It’s not easy being queen—just ask the three sisters at the heart of Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns series. They live in a land where they’re forced to fight to the death to decide which of them will be named queen. The latest installment in this dark and twisted series, Two Dark Reigns, finds one sister on the throne and two on the run. To celebrate the book’s release, Blake put together a list of her favorite royals in YA literature. Would you swear fealty to any of these characters?
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
I absolutely adore Holly Black’s writing, so even though I had never read one of her novels featuring the world of faerie, I couldn’t resist picking this one up. I am so glad I did! The entire faerie court is devious, strange, gorgeous, and absolutely lethal. And Prince Cardan! He’s an enigma wrapped in a conundrum and dipped in a bucket of hot sauce.
The Girl King by Mimi Yu
Lu is the daughter of an emperor, and she is ready to become the first female ruler. But she is shocked when her father declares her betrothed to be the heir instead. “Betrayal” is what I gasped when I read that part, followed very quickly by “mistake,” because Lu is not about to have her destiny wrenched away from her and plopped at the feet of some unworthy future husband. I mean, her dad had known her for her whole life; what kind of idiot was he to think that was just going to fly? There’s more to it, obviously, and what follows is an action-packed fantasy with not one but two feisty female royals: Lu, and her kid sister Min.
Prince Rennar and all of the witch royals of the Haute
Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd
What’s more royal than royalty? Witch royalty, if you ask me. And the society of magic in Megan Shepherd’s Grim Lovelies is one that’s full of intrigue, deceit, opulence, and excess. These royals use magic to influence every corner of the realm, watching you through portraits and turning the pelts of beasts into human-like servants. When a few of these servants rebel, it sets off a magical caper through Paris and the French countryside. The spells are enchanting, and the Shadow Royals menacing and a bit aloof, just as royals should be.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
When I first met Amari, a princess of the royal household on the run with a treasured artifact, I thought about the same thing as main character Zelie: “Ditch this spoiled brat because she’s just going to get you into trouble!” But over the course of their quest to bring back magic, as they travel across a vibrant, fully-realized world, Amari showed herself to be good-hearted, resilient, and resourceful. And she was pretty good to the giant rideable lionaire, which I feel is very important.
Cath, the future Queen of Hearts
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Ah, Cath. She never wanted to be royal. Who would when it meant you had to marry the King of Hearts? Seriously. All she wanted was to open a bakery with her friend (note: This book will make you crave baked goods. If you read this without at least a lemon square in the house then you’ve only yourself to blame.). Unfortunately, she gets caught up in royal intrigue and before you know it, she’s in love with the mysterious Jest, a Jabberwocky is on the loose, and the entire fate of the land of Hearts hangs in the balance. Yet she still finds time to bake! The girl is a legitimate wonder.
Kendare Blake is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns series. She holds an MA in creative writing from Middlesex University in northern London. She is also the author of Anna Dressed in Blood, a Cybils Awards finalist; Girl of Nightmares; Antigoddess; Mortal Gods; and Ungodly. Her books have been translated into eighteen languages, have been featured on multiple best-of-year lists, and have received many regional and librarian awards. Kendare lives and writes in Kent, Washington.