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BOOK REVIEW: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake

BOOK REVIEW: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare BlakeThree Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)
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Synopsis:

When kingdom come, there will be one.

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.

Review:

**DISCLAIMER** Do NOT read the novellas until you finish with this fist book. It will ruin a pretty major thing that you find out at the end of this book. I’m pissed I read it first, haha, but that’s on me.

Three dark queens
Are born in a glen,
Sweet little triplets
Will never be friends


Three dark sisters
All fair to be seen,
Two to devour
And one to be Queen

Ummmmm…..why had I been fooled into thinking that this series was only going to be “okay”?!?!? I always seem to get bitten on the ass when I go too deep into reviews on GR for a book or series that I discover that sounds good but doesn’t IMMEDIATELY catch my attention. So, ever so stupidly, I read reviews written by people that I ~usually~ share similar opinions with….that is, until they differ.

I remember seeing this book when it came out and thinking it sounded interesting but at that point I had been caught up in a Sarah J Maas/ Court of Mist and Fury haze. Unless I KNEW that I was going to love it, or it was by an author I already loved, I don’t think I was venturing out too much and reading new things. Then, of course, when that died down, I went to the reviews. So many people had so many problems with this book and said at the first quarter at least was super slow and boring??????????????????????????????? How???????????????????????

If you can’t tell I very much disagree.

The first quarter of this book isn’t action packed, no, but that’s because we have to learn about the three sisters that are eventually going to be fighting to the death to become queen.

Mirabella, an elementalist, who has been considered the Chosen Queen since she was born because of her great powers

Arsinoe, a naturalist, who has yet to develop any sort of power or find a familiar BUT has been dabbling is some shifty “low magic”

Katherine, a poisoner, who also hasn’t shown much affinity for her gift and who has grown up weak, frail, and scarred due to the poisonings that have been administered to her since she was a child to hopefully build up her immunity

Like, you can’t just go into a series about three Queen sisters who eventually have to fight to the death if you don’t know about each one. I’ll admit my favorite right off the bat was Arsinoe. Mirabella is at first painted to be cold and aloof and while Katherine was sweet, I wasn’t a fan of her guardians the Arron’s at all. The world building is incredible and I am so freakin intrigued by Fennbirn and how it’s surrounded by mist—so basically off in its own little world and only lets people in that the island chooses to let in and doesn’t let people leave if it doesn’t want them to. Like….genius. I hope we get to find out more about the “continent” in later books because I really am just so interested in what it’s like, who all lives there, how it’s ruled, etc.

Aside from our three main characters there is a slew of other important and interesting characters. Jules and Camden! Joseph! BILLY ♥! (and others of course but those are by far my favorites. Each play a very important role to the Queens and that’s all I’ll say on the matter.

If you’re looking for love interests, you’re in luck. Every Queen has one, and there’s even sort of love triangle, but not one that you’d expect. It surprised me but I guess I wasn’t super mad about it? I don’t know, you’ll see what I mean.

Plot wise, after the introductions of all the Queens and their foster families and once the book inches closer to Beltane and their sixteenth birthday, things obviously pick up. It was really interesting that Mira seemed to have kept her memories of her sisters which isn’t supposed to happen. It created tension because the name of the game is to kill two sisters and become Queen. Even though Mira is the most powerful, she doesn’t want to kill her sisters. That ends up playing a pretty big role in events.

Things also get pretty dark, too. I mean there are poisonings, there are dismemberments, there is horrific scarring. Like Blake does not shy away from being descriptive with any of these things, either. I thought it really worked well overall. I have never been a fan of books that go too far down the path to the dark side but I thought that what she did with this book was the perfect amount and that it really added to the whole concept of an island being fueled by the blood and death of two if its three Queens.

I have so many questions about so many parts of how Fennbirn works and about certain characters and I cannot wait to keep reading and find out. HIGHLY recommend this series.

BOOK REVIEW – Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake

BOOK REVIEW – Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare BlakeAnna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1)
by Kendare Blake
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

5 Unexpected Stars!!!


Thunder Bay, Ontario, is our destination. I’m going there to kill her. Anna. Anna Korlov. Anna dressed in blood.

