Triplet sisters raised to compete for the crown of Fennbirn have their own talents: Mirabella is a formidable elemental who can conjure and control storms, Katharine is being trained to withstand poison, and dark horse Arsinoe is a naturalist working to summon her animal familiar. In this series opener from Blake (the Goddess War trilogy), the sisters are in the final days of preparing for a bitter year that will end with two of them dead while the other reigns. In this bloody world, those who buck tradition are punished fiercely—a friend's loyalty is rewarded when the priestesses sever her hand, another is banished for aiding in an escape attempt—and human sacrifice is a proven way to sate the higher power and instill fear. This dark fairytale makes a slow processional toward the Beltane Festival, then rushes through the celebration to set up the next book. But along the way Blake establishes myriad side plots and relationships, builds complex characters, and leaves plenty of compelling avenues to explore in future books. Ages 14–up. Agent: Adriann Ranta, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.)
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New York Times Bestseller * New York Public Library Best Book of 2016 * Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2016 * Kirkus Best Book of the Year
Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake's Anna Dressed in Blood will devour Three Dark Crowns, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. And don't miss the highly anticipated sequel, One Dark Throne!
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.
Be sure to catch the stunning sequel to this New York Times bestseller, One Dark Throne.
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I loved this book. Blake’s Three Dark Crowns is hypnotic, twisting, and beautiful...as satisfying as a drop of poison in an enemy’s cup.
★ “With exquisite world building and luminous detail, this is high fantasy at its best. The magic is fierce and the plot intensely twisted, but at this novel’s dark heart beats a story about sisterhood, the unbreakable bonds of family, and ties that bind enough to kill.
Full of mystery, intrigue, and deadly girls I wouldn’t dare cross, Fennbirn is a darkly magical world I’m both drawn to and frightened by. In short, this is a book I could linger in for months, with three girls I am rooting for with all my heart.
Three Dark Crowns is a brutal and inventive fantasy that is as addictive as it is horrifying. I can’t begin to guess the fates of these three remarkable sister-queens, but I’m salivating like poisoners at a feast to find out what will happen next.
Gr 8 Up—A poisoner—a teen who comes from a line of people who are supposed to ingest poison without being harmed—whose body betrays the gift that should have been innate suffers the ravage of toxins to defend her house's reign over Fennbirn Island. A naturalist who dims in the brilliance of her childhood friend turns to low magic to mold the earth and its creatures. An elemental whose beauty is made more terrible by her savage fires and storms is trapped within the palms of the Temple priestesses, ruthless in their scheme to overthrow the Black Council. Three sisters celebrate their 16th birthdays at the Beltane festival, but two are to be murdered during the Quickening, and one is to be crowned the red-handed Queen. This is a story entrenched in deceit, twisted by selfish desires for redemption and revenge in a crooked game set in generations of insidious matriarchal rule. Readers will be riveted by Blake's ingenious world-building, stunning developments of main and supporting characters, and spiraling tensions. VERDICT Highly recommended for fans of fantasy action thrillers with strong female leads, such as Victoria Aveyard's "Red Queen" and Sarah J. Maas's "Throne of Glass" series.—Zeying Wang, School Library Journal
The opener to a pitch-black epic fantasy series horrifically upends the bonds of sisterhood.Every generation, magically gifted triplet girls are born to rule Fennbirn, and it is the duty of each young queen to try to murder the others once they come of age. But this time only the elemental Mirabella has yet displayed any power, as the naturalist Arsinoe and poisoner Katherine are deemed weak and giftless. Although kindhearted Mirabella shows some reluctance to kill, both headstrong Arsinoe and abused Katherine are more than ready to employ any tactic to live...and win. Blake has constructed an insular, all-white, matriarchal society from convincing intimate details. As the personal lives, loves, and betrayals of the three queens are manipulated by their supporting factions, the intricate machinations of the plot never overwhelm the vivid, complicated characters of the queens and those closest to them; while it’s impossible not to sympathize with each, it is equally difficult to root for any of them. The omniscient third-person present-tense narration, switching every chapter among various players preparing for, scheming about, and even fleeing the upcoming ritual competition, employs sumptuous, poetic prose (if little of Blake’s trademark wit) with an odd detachment, creating a fablelike distance from even the grisly, shocking climax. Gorgeous and bloody, tender and violent, elegant, precise, and passionate; above all, completely addicting. (Fantasy. 14 & up)