November 25th : Review of the book of the month
Publishers and writers need to be careful with their blurbs. When they sell me something with so much potential as Three Dark Crowns, they better deliver, and fast. Well, fast is the key word here. There is nothing fast about this book. But let’s go back to the start.
Three sisters doomed to kill each other so that there’s only one queen left to reign. Through different places and POV we are introduced to three young ladies raised in very different ways according to the house they belong to.
Katharine the poisonous daughter has been suffering for years, left in the hands of two sisters who don’t want to see the power leave the hands of those who can kill with a drop. While at first I was intrigued and pitied poor Kat, the story of how petite and fragile she was soon bored me. Having a young man train her and magically turn her into a stronger and more beautiful version of herself was a real joke. From fragile she soon turns into a manipulative and seductive queen thanks to kisses sessions? It felt a little far-fetched but hey, this is fantasy and there’s love in the air, so let’s pretend it’s okay.
Mirabella is a strong and beautiful elementalist. As the only one whose gift has bloomed, she is slate to be the next queen. But Mirabella disagrees with the killing part of the tradition that have ruled around the island for centuries.
Arsinoe was my favorite. I am allowed to be biased, this is my review! Favorite in my heart doesn’t mean successful in the book. I always choose the wrong characters… Arsinoe’s gift must have been lost by the French post because she’s a naturalist without power. Joyful and funny, she can rely on her best friend Jule for support and tricks to keep her lack of power quiet.
Now, do you feel you know enough about the characters? Me too. Another thing you need to know is that all the side characters are interesting and useful (most of the time), which is always a good sign. I did feel the connection, or lack of, between the sisters was too inconsistent for me to feel the awful dilemma of killing your own blood to get a throne.
No one really wishes to be a queen.
The books then goes on and on about every sister’s life, with little development for so long I thought I was going to DNF the book. I should not be mean, things do happen. They go buy jewels and dresses. Kisses are exchanged. Friends talk and eat. People travel.
There’s a fair share of love. Friendships, romance, it spices things up a little. Not enough though, I wish I could have sparkled the pages with red chilli. Still I’m interested in how a certain love triangle, if it can be called this way, will end up. Team Mira or team Jule?
I do believe world-building and a strong characterization is essential to fantasy. I choose the genre to get immersed in something very different from reality and I need as much detail as possible to create the world in my head. But there is a difference between interesting information and general life dump. Three Dark Crowns was a little too heavy on the slow pace and too light on action for me to enjoy it as much as I had hoped.
Three born queens, two must die. A promise of blood, battles, and horrendous deaths. A scream for drama and manipulation and deadly plans. Well, you’ll have to wait for it. Wait for … 293 pages. Yes, you read that right.
I won’t go into details because if I do, you’ll be even more bored than I was when I was reading, as you’ll already know about the whys and hows. I would not be doing you a favor by revealing much about the reasons behind the One Queen rule and the traditions around it. But if you stick to the story, the last part will throw you into action and drama. Some action and lots of drama.
I might have had a better experience had I known this was the first book in a series. I expected a standalone, silly me. It’s not a bad book, it’s a slow book with plenty of potential.
So choose a side, pray for your queen, and drink lots of tea to help you with the length of the book.
Three Dark Crowns is a : HYPE