Emma Giordano's Reviews > Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
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3.5 stars! I struggled with this start to a new series, but I’m currently reading the sequel and am SERIOUSLY enjoying it, so it was worthwhile for me to push through the first novel!

I will always admit when I feel choosing the audio version of a book may have impacted my reading experience. I restarted the first few hours of Three Dark Crowns about four times because I just could not keep track of the story. And that was my biggest issue with this story – I just could not get engaged. There’s a HUGE cast, a wide variety of perspectives, and many different locations and I struggled to keep everything at the forefront of the story while listening, but that’s not automatically a bad thing. I feel it is more a personal thing/my reading experience which caused me to have an extremely difficult time staying present in the story and remembering all the details and it’s possible the audio version had an impact on that.

I am also afraid my expectations may have influenced my reading experience as well. I believed Three Dark Crowns was going to be an epic battle between sisters for the crown, but I’ve found that’s more the focus of the sequel, One Dark Throne. Three Dark Crowns is VERY character based and the majority of the novel is more focused on getting to know the characters, understanding the magic system and monarchy, and “setting up” the events to take place in the ascension year. I think had I known this beforehand, I would have enjoyed it more so I could appreciate the detail put into character development and political ties without waiting for a greater amount of action scenes, because those are all things I really enjoy in fantasy novels! If you like a more character-driven fantasy story with political intrigue, I feel Three Dark Crowns would be of interest to you. If you’re looking for the story of sisters competing to the death, I believe you’ll need to keep reading for book two.

I feel the world and characters were really well-developed. There’s so much care put into developing the history of the Island, the workings of the monarchy’s rituals/traditions, and tensions between different sects of the island and the queens that represent them. The magic system really impressed me. It is much grander and more expansive than I initially anticipated, and I cannot wait to see it develop in future books. The side characters did not grasp me all that much but Katherine, Mirabella, Arsinoe and Jules were all very unique and I enjoyed reading from their perspective. I adored each of their individual character arcs and how they develop through the story. Despite my troubles staying engaged with the story, there is so much to love about it.

I also want to add that although I felt the beginning was very slow paced and there weren’t that many significant, intense scenes occurring, the story really picked up by the end. The climax of the story/final cliffhanger really grasped me and I’m so happy I continue with this novel to the end. By the conclusion of the novel, I ended up totally falling in love with this series and consider it a worthwhile read as a whole.

Overall, Three Dark Crowns wasn’t my favorite reading experience in the history of literature, but I really enjoyed the story and am already continuing on with the series. One Dark Throne has already stepped up the game and I am so much more enthralled with the story. I really can’t wait to continue with this series!
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Reading Progress

February 19, 2018 – Started Reading
February 23, 2018 – Shelved
February 23, 2018 – Shelved as: audiobooks
February 28, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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Jamie I had the exact same experience, even though I read the physical book! There were just too many names and characters to keep track of. I think I'll finally pick up the sequel based on your recommendation.


Monika That's weird. I am currently listening the audio version, and I didn't have a hard time distinguishing the characters. Even though I am a bit new to audio books and still have a hard time concentrating. Now that you mentioned it, it does have a huge cast!
I think it helps that (at least at the beginning) the cast is divided in three, i.e. you have less characters per chapter than overall. Also, names are mentioned way too often, so that helps too. :)


Norah🌺 I struggled with this two and once I finished it. I wondered if I should pick up the sequel. Thankfully, I did and I loved it. I think Kendare Blake is coming with the next book in the series and I’m so excited for that


message 4: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura I have struggled getting into this book ( I am on page 160 right now) I've been told to keep reading, it's slow up until page 200, so I'm almost there! I'll probably pick this back up once I finish up ACOTAR.


message 5: by Tib (new)

Tib I had to take a break from the audiobook after restarting it so many times. I really want to read this book, but purely listening to it just doesn't seem the way to do it for me and I have so many physical reads going on at once right now, it's just going to have to wait a little bit longer.


Courtney I have been taking notes as I go along. It seems to help with the many characters and different plots.


message 7: by Elesa (new) - added it

Elesa Lesperance I agree it was a little hard to get into but I'm at page 203 and it's getting really good


Lizzy (Bent Bookworm) I find a lot of first books to be sort of slow going - there's so much to set up as far as characters and world-building, especially in fantasy type books. I still need to read this one so I'm super excited to hear the sequel is going so much better for you!


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