Misleading Marketing Makes Me Sad // Review: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake


Three Dark CrownsGenre: Fantasy
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Date Published: 20th September 2016
Pages: 405
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Buy: AmazonBooktopia
Australia: Angus & RobertsonBooktopiaPan Macmillan Aus
Follow Kendare Blake on Twitter

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.

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** I was provided with a free copy of this book via Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review. **

The island of Fennbirn is surrounded by mist and in every generation a set of triplets are born there. The triplets are all equal heirs to the crown and have their own set of magical powers. Katharine is a Poisoner and can create and ingest deadly toxins without fearing death. Mirabella is an Elemental and can control storms or fire. Arsinoe is a Naturralist and has the power to make plants grow and can have a strong familiar bond with any kind of animal. Only one sister can be queen and this is decided by one sister killing the other two. For centuries the Poisoners have ruled Fennbirn and it’s expected to be no different this time, however that all changes when it’s revealed that two of the sisters aren’t nearly as powerful as they’re supposed to be.

I wanted to love this book. Kendare Blake’s Anna duology is one of my absolute favourites so I was really excited for Three Dark Crowns. The blurb promised darkness and murder and unfortunately we only got handfuls here and there. It was like Gossip Girl in a Fantasy setting which is fine, but that’s not what I was lead to believe this book would be and thus resulted in me being pretty disappointed.

I wasn’t able to connect to any of the characters and I think this is because there were so many side characters. Like. So. Many. I can’t even remember all of their names. This is a very political based Fantasy so it was to be expected, but it felt like I had jumped into this book in a middle of the series. I was so lost trying to keep up with everyone and everything. I really wanted to fall in love with Katharine, Mirabella or Arsinoe and root for one of them, but in all honesty I didn’t care what happened to them. I feel like Katharine was the most interesting, but mostly because the Poisoners were such high players in the world having ruled it for so long. When we were in Arsinoe’s perspective her best friend, Jules, was more of a main character than she was. This book is in third person multi-POV so we jump around a lot. I do really enjoy multi-POV stories and each character did have a unique voice.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake.png

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

I especially didn’t care for any of the love interests. This book was Instalove central. Three Dark Crowns also did something I absolutely loathe even more than love triangles: <spoiler: highlight to read>cheating was seemingly romanticised</spoiler>. Katharine’s love interest was one of those male characters that we’re suppose to love, but I just found to be a total creep. The only relationship I didn’t mind was Arsinoe’s relationship with a suitor from the mainland. I feel like this was the only relationship in the book that actually had any kind of development.

What I did like, however, is that how many female characters were presented. In this book women are the ones in a position of power – not men. Katharine, Mirabella and Arsinoe are all surrounded by female friends. I loved the bond the naturalists had with their familiars too.

I did find the magical system and the concept of Fennbirn interesting, but the world building was extremely lacking. As I said above I felt so lost because there was minimal backstory. We were told but not shown. There were priestess and high councils and all different terms involving past Queens and triplets born onto the island. I could not keep up with it. The most contradicting thing is that even though there was so much going on – nothing actually happened until the last 1/3 of the book. <spoiler: highlight to read>There was no murdering between the sisters. They didn’t even START trying to compete for the crown.</spoiler> I completely understand that this is the first book in a series so it’s setting everything up, but it felt like nothing was actually set up.

I really enjoyed the sprinkling of darker elements that we got throughout this book. I feel like that’s what Kendare Blake does best. When this book was dark it was really dark. Some of the things that happened were so messed up and I just WANTED MORE, but that was put on the back burner so we could focus on two side characters romance instead. Sigh.

The final third of this book was definitely where things picked up. Everything started to become fast paced and action packed. There were reveals that I was genuinely not expecting and I’m pretty good at calling plot twists in YA. The reveals and ending does give me a lot of hope for the second book – I’ll definitely be picking that up.

I want revenge and then I want my crown.”

I feel like you could potentially enjoy this book a lot more if you go in knowing that “a fight to the death” is 100% completely misleading. Three Dark Crowns had so much potential to be an incredible start to a series, but unfortunately it didn’t quite deliver. It did pique my interest enough to want to continue with the series though which is why I’m giving it 3 stars.




Have you read Three Dark Crowns or is it on your TBR?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I hope you’re all having a fantastic day xx

P.S Two review posts in a row? Who am I? 😂😂😂

36 thoughts on “Misleading Marketing Makes Me Sad // Review: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake

  1. I was really looking forward to this book so it’s a shame you didn’t enjoy it as much as you’d hoped! I was definitely expecting some kind of violent, back-stabbing fight to the death like you said, so that’s pretty misleading of the marketing team that the book isn’t like that. Oh well, I’ll still pick it up at some point but I might hold off for a while and watch the other reviews flood in haha. Great review!


  2. I just heard the same thing from another book blogger as well that almost nothing happens throughout the book. I did have high expectations for this book but now I don’t know. I still want to give it a try though but now I’ll know not to go in expecting much! Great review btw!


