Three Dark Crowns – Series Review

I haven’t written a review in a while and I’m not sure why. It’s not as if I haven’t been reading, I just haven’t been taking the time to reflect in the same why I used to. However, I have just finished the three dark crowns series and it has had me thinking. I have enjoyed this series but it has also frustrated me at the same time. It has been a while since I have had such mixed feelings about a series. It isn’t a clear cut hate or love of the series.

WARNING!!! This review contains spoilers, so do not read if you don’t want to know what happens!!!

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The series obviously starts with Three Dark Crowns. The synopsis from  is below:

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 stomach-ache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of beasts.

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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Sounds exciting right? Well the book was pretty slow right until the end. It had a ridiculous love triangle that really didn’t make any sense. It made me not like Mirabella as I feel like her character should have been stronger. I absolutely hated Joseph, who every character seemed to love.  However I did enjoy Katharine and Arsinoe characters. They were the under dogs in this fight for the crowns and they pulled out all sorts of tricks to survive. The character of Jules was alright but I didn’t understand why she got so much page time. The ending left the series open to grow and for a promising second book. This made me read on.

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One Dark Throne came next and for me it delivered. More happened in this book. You felt the need to survive intensify and Mirabella’s character began to grow on me. Mirabella was the clear favourite to win the crown but she wanted to defy the tradition of the triplet queens killing each other. She stood up for what she believed in and it made me like her more for it. Arsinsoe Joined Mirabella and the two escape, leaving Katharine to be crowned.  But before all that happens it is revealed that Jules is legion cursed, meaning she has two gifts. She’s a naturalist and war gifted. This reveal fell flat on me. Jules is Arinsone’s protector there to keep her alive, she still at this point isn’t anyone important. Biggest spoiler of all though for this book Joesph dies! and I was so happy. His character hadn’t improved for me. I still hated him and hated reading how lovely everyone thought he was and the excuses the characters came up with for his behaviour. The only really decent male in this series is Billy. The ending of the book didn’t make me feel the need to jump to book three in the same way the first one left me wanting to read the second straight away. As a result it was a while until I read book three.

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The third instalment is Two Dark Reigns. I enjoyed reading Katharine’s struggle to be a good queen. She really does try but the island is against and the mist that is meant to protect them is closing in on them. Her internal fight for control of her own body against the dead queens who inhabit her is also well written. Arsinroe and Mirabella are on the mainland and they are also struggling. They don’t fit in with Billy’s family, who have kindly taken them in. In addition Arsinroe starts having weird dreams calling them back to the island. Jules is hiding out in the city of the war gifted. This is where we are first introduced properly to Emilia. She is a war gifted warrior who wants to bring down the crown and get rid of the poisoners. I hate Emilia. I feel like in an attempt to make this character a strong warrior who takes no prisoners, Blake ended up creating an obnoxious, hot headed, arrogant, horribly annoying person. Emilia goes around ordering everyone around and everyone just does what she says, yet you never once see her character earning the respect she is shown. She pretty much forces Jules to agree to become the legion queen and the figure head of the rebellion. It also is very often you see her showing any concern for the people’s lives she is risking. Another thing that annoys me is how Jules is just suddenly declared legion queen. Jules has been brave and devoted in her time spent protecting Arsinroe but I really don’t see what she has done to earn the title of queen. She simply is legion cursed and hasn’t been driven made by it due to her mother’s binding of the war gift. Even though parts of the plot annoyed me, the ending of this book promised for a good finale. Mirabella and Arsinroe returned to the island. Jules Legion curse is cut. The mist is rising. Katharine struggles to control the dead queens as they yearn for blood. Arinsoe chooses to stay by Jules side whereas Mirabella decides to join the crown. Everything is pointing to a big conflict and I could wait to find out how the series concluded.

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Five Dark Fates is the fourth and final book. As this book was meant to be the conclusion to everything that had happened so far it really fell flat. Everything just happened to slowly. They spent too much time talking and planning and not enough actually taking action. The story didn’t really pick up until about two thirds of the way in and even then the conclusion still annoyed me. Massive spoiler alert. Mirabella dies! This made me so angry because her death was so pointless. She really didn’t need to die. After everything she survived her death was so meaningless. She was the only one trying to avoid all out war. She had found a way for them to solve all the problems the island faced. She at the end the only true queen out of the tree. Mirabella didn’t want the crown but she risked everything to protect the island. Arsinoe really annoyed me in this book because she was just so stubborn and didn’t listen properly and by the time she realised Katharine was just being used and not the big villain, it was too late. I really felt for Katherine. She was a really well written character. She was extremely complicated. She wanted to be good but didn’t entirely know how. She wanted to keep her sister around but the dead queens wouldn’t let her. In the end she did the right thing.

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I was disappointed in the ending. Even after everything that happened I still don’t understand why Jules was apparently the chosen one to end the queens. It didn’t make sense and in the end it was Arsinroe that actually saved everyone by banishing the dead queens. So I don’t get why Jules gets so much credit. In addition they state the time of the triplet queens is over but one queen still remains, so is it really over. It is still possible for her to bare the next set of triplets. Maybe this time they could just not separate them as children and then encourage them to kill each other at seventeen. It also seemed very convenient that Jules curse just disappears but she retains both her gifts. The ending just seemed rushed which was annoying as the first two thirds of the book were so slow. The book could have been better balanced out. This series had so much potential to be great. Blake conjured up a great fantasy world but it felt like it failed to deliver on all of its potential. I didn’t hate the series but I wanted more from it. It was an alright read but I feel like it could have been great.

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