By: Zac Soper, Columnist
The “Three Dark Crowns” series by Kendare Blake has been in the hearts of many readers for years and has finally come to an end. For those who don’t know, the “Three Dark Crowns” series takes place on a mystical island that is run by a matriarchy. Each queen gives birth to triplets, and each daughter is gifted with a different ability. After 16 years of being groomed and trained, the three queens are tasked with killing one another and the survivor becomes the reigning queen.
In the fourth and final book of this series, we are back on the island of Fennbirn (after a quick stint to the mainland in book three). The dark and twisted island becomes a character itself with the protective (and sometimes dangerous) mist that surrounds its coasts, the low magic that exists in the very soil itself, and the generations of sisters turned murderers hang in the air.
Along with the island, this series is filled with so many characters that are so easy to love, even with their bad side. Every single character in this series has committed some heinous act against their own morality and it becomes hard to decide who the “good guys” are because really, no one is.
The series had led to a war, and since you don’t know which characters to root for, you don’t really know which side of the battle to root for either. The dynamic that is created between these sisters and their counterparts are nothing like Young Adult fantasy has ever seen before and was extremely unpredictable, there was a large amount of plot twists just in this book, let alone the other three.
While this series is obviously character heavy, that is not to say the plot is lacking. Though there is really one main plotline-one sister must take the throne- the intricate subplots guide these dynamic characters through the story at an even pace.
The religious aspect of this world takes a lot of leadership in creating the subplots. Like every character, the temple is no stranger to corruption, and this becomes very apparent as the queens delve into the past of the kingdom. Having an island ruled by corrupt queens and a corrupt foundation of religion keeps the readers on their toes and keeps the pages turning.
I feel, for the first time in a while, that I received a realistic ending. There were some deaths, some survivors, and ultimately closure of the growing tensions in the series. It takes a great writer to end a series well, and Kendare Blake did not disappoint. The ending was left fairly open and I wonder if this is really the last we will see of Fennbirn and its queens. Many negative reviews for this series claim it to be too slow moving but I enjoyed the world building that was needed to set up this long running and well executed plot. Once you start getting attached to these characters there’s no putting these books down.