Series: Three Dark Crowns #4
Published by Macmillan Children's Books
Published on 19 September 2019
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Source: Pan MacMillan
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Three dark sisters rise to fight. Allegiances shift. Bonds break. Secrets surface.
Mirabella has returned to the capital, seemingly under a banner of truce.
Katherine maintains her rule over Fennbirn – for now – but at huge personal cost.
Arsinoe is lost, the responsibility of stopping the ravaging mist heavy on her shoulders.
As oldest and youngest circle each other, and Katharine begins to yearn for the closeness that Mirabella and Arsinoe share, the dead queens hiss caution. They whisper that Mirabella is not to be trusted. But even they are drawn to her power . . .
The fate of the island lies in the hands of its queens.
The epic conclusion to Kendare Blake's bestselling Three Dark Crowns series.
I received a copy of this book from Pan MacMillan in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I don’t normally follow a series through to completion, because there are too many good books out there and I only have a limited time to read them. I’m happy to give the first book in a seires a go, but following it on to a sequel, let alone an entire series, isn’t common for me. However, despite taking a good few months to get through this book (eep! Sorry!), I found the conclusion wholly satisfying – much more satisfying than if the series had remained a duology as I believe it was initially intended.
Despite choosing to follow this series, I have not rated any of the books 5 stars. I simply don’t believe they are technically brilliant enough for my high standards. There are often times when I had to re-read a sentence to understand what is going on, and sometimes descriptions are so vague or brusque that I give up entirely trying to comprehend. That being said, this series had a je ne sais quoi, some kind of X-factor that left me thinking about it long after I finished each book, and that is why I was keen to see it through to the end.
I found that this book in particular contained a lot of threads that went nowhere or had little effect on the overall plot, coupled with entire scenes that are skipped or condensed instead of exploring to their full emotional impact. It felt like it was rushed, but those moments didn’t have any impact overall, so in my mind they weren’t even needed. For example, in a moment when she is needed by others and also at great risk, Arsinoe travels alone into a mountain to seek out the help of the Blue Queen. Except she’s just gone. No explanation, nothing wrapped up, and this whole sequence (what little detail was provided) felt redundant.
Another example is when Jules’ legion curse was released with very little consequence even though a it was apparently a Very Big Deal, because that plot point was no longer useful (and in fact, I had forgotten for the majority of the book that she had been bound) and Jules must be the author’s favourite character so of course she must be a precious cinnamon roll and protected at all costs. I think these inconsistencies, lack of consequences for character actions, and plot points that went nowhere contributed to my taking months to finish this book. The inconsistent pacing led me to procrastinate and find other things to occupy my interest. I enjoyed the book while I was reading, but it was hard to get me to pick it up again.
However, the ending was very satisfying. I was pretty happy with that. Arsinoe was my favourite, but I had issue even with her. Mirabella was by far the best character, and Katharine was pretty awful (even though a lot of that can be blamed on her environment and her foster family rather than her own nature, which was originally pretty sweet) so it was easy for me to hate her the most.
Now I’m sad that this journey I have been on for four years has ended, and I’m nursing a book hangover. I probably would like to re-read this series, but only if I can binge the entire thing.