(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Harper Collins on September 20, 2016
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.
If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.
I’ve been looking forward to this book for quite a while and it did not disappoint!
Each generation on Fennbirn, triplets are born. Three queens who are equal heirs to the crown and each possessing a specific kind of magic. At the age of 6 the queens are separated and raised among families who have their skills. Mirabella, an elemental, Katharine, a poisoner and Arsinoe a naturalist. They are equally entitled to the crown, but only one can rule, and upon their 16th birthday, the Ascension begins. The sisters must display their strength and power and over the next year they must kill or be killed.
The world building here is fantastic you guys… Blake takes the time to let you get to know each of the young girls and those around them. She fills you in on the history of the tradition and why it’s so important to each of the families that their triplet be the one who makes it out alive. Blake makes it nearly impossible to pick a favorite and when you turn to the last page you’ll be dying for more!
From the first pages you realize what a dangerous world these girls are a part of, and how much none of them wants to really be Queen. They have spent the last ten years honing their skills and trying to become masters of their powers, but it’s also easy to see who is struggling. Katharine, as poisoner, is apparently weak and Arsinoe, as a naturalist also isn’t as strong as she needs to be to come out of this coming year alive.
I will say that this has a bit of a slower start, so give yourself a bit to really get into the story, because once that happens you won’t want to stop reading. I think also, at times I felt that Arsinoe’s part of the story felt like it was more about Jules, her friend and confidant, than it was about Arsinoe… I think that could mean something, but who the heck knows and honestly I loved it either way!
I think where this story really excels is that each of the girls has their own world that their growing up in and Blake does a really wonderful job of developing each of them. The secondary characters are interesting and well developed and the way they eventually weave together is done well. There is a love triangle here, but not one that you’ll be expecting nor, I think, will it bother you too much. Speaking of romance… meh it’s not all that important to the story, so don’t go into this thinking it’s going to be all kissing and falling in love. There are definitely some romances, but they aren’t central to the story and the guys are all kind of blah… BECAUSE THIS IS ABOUT THE QUEENS!
Definitely an amazing start to a series I can’t wait for more of! If you’re a fan of Kedare Blake this is going to be right up your alley, and if you haven’t yet read anything by her, get on it!! This is a perfect book to start with!
I seriously can’t even tell you who I’m most excited about… I thought it was Katharine, but then I met Arsinoe… and then I met Mirabella and now I don’t even know, and that ending!! I, for one, will be waiting impatiently for book 2!
Thank you to the publisher for an early copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.