After the battle with Katharine, the rebellion lies in tatters. Jules’s legion curse has been unbound, leaving her out of her mind and unfit to rule. Arsinoe must find a cure, even as the responsibility of stopping the ravaging mist rests heavy on her shoulders, and her shoulders alone. Mirabella has disappeared.
Queen Katharine’s rule over Fennbirn remains intact—for now. But her attack on the rebellion exacted a high price: her beloved Pietyr. Without him, who can she rely upon when Mirabella arrives, seemingly under a banner of truce? As oldest and youngest circle each other, and Katharine begins to yearn for the closeness that Mirabella and Arsinoe share, the dead queens hiss caution—Mirabella is not to be trusted.
In this conclusion to the Three Dark Crowns series, three dark sisters will rise to fight as the secrets of Fennbirn’s history are laid bare. Allegiances will shift. Bonds will be tested, and some broken forever.
The fate of the island lies in the hands of its queens
So I will start out by saying, if you haven’t read the first three novels in the Three Dark Crowns series, you should probably choose a different article to read (but definitely come back to this one once you have). Unless of course you don’t mind getting a brief overview of the plot of the last 1300ish pages of narrative that doesn’t give away the fine intricacies of the novels. Even then, you should still read the previous novels…
Once again if you haven’t read these novels and don’t want a slightly spoilery recap, leave this review now.
You’re still here? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So Five Dark Fates is the fourth and final primary novel in the Three Dark Crowns series and it. Was. AMAZING. Basic rundown for those who have forgotten everything (like I did)? 3 queens are destined to battle it out for a single crown in order to rule and keep Fennbirn happy (Fennbirn is the island they live on). Stuff happens, someone should be dead but instead she is inhabited by the souls of all the queens before her. The other two refuse to die/kill their siblings and so the island gets angry. There’s also naturalist Jules who also has a war affinity and should have been drowned/killed at birth because in previous experiences, the legion cursed go crazy and mass murder everyone around them. And at the start of FDF, everyone is out to settle the score once and for all. Now what did I think?
At the start of the novel, it was a little ho hum. No one seemed to be doing much and everyone was feeling a little antsy because, well, everyone wants everyone else dead… But crossing the half way point, things started happening so quickly, this reader had to go back and reread certain parts of the previous few chapters in order to gain a better understanding of where everyone was. Now, if you have read previous novels, all the Crowns books are like shortened versions of Game of Thrones whereby everyone moves around the tiny land expanse so quickly that sometimes you can miss things. But that’s what maps are for and when reading this one, I actually pulled out my well worn copy of Three Dark Crowns so as to track everyones movements (the map changes between the first and second novels and I’m all for it because cartography is kind of my jam.)
But enough about the maps. Going in to this final instalment, both myself and many people who I have not so gracefully thrown these novels at, were worried as to how it would be concluded. But let me assure you, Blake has outdone herself with tying up all the loose ends in this one. Pretty much every character has a fitting ending, from the most beloved queen to that priestess who I just wanted to go away because eyeroll. Let me warn you though, as in Game of Thrones, the final victor was not who I expected. They deserved the monarchy, yes, but it was not how I expected it to pan out.
Being the series that it is and having a minimal amount of fighting/death (poisoning ‘traitors’ aside), the sheer volume of conflict and gore in this conclusion took me aback just a little. The scenes however are so well coordinated that it did not feel over the top or out of place, instead feeling like a logical culmination to the conflict of the Fennbirn Queens. I also loved that the island itself set out to take its revenge because there is nothing better than a chunk of land gaining sentience and inflicting its own punishment on those that have wronged it.
Also, there is a massive revelation contained within the pages of FDF that was hinted to in Two Dark Reigns but really blew the expected out of the water. To elicit an audible gasp from me is a hard task but throughout the span of 450 pages, Blake shows her writing chops as she caused me to be surprised more than once.
So I guess what I want to say is well done to Kendare Blake for bringing this epic series of novels to a close that was not only entertaining but also sensical, a rare occurrence in the current climate of fantastical novels. Characters who seemed to go by the wayside finally had a purpose, all the plotting and scheming culminated in an epic fashion and it was an all round enjoyable read. My one main criticism of the whole thing was what happened with a certain newborn because they seemed to just disappear and now I’m confused as to their purpose…
Until next time lovelies xo