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THREE DARK CROWNS by Kendare Blake - Review

February 24, 2017





My rating: 3 of 5 stars
How I Got It: Purchased ebook

Publication Date: September 2016
Publisher: MacMillan
Point of View: 3rd Person Present
Genre: YA Dark Fantasy






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What . . . did I just read???


Okay, I'm giving "Three Dark Crowns" three stars because I did LIKE it. I just didn't . . . ENJOY it, if that makes any sense. It's not one of those books that you relax and enjoy so much. Let me try to explain better below.




Kendare Blake did a great job, in my opinion, of creating three very distinct characters in her queens. And, each in her own way, the queens are likeable. I definitely had a favorite of three, but I sympathized with all of them and didn't want to see them come to harm . . . which is unfortunate, considering the premise of this book!


The world-build was intriguing. I wasn't expecting it to be full of such dark, gritty, old-world magic. It was strange, twisted, and weirdly believable. The Goddess has a strong and terrifying presence throughout this book. Without ever actually manifesting as a character, she's one of the more profound characters, somehow. Her shadow looms over everything so powerfully!


When the action finally got going, it was breathtaking. I felt my heart in my throat over and over again, and last night, before going to bed, I almost didn't want to shut my eyes, I was still reeling so hard from one of the plot twists dealt my favorite of the three queens.


The writing was fascinating. I've never read a book in third-person present, so I wasn't sure I'd like it. Sometimes it even seemed to slip into omniscient, which was kind of interesting. Ms. Blake head-hops around upon occasion, but does it so neatly that it never jars the reader out of the story. And considering ALL OF THE CHARACTERS she's juggling in this book, she kind of needs to head-hop in order to handle all of them! She is obviously a talented writer.


All told, there were a lot of things to really like about this book, and I am glad I read it. I will probably read the sequel when it comes out. But . . . I'm still only giving it three stars.




It took forever to get going. Seriously, in a book with a premise this dark and intriguing, I was expecting some pretty thrilling opening chapters. Instead, I got . . . intriguing. But not thrilling. There's a lot--a lot, a lot, a lot--of build-up. If readers are patient enough to stick with it, there's also a lot of pay off. I'm really glad I stuck around to see where it was going. But there were several times I was tempted to skim.


IT'S SO VERY DARK. Even when it's not fast-paced, it's very dark, heavy material. Horrible things happen to characters right and left. Characters you think you love do horrible things with horrible consequences. Again, it makes for some page-turning reading on occasion (when it's not slow), but not exactly enjoyable.


It wasn't at all what I expected. I thought the book would be about three queens dueling for the crown . . . but it ended up being an entire book of set-up for three queens to eventually dual for the crown. Which is book 2. This is not the author's fault. I blame the packaging and write-up for giving me false expectations. But it took a little while for me to get over my own expectations and allow the story to simply be what it was. And what it was is an interesting book. Just not the book I was anticipating.


I'm not sure what else to say. Do I recommend it? I do . . . if you're a reader willing to stick with a slow beginning in order to get a big pay off. And keeping in mind that the big pay off isn't really three queens dueling for the crown, but simply set-up for three queens to start dueling for the crown.


And don't get too attached to anyone, or you might find your heart stomped on a few too many times!

DON'T FORGET TO JOIN MY MAILING LIST! At the end of the month, I'll be picking my Book of the Month and offering a print-book giveaway!

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