Scary books have never been something I find easy to read, so when I started reading the reviews for Anna, I became super nervous. A creepy ghost who kills anyone that enters the house she is bound to? Yeah…not good for someone prone to nightmares. But what I soon learned as I delved deeper into the story was that this book had nothing on Karina Halle’s EIT series, and for that I was grateful. I love the EIT series, but Anna was so refreshing, light, and easy to read. So for those of you who don’t like scary books, this would be a great beginner-while there’s a spine-tingling undertone to the story, it never reaches over the top and terrifies you….just gives you glimpses of mangled ghosts and eerie settings.

Over the course of my life I’ve been to lots of places. Shadowed places where things have gone wrong. Sinister places where things still are. I always hate the sunlit towns, full of newly built developments with double-car garages in shades of pale-eggshell, surrounded by green lawns and dotted with laughing children. Those towns aren’t any less haunted than the others. They’re just better liars. I like it more to come to a place like this, where the scent of death is carried to you on every seventh breath.

By far my favorite thing (okay…one of my favorite things) about this story was the mood with which everything was set up. I wasn’t merely a bystander left to coast through pages with which there was no connection whatsoever, I was in the story, playing out the scene alongside Cas- Making the story come alive and even scarier as it became increasingly darker in the deep recesses of Blake’s gloomy fantasy. The author painted a vivid picture with each and every instance, choosing to invite us to be a part of the story instead of just letting us ‘see’ what happens. That is my biggest gripe with certain authors, so I was beside myself when I realized just how well Blake delivered each fighting scene-It brought me a sense of satisfaction I have missed long since finishing my other favorite scary parnormal series.

It’s a funny thing about ghosts. They might have been normal, or relatively normal when they were still breathing, but once they die they’re your typical obsessives. They become fixated on what happened to them and trap themselves in the worst moment. Nothing else exists in their world except the edge of the knife, the feel of those hands around their throat. They have a habit of showing you these things, usually by demonstration. If you know their story, it isn’t hard to predict what they’ll do.

With each new book, there is a different identity and reasons why I fall in love with it. Not always is the main character a reason I can relate to the story, but in Anna, I completely gravitated towards Cas, our lead male character. He was funny, quirky, cocky, but not overly so, and as loyal as a constant mover and shaker can be. The narrative voice was so fun and refreshing, I continually laughed out loud. A serious moment became light as air as soon as Cas would make a flippant remark or mentally knock on other characters. And once he met Anna, he became unbearably sweet and hooked his claws into me.

But somewhere out there is one that matters. Somewhere out there is the one that I came for, one who is strong enough to squeeze the breaths out of living throats.

….

I wonder how she’ll try to kill me?

A tragic love story where hunter meets his prey, inevitably feeling drawn to this unseen force that tugs on him even away from the unidentified source of obsession. Knowing he has to do what is right, what he was born to do, he struggles internally with the idea of banishing this tortured soul to the depths of…well, wherever the souls go after he ‘kills’ them. As more people get involved, it becomes harder and harder to protect Anna, to stall what must be done, and it all leads to an epic showdown that lead me to plead for more.

This isn’t right. Now that they’re here and afraid, they’re laughing at her, trying to turn her into a joke. Crushing their full beer cans against their heads feels like a great idea, and yes, I feel the hypocrisy in my wanting to defend something that I’m trying to kill.

Overall, a totally fun and unexpected ride that I couldn’t separate from, making for a quick weekend read. The most unexpected aspect was the connection to each character. While in most reviews for Anna the downfall was the lack of connection to the characters, I felt the exact opposite. They weren’t necessarily deep and meaningful per se, but more quirky and down to earth. For instance-the popular ‘queen bee’ wasn’t snooty or trapped in a stereotype at all. She became a main character that meshed with the ghost hunting duo and ultimately made it a ghost hunting trio. Many times the protagonist is the character that shines above the rest, but in this story I never felt like the only person I cared about was Cas. There were so many more characters I didn’t want to die, I was invested in them all.

…I can feel the newspaper clipping in my pocket like it weighs a thousand pounds. I can feel that photo of Anna, staring out from sixty years ago, and I can’t help myself from wanting to protect her, wanting to save her from becoming what she already is.

