When triplets Mirabella, Arsinoe and Katherine are born, their fates are already sealed for them. One Queen must take the lives of her sisters using their gift, and take the throne. However, two of the queens gifts have failed to become apparent, making Mirabella the favourite to win the crown. As Beltane approaches, Katherine and Arsinoe must find a way to hide the fact that they are gift-less, and make everyone believe that they are more than a match for Mirabella
I was so happy when I got sent an arc of this book and couldn't wait to read it! It follows a set of royal triplets who can all potentially become Queen. However, the other two sisters must first be killed before one of them can take the throne. I thought this was a really interesting idea, and I loved that each Queen was meant to have her own unique gift. However, only Mirabella, the Elemental seems to actually possess a gift, leaving Katherine the Poisoner and Arsinoe the Naturalist at a great disadvantage. I adored how they cleverly kept this a secret from the public and their sisters, and found ways to trick everyone into believing their gifts were as strong as Mirabella's.
One thing that I just couldn't decide was who my favourite Queen was! As Mirabella is the strongest, I thought she would use her power to her advantage, and be ruthless, so I was quite surprised that she was the most reluctant to kill her sisters. Mirabella is extremely kind, and I especially loved her relationship with Elizabeth. As this is quite a female driven book, I was hoping that their relationship would turn romantic. As a big part of the book revolves around a number of suitors attempting to court the Queens, I felt as if Mirabella having a secret relationship with Elizabeth would have been a great plot point, so I was a little disappointed when this did not happen. However, Mirabella is involved in a love triangle, which completely shocked me! As anyone who frequently reads my blog will know, there is little I hate more than instalove, so I hated her relationship with a boy who she saves. As I had previously liked this character, I felt betrayed that he slept with Mirabella, and sadly Mirabella lost her status as my favourite Queen.
I have to talk a little about Arsinoe, who soon replaced Mirabella as my favourite. As she is a Naturalist, she is a little more down to earth than her sisters, and spends a lot of time outdoors with her best friend, Jules. The Naturalists were my favourite, and I loved that they had animal familiars. I liked the characters from Wolf Spring the best, especially Jules. Although Arsinoe is Queen, it is Jules who is the most powerful Naturalist, and I loved her strong bond with her familiar. I disliked most of the male characters except for Billy, one of the suitors. I adored his friendship with Arsinoe, and how he was extremely loyal to her. I loved the fact that their relationship never turned romantic, as I feel as if platonic relationships between male and female characters in YA is a rare occurrence.
The Queen who I disliked the most was Katherine, as I felt as if she was the most ruthless and determined to win. She does not seem to care much about the fact that she will have to kill her sisters, and she definitely felt like the villain of the group.
I felt as if the book started out too slowly, and it wasn't until over halfway through that the pace picked up, and I started to enjoy it more. The last quarter of the book was definitely my favourite, and I loved the interactions between Mirabella and Arsinoe. One thing that I found quite odd was that the book is written in third person, present tense, and it took quite a while for me to get used to it. For some reason it feels unnatural to me, as the majority of books I read in third person are in past tense. I felt as if there were too many minor characters, as I was often confused over who was who. I find that too many minor characters often creates a distraction from the main plot, as on several occasions, I backtracked to try to find out the relationship of a minor character to one of the Queens.
As I was confused over the layout of the island, I was extremely happy to discover that the book includes a map! As a lover of Tolkien and C.S Lewis, I do love a good map. I also have to mention how much I love the fact that the book has three different covers, which are all gorgeous and eye catching. There is no doubt that these covers will stand out in a book shop!
Although the slow pace made me initially think I was in for an extremely dull read, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. As someone who is usually pretty good at predicting plot twists, I did not see the ending coming at all, and I am definitely looking forward to reading the sequel!
Three Dark Crowns is now available to purchase!