Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy
My Rating: 2 stars
Good Reads Rating:3.86 stars
Good Reads 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 loss…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown.
I went into this book not even really knowing what it was about – I had seen arc readers give it high reviews and the cover was pretty so it was a rather impulsive buy! I had never read anything by Blake but I had high hopes as the blurb sounded interesting – and different from usual fantasy books. I mean bloodthirsty sisters who are set out to kill each other in a bloodshed of religion and political worlds. UM yes, plurs?!! I thought this book was going to be action packed, dark and full of female power. But it wasn’t really what I expected.
The fist thing I noticed about this book is the writing. This is one thing I will always catch onto whatever book I read and it’s deeply important as even if a book wasn’t that exciting – if the writing was good I wouldn’t have noticed it. And so when I opened this book, I was straight away disappointed. I don’t know if this is just Blakes’ style but although her writing was not exactly bad – it certainly was fast paced – it was very very simple and at times boring to read. I personally like writing that has depth and colour to it, and this writing lacked a certain vibrancy and it became quite flat and monotone.
This then brings me to the characters. They were all just a bit boring to me and seemed more interested in their ‘lovers’ then the fact they are actually going to die? These sisters by god could have been amazing, but with the strange pov narration of all of them made them became rather 2d and none of them was fleshed out. So instead of a cunning, sly poisoner who was bent on winning despite being weak we got someone who was a bit pathetic and boring and cared more about being seductive than anything else (although the ending did make me perk up a bit), instead of a brutal harsh naturalist who lacks gifts but doesn’t care about what people think we get someone who whines a lot and whose female empowerment backfired drastically, instead of an elemental who is battling against the views of how she was built up and adamant of bringing sisterhood back, we get someone who is a bit mopey and dreary and oh also more obsessed with a random boy that she has suddenly fallen in love with. And let me tell you, this did not make me a happy book dragon to see all this potential go right down the drain.
However, despite these flaws, the world building in this is what brought my rating up. This is because, even I have to admit Blake really did create such an interesting world – and very feminist based as well. I liked the idea of the religion, and the three separate classes and also the secrecy of the mainland. It lacked diversity that’s for sure, but nevertheless, it was still intriguing to read about the sister’s different worlds. I was unsure whether I was going to read the next book but that ending was unexpected and I can not deny I am interested in what happens in the next book! All and all I feel like this book would have been a better read if I was younger – around 14 would have been a good age – a light simple read. And like a reviewer said on good reads it felt more like a prequel than an actual book, the exciting bit being the last 25% – so hopefully it will be picked up and fleshed out in the next book.
-S O P H