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. -Kendare Blake
I have NEVER read a book like this. Okay, let me take that back. I have read plenty of young adult fiction involving queens who have to take the throne one way or another, yes. But…but…they have to kill each other?!?! The madness!
I will admit, the first chapter was 25 pages, and since I usually read in 15 minute increments during SSR time in my reading classes, I wasn’t thrilled with the long beginning chapter. I will also admit that I was extremely confused through most of the first chapter, but like I tell my students, for a novel, you have to give it 50-60 pages before you decide it isn’t for you. (This is so hard for them since they live in a society of instant gratification.) So, I trudged through, and by the end of my three reading classes, I had the first three chapters completed – 56 pages – and I was hooked!
Each chapter focuses on one of the three triplet queens and the people who have raised them. They are raised separated from each other until the year they turn 16 although they do spend the early years of their lives together. It is during the year between their 16th and 17th birthdays that they are to kill each other. Each queen also possesses (or is supposed to possess) some sort of magical quality – controlling the elements, resisting poison? (I feel like I’m still a little confused about this one), and controlling/creating/growing things in nature (the naturalists, as they are called, can cause things to bloom, but also have special connections to animals).
For 100 years, the poison queens have ruled. However, the current poison queen – Katharine – does not seem to be the one who will conquer the other two queens. We learn within the first chapter that she is weak and nothing like the previous queens. Throughout the book, the reader is clued in to the fact that those who help to raise the queens are the ones really in charge.
I never like to write too much when giving a book review because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. I feel like I could write 1000+ word blog about this book. It was definitely a pleasant surprise. It was a Gateway nominee for this school year, but it did not even make the top three. So, as I started reading, I didn’t have very high expectations. Once I got through the necessary introduction/set up of characters and background information, I was hooked. There were characters I hated, and I’m hoping by the end of the series they will meet their rightful end. I am also hoping that the three queens will gain a little more confidence and take more control of what is happening in their lives. Right now, they all seem to be push overs.
I highly recommend reading this book. It will definitely take some endurance through the first part of the book as there is a lot of set up. But, I think the author knew this would be a series, and she uses the majority of the first half of this book introducing the three characters and the people who surround them.
I DIDN’T CRY DURING THIS BOOK! I did audibly gasp on the last page though.