Three dark crowns by Kendare Blake
Macmillan Children's Books, 2016. ISBN 9781509804559
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Like any good fantasy novel, this one begins with a children's rhyme: 'Three dark Queens are born in a glen... ' The song, sung by mainlander children while skipping rope is haunting and hints at what is to come - or what should be to come.
The much anticipated Three dark crowns sets the stage for a violent battle to the death between three royal sisters on a backwaters island in Fennbirn. Katherine the poisoner, Arsinoe the naturalist, and Mirabella the elemental have been pitted against one another since they were six years old. The triplets of the old queen, they are destined to destroy one another in order to reign over the island of Fennbirn. Seeded in tradition, they are separated and raised to meet their bloody destiny with one of the three most prominent gifted families; the Arrons, the Milone's, and the Westwood's. However, it seems that more than one sister is without a gift. Could Rho's claim that it is the sacrificial year be true? Could Mirabella, the most talented of the sisters, ascend to the throne without spilling blood and become the next White-Handed Queen? She is already the only queen in history to remember her sisters - the only to refuse to harm them.
I would highly recommend for fantasy lovers twelve and up. Blake's world building brings you into the Queen's positions, making you love, hate, and fear with them as the temple's power grows. Can they survive the Ascension year? Or will their Island home rise up against them before it is all over?
Kayla Gaskell, 20