s memories that she has always acted like the littlest too. Katherine was meant to have the poisoner gift (can ingest poison with no trouble), however, her gifts did not develop, which left me wondering why two of the sisters did not have any sign of a gift.
DC Cover Girls Poison Ivy by Frank Cho Statue
from: Things From Another World
Queen Arsinoe was definitely my favorite queen. She had guts from the beginning and her character was so easy to fall in love with. Her friends Jules Milone and Joseph Sandrin were supportive from the beginning, however, Joseph wavered between Mirabella and Arsinoe after a quick encounter. Arsinoe was meant to have the gift of a naturalist. Naturalists were able to control plants, however, they also had familiars. Jules (her friend and guardian) had the familiar of a cougar. The stronger the familiar, the stronger the naturalist. Arsinoe, who had no familiar and no sign of the naturalist gift also contributed to my wariness of the two queens who were giftless and resorted to other methods to seem strong.
The ending of this book shocked me and showed me exactly what I had been wondering from learning about the three queens in the beginning. It definitely made me want to continue onto One Dark Throne.
BOOK TWO – ONE DARK THRONE
After the stressful ceremony of the Quickening, this book begins during the Ascension Year where the queens are free to kill their sisters for the crown. This book gives us a lot more information about the characters we are following and shows that some sisters don’t want to kill for the crown.
Throughout this book I found it hard to follow Mirabella’s story. In the previous book she had not wanted to kill either of her sisters, but after the Quickening Ceremony, she believes that Arsinoe really wanted to hurt her, so she tries to do the same. This made me lose a bit of interest in her because from the beginning I believed that she was different and worth following because she would rather do good than harm for the crown even if it meant she wouldn’t be the one with it on top of her head.
[Editor: for those fans of the original Highlander, please note that the Quickening referenced in Three Dark Crowns is unrelated!]
Arsinoe’s intentions were clear from the beginning, she did not want to harm Mirabella, and was mostly trying to stay out of the way so she could figure out her new discovery of a gift.
Katherine’s story in this book was incredibly interesting because certain actions had been taken for her during the Quickening Ceremony, causing her to be different and stronger. It was confusing at first, but eventually it became obvious that her need to kill her sisters was stronger than her need to stay away from the poison she could not ingest without harm.
The book’s ending was intriguing as one of my favourite characters sadly passed away, and left me in need to find out if my two favourite queens had made it to safety.
BOOK THREE – TWO DARK REIGNS
Two dark reigns was probably the book with the most history involved. With Arsinoe and Mirabella safely away from Katherine and her reign of the crown, Arsinoe begins to have visions while she dreams. Not only are there visions, but it is like she is in someone else’s body.
We learn about the history of the Blue Queen and how the protector of the island – the mist – came to be. I think this book was the most interesting for me especially because of the history involved. The Blue Queens story proved that not every Ascension Year ended with the killing of two queens and one crowned, and there is a possibility for more choice.
Along with this book however, I did not like the storyline of the rebellion. Jules Milone, who is supposed to be Arsinoe’s “guardian” ends up with the title of the Legion Queen. This was probably one of the things that ruined the whole series for me, especially because Jules was supposed to be one of the side characters of the queen.
Marvel Gallery Goblin Queen Comic PVC Figure
from: Things From Another World
BOOK FOUR – FIVE DARK FATES
The final book of the series was very up and down for me. I mostly wanted to finish it to just see how it ended, but the ending was definitely not what I expected nor what I would have liked it to have.
With the rebellion growing and spreading across the land, Mirabella ends up with Katherine which I actually liked because Mirabella was kind of like a barrier between Katherine and Arsinoe. It was nice to see the sister relationship develop between the two, even when it resulted in one of their deaths. This was probably the most heartbreaking part of the entire series and the reaction of the other queen definitely made me sad.
The ending of the book ends with the battle and the rebellion taking over the capital and in the end, two out of the three rightful rulers are dead. With a Legion Queen taking over the throne, I hated the ending, especially because it ruined the history involved in the making of the island.
DO I RECOMMEND IT?
Overall, I would recommend this series if you’re looking to pass time, but not to throw yourself into a fictional world and fall in love with the characters. It was at times very hard to follow. It did have its ups and downs like any book, and like me, you might find a favorite character in the series.