Natalie Monroe's Reviews > Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
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2.5 stars

"Three dark sisters
All fair to be seen,
Two to devour
And one to be queen"




Three Dark Crowns offends me. It promised me scheming sisters and political intrigue and power plays. Instead I get this:



And this:



And a whole lot of this:



80% of the book is the sisters (Katharine, Mirabella, and Arinsoe) waffling around, training, and getting acquainted with their love interests. What's each island's culture? How did the tradition of Triplets Hunger Games begin? No fucking idea, but look, dreamy eyes!



The romance itself isn't good either. Each sister has her own POV and love interest, but because of the multiple-POVs, none of them are fleshed out. Other than the sisters, side characters like Jules and Natalia have point-of-view chapters, too. It's a curious mixture of too much going on yet nothing happens. While I'm glad each sister queen has the chance to tell her side of the story, the feeling is dampened when it becomes a detriment rather than an advantage.

(view spoiler)

Perhaps it's the way Three Dark Crowns is written, but I couldn't relate to any of the sisters. It's third-person narrative at its worst, flat and emotionless. Plus, the sisters are individually insufferable. Katharine is a cowering sack of flour. Mirabella is a starry-eyed idealist with poor planning skills. Arinsoe reads like she's twelve and stamps her foot, pretending to be a strong female, but makes mistake after mistake.

Some of their plotlines make no sense. Take Katharine's for instance. She receives seduction lessons from Pietyr, nephew of her mentor Natalia, to ensure her sisters do not get suitors. What's the point? So Mirabella and Arinsoe don't get suitors at the Quickening, a festival after which they can begin killing each other. They're humiliated and will probably act more ruthlessly against Katharine during in the coming year. Getting a king-consort isn't essential to winning the crown. It's just a way to set up her romance. I would rather see her sabotaging her sisters to make up for her weak gift, or work through the Black Council to push through a law that determines only a poisoner can be crowned.

There's a brilliant opportunity for female friendship, which is absolutely squandered. Jules, through which we first see Arinsoe, could have been a real breakout character. Yet she seems more interested in her boyfriend Joseph than her BFF's impending death. One of the reasons Three Dark Crowns' premise appealed to me is that it could morph into a beautiful story of girl power and sisterhood. Sadly, Jules's storyline is reflective of the actual product.

On whole, Three Dark Crowns feels like a prequel. The last 20% is amazing and should have been put in the front after a few lead-in chapters, the romances woven along the excitement and danger of the Ascension Year. As it currently stands, we have to wait until the next book to see the queens fight it out.

"They'll all pay for this," she said against his shoulder. "They will bleed and scream and get what they're owed."




More of this, please? Don't let me down again.

My review of One Dark Throne
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Reading Progress

April 10, 2015 – Shelved
April 10, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
October 3, 2016 – Started Reading
October 4, 2016 –
26.0% "The first chapter was brilliant. Now it's a dartboard of new characters and long-lost friends that I don't give a fuck about.\n\n"
October 6, 2016 –
83.0% "Whenever the multiple romances rear their heads:\n\n"
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: boooring
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: cheesy-cheesy-cheesy
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: could-have-been-better
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: derp-moments
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: dragged-on-too-much
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: great-concept-poor-execution
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: bad-beginning-loved-the-rest
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: hate-the-characters-hate-the-book
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: i-spy-something-pointy
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: insta-love-add-water
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: not-as-good-as-i-expected
October 6, 2016 – Finished Reading
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: the-earth-is-flat

Comments Showing 1-50 of 55 (55 new)


message 1: by Veronica (new) - added it

Veronica Morfi That doesn't sound so good... I prefer badassery to romance. :(


Natalie Monroe Veronica wrote: "That doesn't sound so good... I prefer badassery to romance. :("

And it's not developed well either. There are a total of 4 romances and everything was stretched too thin to be meaningful.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this, Natalie!
Great review btw :)


Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔ Sorry to hear you didn't like this. Though I do agree it reads like more of a romance novel than a dark fantasy at this point, and I think that was okay with me because I kind of expected it going in. But I also agree the latter half held a lot more promise. Hopefully the sequel actually delivers on the promise of a dark, bloody, power struggle with plenty of revenge, betrayal and deadly revelations.


message 5: by runedbooks (new) - added it

runedbooks Dammit, I so wanted this book to be good. To have an amazing sounding premise and then the content being actually suckish...yuck. Too much romance will be the death of me. Write it on my tombstone :/


Fatima I COMPLETELY agree with your review! I feel like this book had so much potential but a lot of it was just so underdeveloped.


