Book Review: Three Dark Crowns + OwlCrate Unboxing

This month’s OwlCrate theme was “Darkness,” and I had been looking forward to it ever since I had received notice of the theme. The box did not disappoint: The items were fantastic, and the book was loads of fun. Read on to see details of what was included in the box and to read a review of the ever-so-creepy Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake.

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Here’s what this box contained: 

  1. A candle from The Melting Library called “Celaena’s Cake” (inspired by the Throne of Glass series). It smells like delicious cake, but isn’t overpowering (as some dessert-inspired candles can be).
  2. A canvas pouch inspired by the Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children movie made by Out of Print. It’s perfect to hold your tablet or book to keep it clean and protected. The quote on the pouch says “Strange, I thought, how you can be living your dreams and your nightmares at the very same time.”
  3. An awesome bath fizzer from Da Bomb. This is a fortune-telling bath bomb: ask a question, use the bath bomb, and an answer will appear! FUN! I feel like I also need to mention that these bath bombs are made by a pair of entrepreneurial teenage sisters. How cool is that? I had never heard of this company before, but now I’m completely obsessed with them. They have a beautiful product, so I hope it works as fantastic as it looks.
  4. An exclusive Six of Crows bookmark made by Evie Bookish. It has a quote for the novel on one side, “When everyone knows you’re a monster you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing,” and on the other side it has the gang’s slogan, “No mourners, no funerals.”
  5. Some fun odds and ends: A button inspired by the theme of this box (it has an owl on it). A fortune telling “cootie catcher” (remember making those ALL THE TIME as a kid?) inspired by Three Dark Crowns, and the first book in a new serialized series: Remade: Shadows and Dreams (Season 1, Episode 1).

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    owlcrate unboxing 1
  6. Lastly, of course, was the book Three Dark Crowns, which came with a handwritten note from the author as well as a signed book plate! Read on for my thoughts on the novel.
Book Review: Three Dark Crowns + OwlCrate UnboxingThree Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Series: Untitled #1
Published by HarperTeen on September 20th 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: Hardback
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy from The Book Depository

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 stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

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.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

Three dark queens
are born in a glen,
sweet little triplets
will never be friends

Three dark sisters
all fair to be seen,
two to devour
and one to be Queen

I absolutely love the concept of this book. Three powerful sisters who have to kill each other to determine who will be the queen?! I say HECK YES to darkness like that.

What I loved:  

  • The world. I loved the world SO MUCH, because it’s so FREAKING WEIRD. You’ve got the poisoner folk who relish eating poisoned food to showcase their power. They are so creepy and perfect, and their above-it-all attitude is excellent. I LOVED THEM. Then there’s the naturalists who have animal familiars and can commune with nature in a way that allows them to control how animals and plants behave. They’re easily the most likable of the bunch. And lastly you have the elemantalists who can control earth, wind, water, and fire. They’re cocky and mysterious.
  • That you end up loving all three sisters for different reasons. Blake did a great job making each sister very different yet very likable.
  • That their love interests are all very different how they’re relationships develop fit the strange, powerful world that these girls live in. Yes, a couple of them are sort of “instant” love interests, but it didn’t bother me too much.
  • The HUGE twist at the end was freaking awesome and so unexpected.

What was meh: 

  • A lot of people have complained about the pacing. I enjoyed the book enough that it didn’t bother me, but I can certainly see why people would complain. When you start the book the girls are turning 16 so you know that it’s time for the ascension year (when the queens are allowed to kill each other to determine the true queen) to begin. You assume that you’re going to be reading a book about the queens killing each other, but actually, most of the book takes place prior to the start of the ascension year.
  • THERE IS A GINORMOUS CLIFF HANGER AT THE END. While I totally loved it (see last point in previous section), I wish this book wasn’t such an obvious prelude to a series. There’s so much left to be explained and there is still SO MUCH to happen in these books. I just wish more of what you expected from the story actually happened.

Have you read it? Can we talk spoilers for a second?

  • JoesphView Spoiler »
  • Pietyr. View Spoiler »
  • Mirabella’s memories. View Spoiler »
  • Arsinoe: OMGView Spoiler »

final star count
single starsingle starsingle starsingle star
This would have been 5 stars if there had been more resolution to the story. It was still a super fun read and I’m way excited for the next one (which will probably come out in 1,000,000 years).

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chime in
Have you read this yet? If so, can we please discuss my spoiler section? I NEED someone to talk about this with. If you haven’t, what do you think? Going to add it to your to-read list?

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  1. Ooooh! Now I’m even more excited to read my copy. I’m not going to lie, when I got it in my owlcrate I was kind of meh about it. It definitely wasn’t on my radar or something that I was eagerly anticipating, but now so many people are talking about it and everyone is saying such great things! Now I can’t wait to get to it! Great review! 😀

    1. I hope that you like it! Be warned about the pacing and the fact that the book definitely doesn’t cover as much ground as you’re expecting it to, but as long as you know that I think you’ll be okay! 😀

    1. Oops! Ignore my last comment. For some reason I thought this comment was on a different blog post (of a book I hated). I really enjoyed Three Dark Crowns, so I hope you do, too! XD