Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Goodreads Summary: Three sisters. One crown. A fight to the death.

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.
Rating: 4 Stars
On the island of Fennbirn, a Queen and King-consort rule. Every generation a set of triplets are born, three queens with equal rights to the throne. On their sixteenth birthday, the battle begins; a fight to the death deciding who the next queen will be. Arsinoe is a naturalist, her gift horticultural in nature. Katharine is a poisoner, able to withstand even the deadliest poisons while Mirabella is an Elemental, controller of the elements.

First of all, I have to say I really love the idea Three Dark Crowns is based on. The fantasy elements are imminent and you have to put cynicism aside and believe, but there is also a huge element of trust embedded in it. The settings are described in detail, but not an overbearing amount at a time.

Three Dark Crowns discusses five possible gifts the islanders can have besides no gift. Poisoners, Naturalists and Elementals are described in detail; those with the gifts of war and sight are mentioned a few times but we haven't met any characters with those gifts yet. This provides a good setup for further world development in book two, something which I'm sure will happen.

Each of the girls is different from their assigned stereotypes. They aren't equals and don't follow history's predictions. By comparing them to their alter egos, Kendare Blake gets to write from the "what if" side of things but is also able to compare this side to the "normal" ways. I can't wait to see how these characters develop and change in the next book. If you enjoy fantasy, definitely read this.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Think of this as a fantasy version of The Hunger Games, with a few modifications.