Natalie Monroe @Lucila Thanks!

@Cindy I was misled by the blurb hahaha. I thought we were going to witness the Ascension Year in this book, but it was just the setup.

@Runedbooks I wouldn't mind if the romance was actually good. They're all rushed and half-developed molds of what were really good ideas.

@Fatima RIGHT? So much wasted potential.


Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔ True the blurb was indicative of a dark and deadly tale, but we didn't even get close to that until maybe like the last 1/3-1/4 of the book lol


Natalie Monroe Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔ wrote: "True the blurb was indicative of a dark and deadly tale, but we didn't even get close to that until maybe like the last 1/3-1/4 of the book lol"

Exactly!


message 10: by Erin (new) - rated it 3 stars

Erin I pretty pissed by the way she represented the females in this book. Katherine has to be taught how to be promiscuous in order to grab a potential king consort's attention?


Natalie Monroe Erin wrote: "I pretty pissed by the way she represented the females in this book. Katherine has to be taught how to be promiscuous in order to grab a potential king consort's attention?"

Mm, I actually had no problem with this particular aspect. Katharine has been very sheltered all her life. It would make sense that she's a little ignorant and naive with regard to expressing herself sexually. But I agree that the girls could have been represented better.


message 12: by Inês (new)

Inês Natalie, I only realized you didn't want book recs after sending you one. I'm sorry for the inconvenience :)


Natalie Monroe Inês wrote: "Natalie, I only realized you didn't want book recs after sending you one. I'm sorry for the inconvenience :)"

Don't worry about it! ^^


message 14: by J (new) - added it

J Juers Really!!!! i just bought this! umpfhhhh well that just sucks :(


message 15: by J (new) - added it

J Juers OMG! And I just noticed Emily's review!! I need to stop going to barnes and noble without doing my research


Jamie (The Kansan Reader) I about bought this but something told me to buy Krampus by Brom instead. Good thing. Great review.


Natalie Monroe @J Aw, that's a shame. D:

@Jamie Krampus is amazing. I hope you like it!


Julie Li Spot on


Julie Li Especially the Joseph comment


Natalie Monroe Julie wrote: "Especially the Joseph comment"

I despise Joseph. He can go fall in a hole for all I care.


Kumari I agree with this so much. Especially the part about Joseph. He has no morals and it's sickening.


Natalie Monroe Kumari wrote: "I agree with this so much. Especially the part about Joseph. He has no morals and it's sickening."

Right? Mirabelle better kick him to the curb.


Unicorn this is so accurate. i thought there was gonna be bloodshed and fighting and a lot of dirty politics but all i got is dumb relationships and the stupid queens expressing their worries. I really don't give a damn


Natalie Monroe Ghada wrote: "this is so accurate. i thought there was gonna be bloodshed and fighting and a lot of dirty politics but all i got is dumb relationships and the stupid queens expressing their worries. I really don..."

Exactly. A waste of a great premise.


message 25: by Amy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy Risner I just finished Three Dark Crowns and completely agree with everything you said.

I was actually hoping for a Mirabella/Elizabeth romance (those two seemed to have even more chemistry than Jules/Joseph) but then nope. Joseph had to go be a tool instead.

I am so disappointed. I had such extremely high expectations for this book.


Natalie Monroe Amy wrote: "I just finished Three Dark Crowns and completely agree with everything you said.

I was actually hoping for a Mirabella/Elizabeth romance (those two seemed to have even more chemistry than Jules/J..."


Me too. I really hope Joseph and Mirabella aren't endgame.


rikki This is so true! I hated how terribly executed this idea was! Also, I thought there would be a Mirabella/Elizabeth romance too, but we get a half-baked insta-love with the first boy Mirabella meets. Ugh.


Natalie Monroe Rukhau wrote: "This is so true! I hated how terribly executed this idea was! Also, I thought there would be a Mirabella/Elizabeth romance too, but we get a half-baked insta-love with the first boy Mirabella meets..."

A Mirabella/Elizabeth romance would be awesome.


Anna-Maria Morgenstern This review is perfect. Exactly how I feel about this book!


Natalie Monroe Anna-Maria wrote: "This review is perfect. Exactly how I feel about this book!"

Thank you!


