Book Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Synopsis

In 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.

My thoughts..

I think the world of Three Dark Crowns has a lot of potential, I absolutely love the concept and I loved the different types of powers. I did initially struggle with the different POVS at first, I thought each chapter was going to focus on each Queen, but then the side characters came into play. The problem is this didn’t leave much for character development. I kind of like Katharine and Mirabella and Jose was promising until the boy drama. In the end the only thing I can say with real certainty is that I absolutely hate Joseph.

The pacing of this book was also a little slow for me, I felt like there was not much going on until the end and then things happened too quickly. I think this may be down to personal taste but I hate it when I’m waiting for things to happen and then when they do its feels rushed and falls flat.

I think this book would have benefited from less character POVS so I could have got a deeper sense of the characters of the three queens. This would have made me care more about their friendships and their love lives. I also think the book would have benefited from more in-depth world building, there was a lot that wasn’t explained which strayed from intriguing into confusing. Why the world is the way it is in the first place isn’t really explained. I was left with a lot of questions. How do they know each new Queen will have triplets? I mean this isn’t exactly a normal pregnancy right? Why are they on a shrouded island all by themselves? Where did the old Queen go? Why does she have to leave the babies? Why do the other two Queens have to die for one to rule? Why do they have to be 16 to do it?

I think at times this book fell into a trap of young adult fantasy cliches. I don’t need love triangles and BFF relationships and insta-love with strangers who look weirdly like my girlfriend’s best friend. I felt like none of the males added anything to the story and the most interesting relationships for me was between the sisters which is barely shown.

This book definitely has an element of mystery that suggested that all was not as it seemed which tentatively hooked me in. I thought I knew what was going to happen but this book didn’t end how I expected. I am definitely intrigued enough to continue on with the series.

 

Book Review – Ten Thousand Skies Above You By Claudia Gray

Synopsis

“Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents’ invention, to cross through to alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurt the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked, and his consciousness is scattered across multiple dimensions.

The hunt for each splinter of Paul’s soul sends Marguerite racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris, where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each dimension brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with every trial she faces, she begins to question the one constant she’s found between the worlds: their love for each other”

Book Review

This book was better than the first one for me as Marguerite and Co are finally beginning to think about the ethical implications of what they are doing with the Firebird technology. The far-reaching and wider implications of their actions which I felt weren’t addressed in the first book were finally discussed. Although I still think these amazing scientists should have considered what was glaringly obvious before, I’m glad they are finally realising that what they are doing is pretty messed up.

I would have enjoyed this book more if the plot hadn’t still tried to cling to a non-existent love triangle that has clearly already been resolved. As Paul is pretty absence throughout most of the book it is Theo that Marguerite is spending her time with, cue declarations of unrequited love and weird scenes of them entering an alternative dimension where their alternate selves had just had sex. On the plus side I was getting a bit sick of Marguerite thinking in every universe everywhere her and Paul would always end up together so I think she needed a little dose of reality.

One thing I did love about this book is that Marguerite spends a lot of her time judging other people for the actions of their alternate selves. I thought this is massively hypocritical considering what she got up to in the first book and also pretty dumb to think every version of you is gonna be a decent person. It was nice when she finally learned that with an infinite number of universes and infinite possibilities there are worlds where she herself isn’t such a good person.

I think this book did a nice job of bring a little dose of reality to a young adult fantasy romance. It was an entertaining read and there was a few good twists and turns along the way to that cliffhanger ending.

Book Review – The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Synopsis 

” Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.”

Book Review

If you want a young adult fantasy that is light and fluffy with lots of beautiful descriptions of food and clothes and 19th century Russia then look no further. The Crown’s Game has royalty and magic and masked balls and beautiful dresses and love triangles. Which would be perfect except it completely lacks any of the tension, drama and intrigue that the synopsis promises.

Any slight mystery or intrigue or question the reader would wonder about or ask was resolved within a few paragraphs of the issue being raised. I always knew what was happening next – nothing was left to be resolved later. This made the book at times boring and much of the drama was forced unnecessarily. There was NO REASON at all for Sergei to do what he did. Nikolai even after having it CLEARLY explained to him that one of them will die at the end of the game, no matter what happens, still takes it upon himself to try and murder his opponent from the beginning. Pasha’s only reason for existing seem to be so he can see Vika ONE TIME, fall in love and create the not even remotely needed love triangle. The love at first sight thing to me is tired, but The Crown’s Game takes it to extremes to force a love triangle that has no reason to exist. Who would choose Pasha over Nikolai anyway?! It’s not even a difficult choice and like everything in The Crown’s Game this issue is neatly resolved.

Also side note but was still annoying. The book focuses on magic and says that the enchanters are able to draw on only Russian magic. Each country has it’s own “well” let’s say, so you can’t steal it from other countries cos it wouldn’t answer to you. There’s a limited amount of magic in the “well” and so there can’t be two enchanters using it up, hence why the The Crown’s Game exists. Okay makes sense. However throughout the book they mention that the magic only exists when people believe it does. So when the game commences why does NO ONE believe in magic? Everything that is done throughout the Game the general public are confused by and dismiss as trickery etc. How can magic even exist in Russia if no-one believes in it? I know its a minor detail but the public’s reactions to the game is mentioned a lot, so its one of those plot holes you are reminded of over and over.

That said I did like the twist at the end, I did like the beautiful descriptions of the city and the magic and lord I would sit on them benches all damn day. I think this book however is too light and fluffy and lacking in the conflict, tension and threat of death that was promised.