Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Novella, Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction
Series: Three Dark Crowns #0.1 & #0.2
Trigger Warning - Abuse, Child Endangerment, Manipulation
If you anticipate reading any of the Three Dark Crowns series, then you must read these novellas. This copy contains the two prequal novellas from this world: "The Young Queens" and "The Oracle Queen". They give a phenomenal beginning to the series but also contribute to it whether you read them before, during, or after the other books. What's important is that you read them at some point during the journey because they delve further into the world of Fennbirn and it's queens.
"The Young Queens" is about the three queens Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katharine who star in the rest of the Three Dark Crowns series. This story focuses on when they are younger. We get glimpses of their past during the other books, but this really shows just how important the sisters were to each other until they were forced apart. It portrays how Mirabella stood as the oldest and cared for her sisters. We also are able to understand the effect she had on the elementalists from such a young age. They truly believed that she was the chosen queen due to her powerful outbursts. Katharine was more dependent on her sisters and thus had a more traumatic experience when they were separated. It makes sense that she wouldn't remember her time with her sisters as she grows since her mind was trying to block out that pain. Arsinoe also became more familiar as we experienced the ordeal that she went through with Jules and Joseph. Without this story we wouldn't be able to fully understand the queens and their shared and separate experiences.
Throughout the books we learn of this Oracle Queen and the insanity she falls into. But "The Oracle Queen" gives us a different perspective entirely. Elsabet wasn't as insane as the stories claimed. In fact, she was perfectly sane and capable of ruling as a queen. But that was not to be her fate; a decision made by those who would claim they were dedicated to the ruling of the queens. This story makes one question if all the other tales told of the previous queens were as accurate as they were portrayed. Many queens before Elsabet may also had been manipulated under the belief that it was for the good of the island.
These novellas show that the sacred queens of Fennbirn aren't just queens at birth, but young girls. They are told from birth that they have one aim in life and can never stray from that goal. Through these stories, we are reminded that these girls have their own dreams that may not be on par with what they are expected to be.
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