Jessica I'm seeing a lot of this about Joseph, but personally I thought it was all the "price" paid by the low magic Madrigal and Arsinoe used to try to do a love spell, before Arsinoe then threw it in the fire and F'd it all up. The low magic that made the zombie bear also F'd up, so I had to wonder how Arsinoe, who otherwise seemed like she had a good head on her shoulders, kept agreeing to try more and more low magic. What could possibly go wrong...AGAIN?!


Jessica I mean, Jules and Joseph were getting on just fine, but then Madrigal decided to try to interfere by doing a love spell for them anyway. But then Arsinoe freaked at the last second and threw the binding in the fire. So not only was there going to be a price to pay anyway, then it all went to the dogs when she did that. I figured that's why Joseph knew he loved Jules, but then it was destined to get royally screwed up thanks to their meddling.


Natalie Monroe Jessica wrote: "I mean, Jules and Joseph were getting on just fine, but then Madrigal decided to try to interfere by doing a love spell for them anyway. But then Arsinoe freaked at the last second and threw the bi..."

I hadn't considered that. Good point.


message 34: by Kira (new) - rated it 1 star

Kira Jeppesen I started it. The first little poem was so badass. But fuck. This book is so boring, it had so much potential to be so badass! But all they do it basically fall in love... I am okay with love interest but come on? I have ever been this disappointed in a book before. I'm not done with it, but I have yet to see fighting and I think I'm like 100 pages in. Don't buy it. Don't waste your time and money in it...


Natalie Monroe Kira wrote: "I started it. The first little poem was so badass. But fuck. This book is so boring, it had so much potential to be so badass! But all they do it basically fall in love... I am okay with love inter..."

The fighting doesn't begin until the very end. You can basically skim until that part.


Aya  (2am Reads) Can we talk about how nobody thought to give future queens any lessons in ruling, strategy, surviving, etc? All they focused on were their powers.


Natalie Monroe Aya wrote: "Can we talk about how nobody thought to give future queens any lessons in ruling, strategy, surviving, etc? All they focused on were their powers."

YES.


message 38: by Luna (new) - rated it 3 stars

Luna I could NOT HANDLE mirabella. I sort of half understand why Joseph was being such an ass, because of the meddling of that selfish bitch madrigal. But mirabella?? She new about Jules but noooo she only cared about herself. Blake tried to make her the sweet selfless sister, but really she was the worst of them all.


Natalie Monroe Luna wrote: "I could NOT HANDLE mirabella. I sort of half understand why Joseph was being such an ass, because of the meddling of that selfish bitch madrigal. But mirabella?? She new about Jules but noooo she o..."

I thought her selfless personality was irritating, tbh. She's so blah.


Theresa Koltes Totally agree!!!!


Nikasbooklounge This is exactly what I thought. 100% agreed!!!


Sarah Weighing in on the Joseph debate, I read it more as the result of the debacle of Madrigal meddling. But I agree it reads like a prequel. The rule that no queen may take action before the ascension sort of fouls up the plot. It makes sense as a rule, but so many of the rules set out in the book are broken (and unexplained as to why they are allowed to be broken), but never that one (on purpose). So it leaves the book with little action until the end when they all come together.


Natalie Monroe Sarah wrote: "Weighing in on the Joseph debate, I read it more as the result of the debacle of Madrigal meddling. But I agree it reads like a prequel. The rule that no queen may take action before the ascension ..."

I have high hopes for One Dark Throne. It's when the fighting and political scheming (should) begin.


message 44: by Ash (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ash Oh no he doesn’t just make out with Mirabella, he sleeps with her multiple times, possibly has sex with her in the woods...he’s literally the reason I ended up so angry at this book because I liked Jules the most out of all characters!


Natalie Monroe Ash wrote: "Oh no he doesn’t just make out with Mirabella, he sleeps with her multiple times, possibly has sex with her in the woods...he’s literally the reason I ended up so angry at this book because I liked..."

I was honestly skimming at that point, so I didn't pick up on it.


Stephanie Brown I completely agree with everything you said, the only difference for me is that even though the last few chapters were much better than the rest of the book, it wasn't enough to get me interested in reading next book. I just didn't care about any of the characters.


Natalie Monroe Stephanie wrote: "I completely agree with everything you said, the only difference for me is that even though the last few chapters were much better than the rest of the book, it wasn't enough to get me interested i..."

I read the sequel. You're not missing out.


Jasmine soo true


message 49: by Kelsey (new) - added it

Kelsey This is perfect.


Natalie Monroe Kelsey (there's something about km) wrote: "This is perfect."

Thanks!


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