Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake...

Publish date- October 1st, 2016.
Publisher- Macmillan.
RRP- $16.99 (AUD)



(A Brief) Synopsis:
Three sisters are brought up together until they are six. Then they are separated-
-one to live with the naturalists, people who have a magical talent at growing plants, understanding nature, who all have a familiar that lives by their side always
-one to live with the poisoners, people who add fatal plants and creatures to their food and relish it, who will teach their queen, over years, how to live despite the odds
-one to the elementals, people who can control the weather and move fire and water with the slightest gesture
With their new families, they train until they are sixteen. And then it is time to fight for the throne.

Thank you to Macmillan AU for this review ARC.



What I thought:
I expected quite a variety of things from Three Dark Crowns, and that variety altered as I read (and began to realise I wasn't in for quite what I had been hoping); it's pitched as, essentially, a story of three sisters who must fight for the chance to rule. Two will die at the hands of their siblings, and the last one standing will have won a bloody crown. There's such a darkness, such an intense and perceptible brutality, and I did expect that to be very much present- to be the guiding point of the book, really- only, it didn't. And that really, really frustrated me.

I can fairly well split my reading experience into three distinct parts:
The Beginning- wherein I was mightily intrigued and quite enjoyed everything, and the potential that lay ahead
The Middle- wherein I took a break, got back into the story, met with quite a few disappointments and for some reason read faster than ever
The End- wherein I became slightly invested and was simultaneously annoyed that this was clearly part of a series (which I didn't know until about halfway through) and wasn't going to even begin to wrap up

Each part had its fair share of good and unhappy plot points, some were much more enjoyable than others, and some read a lot more smoothly than others. I got to know all the characters well, from Arisnoe, the Naturalist who isn't able to bring forth her gift; Mirabella, the sister almost everyone expects to become Queen, for her power is unrivalled; to Katherine, who is weak rather than strong when she takes poison, and who unexpectedly blossomed; I had rather expected to prefer one sister over the others, and yet they all had their good moments and bad. They all had their strength, although Katherine and Arisnoe both doubt in theirs, and they were all distinct. I enjoyed each POV, none more than any other, but I never grew overly fond of any one of the sisters. I wasn't attached at all, not to a single character, and that definitely affected how much I enjoyed the novel.

There was a fair amount of romance in this book, something I hadn't really thought to expect, and almost all of it left me unsatisfied. Every character either falls for a guy, or has their romance set up for the rest of the series, and with two out of three of the girls I didn't feel it was necessary or really added to the plot at all. Additionally, I didn't really like- and certainly didn't love- any of the couplings.
Having all these romantic sub-plots also left me unhappy for another reason, because there was real chemistry between Arisnoe and Jules (the girl who is her sort of protector and also bestie)! SO MUCH CHEMISTRY. From a few chapters in I was eagerly awaiting their finally realising their feelings for each other, because these two meant the world to each other, and they showed it. I think they even said it, at least once. There was the yet more chemistry with Mirabella and Elizabeth, a priestess whom she befriends; they meet and have this instant connection, Mirabella become open and caring (which we hadn't really seen before) and we see her in a new light. And then, with no lead up at all, a guy is thrown in and all that is gone.

This is, unfortunately, another first-in-a-series where I'm happy to stop at the beginning. I can see where the next books will take this series, but I'd much have preferred it to be a standalone, for things to wrap up and not only just start at the end of this one, and I don't really have the investment to read three books to see how everything pans out.

Trigger Warnings: Physical abuse/manipulation; self harm (for the purpose of a spell and not to injure, yet depicted multiple times); animal cruelty/intentional deaths.
Please note tha these Trigger Warnings aren't extensive. From now, however, on I will be taking active note for all books I review here- these were two that stood out as I was finishing the book.

Rating: Hmm/Poor.
There was so much I wanted from this, and I didn't really get much of what I had hoped for/expected at all. It was still an enjoyable read, for the most part, but I found myself unsatisfied when it came to what I had thought I was going into.

17 comments:

  1. This sounded really intriguing, and I loved Anna Dressed in Nightmares, so I was hoping to pick this one up soon. I'm disappointed that it's a series too, I'll probably wait a bit then to get into it, and see how people like the next book in the series. It's too bad this didn't live up to expectations!

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    1. I haven't read any of Blake's other work (I tried Anna briefly yearsssss ago, but it wasn't for me at the time), but I was so intrigued by TDC. Ooh, that sounds like a good idea, Charlene - especially since you'll be able to check out a bunch of reviews inbetween the publishing and see whether it's a book you want to prioritise.

      Ah, well. It happens! I'm sure heaps of people will love it! xx

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  2. I absolutely love this cover better! I've yet to read my copy but I just picked it up last weekend. I must say this is not looking like a book that I'll enjoy. Boo.

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    1. It's nice, huh? I like it a lot, and it was so enjoyable to look at when I took a break from reading. I do love the US cover (I think it's the US cover, at least...) with the three crowns? I like that one a lot, and have since I first saw it. It's so lovely.

      I'm hoping you will enjoy it (enjoying books is the best!), or at least take something from it that makes the reading worthwhile. I'll look out for your review, to see how you go.
      xx

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  3. I'm not really convinced on whether I should pick this book up, I love the sound of the sisters and the darker fantasy turn but a shame that the romance kind of drags it down beacuse of the romantic subplots. Lovely review Romi!

