The world of Three Dark Crowns is back with this prequel novella that gives us insight into the lives of the three queens before they had to start attempting to kill each other. In The Young Queens, we see Arsinoe, Katherine, and Mirabella at birth, at age six, at age nine, and at age eleven as they grow to know each other, part ways, meet their host families, and come into their own personalities and gifts.
Like in the other books of the series, Kendare Blake as an author favors Arinsoe and Jules story over that of others and we get a lot of them, but we also learn about Mirabella’s life, something we don’t get a lot of her, and her relationship with Luca the High Priestess. We also learn about Katherine’s early days of poisoner training.
I will warn that there is a spoiler in the early chapters of this prologue that is revealed at the end of Three Dark Queens/early in One Dark Throne and it is about the queens and their personalities and gifts, but it honestly isn’t some HUGE revelation that is going to ruin your reading of the stories so while you SHOULD read the other books first, I won’t hold it against you if you pick up this one instead.
Personally, I wish The Young Queens had been longer or spent more time going in depth on some of the plot points. It felt like a grazing of the issues. Take for example the time that Arinsoe, Jules, and Joseph attempt to leave the island, something that is referenced in the other books but COULD have been explicated on in this prequel novella. However, Blake completely glazes over this MAJOR plot point and instead gives us the punishment scene afterwards. I want to know what REALLY happened when they tried. How far did they get? Why did they try to leave? Did they have help? I NEED TO KNOW ma’am.
Anyway, I think this book was interesting overall, even if I wish it had given me more information. I can’t wait for The Oracle Queen coming in April because that’s a story we REALLY don’t know.