Adrenaline pumping, pulse pounding and a race to the finish ending, I was in my element. I didn’t know what would happen to Anna or Cas, just that I didn’t want anything catastrophic to happen to them. Many people will love this story, others won’t be able to identify with it. I tend to just take a book for what it is-fun and carefree. If you want a deep-rooted and mind-altering story, this probably isn’t it. It’s an accomplished escape from reality that will keep you entertained for hours and unable to switch back into ‘real life’ mode. An insta-favorite for me, and I am already half-way through book 2….and I’m still completely enthralled.

“Don’t be afraid of the dark, Cas. But don’t let them tell you that everything that’s there in the dark is also there in the light. It isn’t.”

Purchase on Amazon or iBooks

BOOK REVIEW – Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake

BOOK REVIEW – Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) by Kendare BlakeGirl of Nightmares (Anna #2)
by Kendare Blake
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

I am coming back, is what I was going to say. But this isn’t a game, and that isn’t a promise I should make.

Wow. Kendare Blake has earned my respect in the span of a two book series-not an easy thing to do. What started out as a simple Halloween buddy read became an obsessive impulse to read two books in 3 days. It’s not always about how well known a book is-it’s about how the book is written. What appeals to your taste, your style, your mood, and ultimately what makes you happy.

And these books made me so sooo happy.

It would still be years before I’d go up against ghosts of any real strength-ghosts like Anna Korlov, the girl who could have torn out my spine anytime she liked, but wound up saving me instead.

A beautiful fantasy created to both appeal to your imagination and tug on your heartstrings, Blake succeeded by invading my mind and clouding my vision-this series was all I cared about and all I could see. I would be typing invoices at work, but I wasn’t really typing invoices at work. All I could see was Cas-Cas fighting ghosts, Cas pining after Anna, Anna fighting for their love just as strongly as Cas was, Cas’s broken whispers for Anna…it was unbelievable how strongly I fell in love with these characters.

This must be how a caught fish feels, pulled up onto a dock, the wood pressing into its gills and eye when nothing has ever pressed against it before. Their gills throb to no use. My lungs pull no use. Something is moving in and out of them, but it isn’t air. There’s no sensation of nourishment hitting my blood. I grab my chest.

A world where a boy falls in love with the girl he can never have, where the girl is no longer alive, but in a limbo between death and wherever these tortured souls are supposed to go-A world he must save her from….but where will she choose to go? Will she stay with him, or will she choose to move on…?

She crossed over death to find me. I crossed through Hell to find her.

I can’t even begin to tell you how refreshing it is to read a book that isn’t on everyone’s radar at this very moment-to not know the outcome, to not know whether people are upset about an ending or not. GON isn’t in the limelight, and it was like my own personal, secret treasure that made adrenaline course through my veins and my heart thump with the anticipation of just
not knowing
what will happen mixed with giddy nerves. Blake’s writing is amazing to me, still. I could literally taste the blood in my throat, I could feel what each individual character felt, every movement and every feeling-it was both exhilarating and rejuvenating.

This place is the thing behind madness. There is nothing good here. Off the map. If you eat frustration it chokes you. This place exists in the wake of a scream.

Had the ending not been so abrupt, this most likely would have been a 5 star read. The depth with which Blake embedded this story into my brain couldn’t be compromised, but I still wish there would have been more of a closing, an epilogue, a future glimpse-something. The quick ending was my only gripe with the story, and it stayed with me until even this morning, so I decided half a star deduction was adequate-I wasn’t disappointed by any means, just a little deflated with the lack of a glimpse into the future. Just a personal preference on my part, and not everyone will feel the same.

He doesn’t want Anna anymore. He has her. I’m the last loose end.

An absolutely amazing and imaginitive series, I was enthralled from page one as Cas tried to take out the route 12 hiker. I enjoyed being inside his snarky mind and hearing his inner dialogue and I’m going to miss him dearly. I’ve only known him for a short time, but it was a wonderful adventure and I have placed these books oh-so-dearly on my favorites shelf-and they will remain there forever.

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