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    1. You might enjoy it - there's pretty great world-building, even if I couldn't personally say the same about the character growth. There's such a lot of potential and I'm sure that's going to come out in the future books (and hopefully the romance will feel less of a driving point to the plot as things move on) - just the fact I was wanting a standalone and realised too late that wasn't what I was in for, it was definitely frustrating (having so much left open, ect.).

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  4. Aw, it's a disappointing to find out that this one wasn't as dark as expected and that it has unnecessary romance. I loved Anna Dressed in Blood but the sequel and Blake's other books have been enjoyable but not as great.

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    1. I might have been able to enjoy/appreciate it more, had I not expected it to be standalone (which is definitely a big point in my disappointment, and something that I can't blame anyone but myself for) - I may not have read it, because I'm not totally keen on investing myself in more series' at the moment, but if I had I'd probably have been more likely to be willing to hold out for the third book and all that will happen in that.
      If you give this one a try, I hope it's enjoyable!

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  5. I've seen so many people get disappointed by this book that I don't even know if I'm still excited for it or not. Maybe, maybe not. But ugh, after knowing about the romance sub-plots I'm not really looking forward to it. I want magic, fights and blood! Is there any of it in there? 👀

    Anyway, great review, Romi! Sorry you didn't got to really enjoy it but oh well, that happens! Let's hope your next read is better! x

    L. @ Leeve Reads

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    1. I actually didn't read any reviews, since I tend to like reading certain books without anyone elses thoughts - unless it's a book I'm wanting to find out whether I want to read, ect. So I saw just one star rating, before diving in! It was definitely not what I was expecting, which was a disappointment, but it was such a neat idea and hopwfully that continues to be developed in the next two books in a way that is really excellent.
      There's a little of all three, but only a little. Nowhere near as much as I expected from reading the blurb.

      Thanks, sweetie! It's a shame, but you're right: it happens. I hope your current read it great, too! xx

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  6. Stories with siblings intrigue me, so I may pick it up in the future but with these thoughts in mind. It seems like a lot of my friends are split on this one but I really appreciate thoughtful reviews!

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    1. This one certainly had an interesting sibling relationship, and although I didn't really touch on that it was a part of the book that I quite enjoyed- and think I would have enjoyed much more, had it been developed more (yet again I think this is something that will happen in the next two books, but if you are invested and want to follow the story over the series, then I think it's worth a try! Things could develop in a way that's really intriguing.
      xx

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  7. Omg what a bummer! I was so, so intrigued about this book, and was hoping for bloodshed, ruthlessness and just outright action. Sounds like another book that lost its way just because it's the first in a series. :( And what a disappointment to hear that despite its premise, there's such a big focus on the romance. WHY?! Thanks for the brutally honest review Romi, probably won't be picking this one up any time soon!

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    1. I was definitely anticipating a lot of ruthlessness, particularly, and really - at least from the three Queens - there isn't much at all, which was a big disappointment. If I had known what it was going to be about, and not anticipated things that weren't going to be present, I would probably have appreciated TDC a whole lot more, really, although the ruthlessness of these sisters is such a driving point of the blurb, and such an interesting plot point, that it was one of the main reasons I was so intrigued in the first place.

      I did anticipate romance, for sure - this follows the line of ~queens have to be married~ but what really frustrated me was that there were some really great potential pairings between the queens and their friends, that had excellent chemistry, and yet each girl was paired up with a guy. It seemed really unnecessary when there was something great already there.

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  8. Well, I'm not entirely surprised. Is it horrible to say that I kinda knew the book would turn out like this even though I haven't read it? I didn't request it because I knew that it wouldn't be brutal, and because I just knew - deep down - that all the sisters were going to be paired off with a guy. And I didn't want to read that story again. I have read that story SO MANY TIMES, and it just doesn't give me anything anymore.

    It's disappointing that there actually were some things that you liked, and they could have been elaborated on to make this a more enjoyable book for you.

    Lovely review, as always <3

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    1. It's such a shame, because I had read the blurb and been intrigued but not invested, so I didn't request it either - but I was pretty excited to recieve an ARC, because of that previous ~intrigue~ so for it to be such a disappointment on a bunch of levels, and never really, in my experience, develop into something that could have been really stellar, was a huge let down. I also feel like I invested myself pretty heavily into reading this, for some reason, and yet I didn't come away with anything much at all, and that's a huge shame.
      I was so wishing, especially when I saw that chemistry in two different friendships, that the characters were going to not accept the fact they had to pick a guy to marry, because they were going to be queen and they would marry their best friend who they obviously adored. But no. Even though I felt that chemistry on multiple occasions, it never turned into anything and that was one of the biggest disappointments.

      I feel like, had this been a standalone as I had initially believed it to be, I'd have enjoyed it so much more because closure and actually knowing what happens, but seeing only these fragemts of the whole story was so frustrating when I knew I wasn't keen enough to continue on with the series.

      Thanks, sweetie.xx

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  9. I'm sorry you didn't like this book much! It's on my to read list because I saw some people liked it and the story sounded interesting, but I would have expected something different from the book than your descriptions say it actually is. I'm not sure I want to pick it up now!

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Have a beautiful day.x