Author: Kendare Blake
Narrator: Amy Landon
Audiobook Length: 11 hours 30 minutes
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.
Five Dark Fates is the final (fourth) novel in the Three Dark Crowns series. Since the first three novels included the numbers one, two, and three, I did wonder why there was not a novel using the number four. Although I can understand the uses of the one, two, and three as they correspond to the characters, I admit that I had difficulty, at first, deciding the five characters the title refers to; eventually I landed on three for each of the sister, the Legion Queen, and the Blue Queen, but I could be mistaken. It does not affect my opinion or the actual story in any way. It was just an interesting tangent regarding the series.
Arsinoe is aligned with Jules and the rebellion. She is trying to be a support system for the rebellion and figure out how to finally end the violence with her sisters. Jules continued to be a good friend to Arsinoe while also being labeled the Legion Queen. Mirabella interacts with Katharine. Mirabella is on a mission to find out more about the history of the queens while Katharine is trying to deal with the aftermath of the dead queens and Pietyr. Katharine is a very conflicted character as she shows signs of being the more kind character the readers are first introduced to and trying to deal with the dead queens telling her about everyone’s possible betrayals. Since Arsinoe and Mirabella spend more time together in the previous novel, it was nice to see Mirabella now interact more with Katharine.
The pacing is in this novel was fairly slow considering it was the finale and the final confrontation was a little lacking since there was a more intense on in the previous novel. The third and fourth novels could have been reworked and combined into one novel and I think that would have a more intense impact. The way things ended and the general outline of the series worked well, but how the characters go from start to finish was a little muddled and needed a little more exploration, for me. The Legion curse, the Mist, and the Blue Queen are all concepts that are brought up a lot yet I cannot clearly articulate each concept. I have enough of an idea to understand them generally in the story, but I feel it was a little lacking in the delivery for reader comprehension.
The ending of the series can be divisive as everyone has their own opinion about how it should have come together. It did make sense considering the buildup throughout the other novels and was satisfying, in a way, as it did wrap up almost everything. Although Arsinoe was my choice from the beginning, I found that I liked Mirabella a lot too throughout the series and Katharine grew on me a lot. Each of the sisters were more complex than I originally anticipated yet still being simple enough to understand their points of view. The series may not have been one of my favorites, but it was well worth the read. I also like the epilogue in this series, as there is room to create either a sequel or a spin-off series so readers can re-visit this world.
This novel is not bad in any way, but it just seemed to suffer from a pacing issue for being the final novel in the series. There is a lot of build-up to the last quarter of the book where everything starts to come together. Since the last book had more action, it just seemed a little off balance. To me, the first two novels were fairly simple in their plots where the three sisters must kill the other to leave one standing while the last two took this and added tons of new concepts (legion cursed, etc.) I think since it started out as a duology and was expanded to four novels, this could have thrown off the series pacing as a whole. It could be that if the series started with four novels, then all the concepts could have been distributed more to make it a more seamless transition from one novel to the next and the conclusion would have felt more satisfying. The political intrigue, the romances, the friendships, alliances, betrayals, and the sisterly relationships are all excellent concepts in this series, so it just felt that many of them did not get the attention they deserved. Overall, this series was worth the read, but may not be one I return to re-read anytime soon.