Showing posts with label queen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label queen. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

[Review] Three Dark Crowns (#1) - Kendare Blake: Triplets, Witchery, and Wasted Potential

In THREE DARK CROWNS, triplet heirs to the throne must compete in a deadly battle for the crown.

What intrigued me: I love reading about magic!

Misses the Mark So Hard...

THREE DARK CROWNS was so much not my thing that I genuinely wanted to quit blogging over this. There are DNFs and books that don't match your taste, and then there are books that make you forget that you're supposed to enjoy reading. I really wanted to like THREE DARK CROWNS desperately. I didn't though. I really, really didn't.

It's just one of those books that hooks you with a cool premise, but that's that. I expected an action-filled THE HUNGER GAMES style battle to the death, but really just got a slumberous High Fantasy story with a side of blown up insta romance. Kudos to the marketing team here, they honestly exaggerated this so massively, it's hard to even find the connection between the super fun things that the blurb and cover hint at and the actual book.

So much Wasted Potential!

THREE DARK CROWNS is supposed to be a dark, dark story about sisters planning to kill each other for the throne. Actually, it's just a super boring YA romance times three with genuinely zero plot, zero potential to connect or care about the characters, and very peculiar POV choices. I can only describe the writing and execution as extremely irritating. The POVs are all over the place, not necessarily even from the actual sisters, but from random side characters sometimes, and it's a nightmare to even make it past the point where you know who the characters are. I had immense problems trying to get into this, which is why it took me weeks to finish this. 

The magic system and all is fine and interesting. Poisoners, elementals, and people who talk to animals! Sounds fun! I really enjoyed reading about the whole poisoner storyline and Katharine. Poison mixers! This alone could've sold me on this book. I feel like if it had been executed differently and had stuck to one POV, or even just three POVs (of the sisters), I would've felt completely differently about this! All that instant love and lack of action could even just be excused a little if the writing and execution weren't so terribly irritating and weird, and unnecessarily extra. 

The biggest problem I have with this - the story has so much potential that it's just SO frustrating and stressful to see how Blake absolutely doesn't even come close to using it. The blurb is so great, I could actually cry, this is supposed to be a story about anti-heroines and darkness, maybe a bit creepy and vengeful and stabby. But it's none of that. THREE DARK CROWNS is yet another of the gazillion stories about princesses with magical powers that fall in love. That's it. I'm so frustrated and sad.


Rating:

☆☆☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THREE DARK CROWNS is a disaster if you're picky about your High Fantasy and like to form connections to characters. I almost quit blogging altogether over this because it made me forget that reading is supposed to be fun. This wasn't fun in the slightest, the exact opposite of it. Clearly, this is highly, highly subjective.



Additional Info

Published: May 9th 2017
Pages: 448
Publisher: Penhaligon
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9783764531447

Synopsis:
"When kingdom come, there will be one.

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."
(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read nice High Fantasy lately?



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Monday, February 27, 2017

[Review] A Darker Shade of Magic (#1) - V.E. Schwab: 19th Century London and Parallel Universes





In A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, Kell is one of the blood magicians who are gifted with the ability to wander between parallel worlds.

What intrigued me: Recommended by literally everyone.

Textbook writing and too many info dumps

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC certainly has a great base frame, but absolutely can't hide the fact that it doesn't quite know what to do with all that world building. Protagonist Kell is a smuggler, an adopted royal, a blood magician, and handles the correspondence between the four different Londons. To get that all inside your head, you'll already need a moment. The biggest problem is that there is so much about this world and so many specific rules, quirks, and things to know, that there is no way you'll have a good time reading this for the first time. Paired with incredibly factual and emotionless writing, it reads like a textbook. I was often torn between utter disinterest and sort-of fascination. 

I grew insanely frustrated the more I read because I simply didn't understand what was happening and why it was happening, and who the bazillion side characters are. A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC plays in this sort-of 19th century-inspired historical-ish world that has kings and queens and (sometimes?) magic. Ish. I say Ish because even after having read this I still don't get it. Usually you'd expect a novel to lay out the basics within the first 100 pages, but in A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, you'll still be wrestling with exposition on page 350 of 400. 

Clearly the idea is there and Schwab really tried to set up an original world, but half of it neither makes sense nor is comprehensible to the average first time reader. This is not the type of fantasy I enjoy - throwing words in made-up languages around and introducing so many different parallel worlds that you're constantly confusing everyone. 

One dimensional characters and predictability

Because Schwab so heavily puts the focus on the world building, the characters are absolutely suffering. Everyone in A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC is one-dimensional, not even the protagonist Kell has an ounce of a personality. It's a shame because you can tell that a lot of effort went into this. At the end of the day, I think this book is impossible to enjoy if you prefer your high fantasy to make sense and to form a connection with the fictional characters you're reading about. 

On top of all that - the plot is just very predictable and anti-climactic. Of course protagonist Kell must face the only other rare special snowflake blood magician in the book aside from him because of some barely-plausible plot convenience; and of course there is a mystery about his birth parents that we only get to solve if we buy the next two books. 


Rating:

☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC wasn't for me. From a predictable plot to confusing world building, to writing that I just don't like, this one is a clear miss for me personally.



Additional Info

Published: 24th February 2015
Pages: 400
Publisher: Tor
Genre: Adult / Sci-Fi / Parallel Worlds
ISBN: 9780765376459

Synopsis:
"Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped."(Source: Goodreads)

 Have you read A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC?

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