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.
This book was raved about from here, there and everywhere. I do get it, it’s a very interesting premise which hasn’t been done before or at least not in this way. It reminds me a little of Stardust where the sons of the King have to kill each other off until there is one left standing. It sounds like it’s asking for a succession crisis if you ask me but still.
I liked the characters in this book, the three sisters were different enough people that you could tell when the POV switched between the three of them. The side characters were interesting enough, especially the ones surrounding Katharine, because they were very much in power and would like to keep it. Then there were some characters which I wasn’t too enthusiastic about, or rather I despised the love triangle that came out of it. I don’t want to spoil too much but I found myself wishing that Mirabella hadn’t been involved in the love triangle, otherwise she would have been my favourite character. I found the whole love triangle infuriating because I didn’t see why it was needed.
The world-building was brilliant. I loved the religion, the island, the history of the three sisters, the mainland and how the three sisters’ powers were developed and shown off to the people. It was fascinating to read about a country divided in such a way and wondering how it was going to change in the series of the books.
However, I have to say, this book did not live up to its hype. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I hadn’t been told that it was the most brilliant book to end all books. As it is, I find myself bored with the book at times and if it wasn’t for the ending reveal, because that was completely spectacular, I wouldn’t want to read the next in the series.
Four stars, bumped up simply for that ending!