  3. This is the first review for this book I’ve read, and I cheated and read your spoilers, so I’m really disappointed that this isn’t as dark as it seems! I wanted blood and death! 😛


  4. I’m really sorry you didn’t enjoy this book so much. Three Dark Crowns was one of my most anticipated releases for this year, I haven’t read the Anna books either but I did read and really enjoy the Goddess War books of hers, but this isn’t the first slightly negative review of Three Dark Crowns I’ve seen today so now I’m kind of wondering whether I should pick it up right away?
    From the blurb I expected more a Hunger Games death style match as well, sounds like we definitely did not get that. I’m also not a fan of insta-love either (though it’s not as bad as love triangles or the other trope you mentioned in the spoiler section of your review!)
    Hopefully the second book will be better, do you think based on the way this one ended there’ll be more action in the second then?
    Great review Lauren! 😀


    1. I’ve been meaning to read Antigoddess for so long! I definitely understand your hesitation. It wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read per say, just not what I was expecting it to be!

      Yeah, I was definitely thinking that’s what it was going to be too. I totally get that there needed to be a build up, but I definitely think the marketing shouldn’t have pushed so hard that there was a fight to the death, because it didn’t even come close to that 😂

      I feel like if you go into it knowing that it’s not what it’s marketed to be then you could potentially enjoy it a lot more! With the way this book ended it really feels like there will be a lot more action in book 2 and I’m hoping it goes that way because otherwise I’ll be sad, haha.

      Thanks so much, Beth!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d recommend Antigoddess, it’s a good book and hopefully you’ll enjoy it more than you did this one. But yeah I’ll check out a few more reviews probably, and I won’t pick it up straight away either so maybe that’ll help with my expectations and all.
        The whole idea of the fight to the death is kind of the whole draw of this book for me, and I would have been the same, let down, especially if it doesn’t even come close!
        Maybe I’ll end up enjoying it more knowing what I do about it now, anything is possible, and if the second book has a lot more action the maybe this will end up being one of those series that gets better as it goes on.
        That’s all right! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been pondering reading this, but maybe I won’t, unless I happen to see it at the library. Misleading marketing is seriously irritating to me, and I think I would also be disappointing this isn’t what it claims. It also sounds a bit like Crown Duel, which I found flat. If you want to have a duel to the death, then have a duel to the death and have it be violent! Don’t mess around with lighter side plots forever.


  6. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this book as much as you were hoping. I hate when you’re expecting one thing from a book but are completely mislead – I had the same problem with a book I read recently. I’ve had this one on my TBR for a while and actually received it in my Owlcrate but have to admit I’m tad bit hesitant about it now. I’m definitely not one of insta-love or gossip girl-esque stuff. And when it feels like I’ve been tossed into a book in the middle of a story it throws me off of the whole thing. I’ll probably still give it a chance, but will go into it with lower expectations than I previously had. Great review, Lauren! 😊


      1. Misleading blurbs are the worst! They always build up expectation only to let down the reader when the actual book shifts focus. Knowing ahead of time can definitely help! Hopefully I end up enjoying it and the second book is better for you.
        You’re welcome! 😊♥

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I love your review format. I’ve read so many mixed reviews about this, some love it and some really don’t. I’ve formed an opinion yet but I’m trying to keep my expectations from getting too high. You bring up some very good points there, I’ll probably have to read it myself now since I can’t contain the curiosity. Love the review!


  8. Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one so much! It’s one of my most anticipated releases of this year so my expectations are also pretty high and it’s sad to see they will probably not live up to it… But maybe now that I know I shouldn’t expect epicness and battles to the death I’ll maybe still be able to enjoy it? We’ll see 🙂 I’ll probably stick to her Anna duology for the Halloween readathon, that one seems perfect. Thanks for the review, Lauren!


    1. I know! I was super excited for it too. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I wasn’t expecting an actual “fight to the death” in this book. There were some good elements throughout the book though and I think the 2nd will be a lot better!! Anna Dressed in Blood is one of my all time favourites. I hope you enjoy both of them ♥


  9. I’ve actually read quite a few negative reviews on this one, and I feel as though readers seem to agree that the characters weren’t as engaging as they hoped and the plot was a bit dull. I’m sorry this one didn’t work out for you, but thank you for the heads up – at least now I won’t read it with high expectations, as the plot summary and idea seemed so promising…


  10. I was really looking forward to this one too, but I read an excerpt that I got via NetGalley and it totally turned me off. Really glad I didn’t go ahead and request it now based on your review! I’ve seen a lot of people saying how boring they found it. Also really sad to hear that instalove got more page time than anything actually of any substance and that the dark stuff didn’t carry through. A shame all round I think! Awesome review, though. 🙂 x


  11. I’m so guttered to hear this book isn’t what it sounds like it should be! And even worse to hear it’s insta-love central! That sucks so much!! I may have to push this down my to be read pile a little considering I have so much else I want to read…


  12. I definitely feel like this book was a bit misleading! But I really loved the story building, I was so engrossed into the entire world and I can’t wait to read the rest in the series!!


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