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Three Dark Crowns #2

One Dark Throne

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The battle for the crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, the elemental sister once thought to be the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must confront the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

450 pages, Paperback

First published September 19, 2017

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About the author

Kendare Blake

41 books54.7k followers
So, I write books. The Anna Dressed in Blood duo is horror, The Goddess War trilogy is mythology, and Three Dark Crowns is fantasy, because the world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you, may not be right for some. Love to read, too. Fiction, philosophy, good books, bad books, because you take the good you take the bad you take them both and there you have a stack of books and stuff. I mean, you've got to be adventurous. There's more to life that what you're living, so take a chance and face the wind.

There's more coming soon like ALL THESE BODIES and a new fantasy series, so don't waste another minute on your cryin. We're nowhere near the end.

My likes include animals, food, and nostalgia. I mean, whatever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy, the evening TV? Used to be everywhere you look, there's a heart, a hand to hold on to.

Anyway, I love to hear from readers so drop me a line here or at my website and we'll talk about friends to know, and ways to grow, and how if you threw a party you would see that the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

We can also talk about all the sitcom theme songs in this bio. Sha la la la.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,752 reviews
Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
257 reviews4,850 followers
July 11, 2017
Full Revew Update! (Spoiler free)

Easy 5 stars. Good grief. What even happened? What did I just read?

I went into this book not knowing to expect. The first book was certainly unpredictable, and this one even less so. But holy crap guys, what a ride this was. Prepare for a rollercoaster.

Going back, I loved the first book. BUT. It took me til about half way to get into it. There were just so many characters and my brain got lost frequently. But once everything with Joseph hit though, I got sucked in to that river of feels. Let me urge you, if you DNF'ed the first because you had a hard time getting into it, go back and finish. I promise you, it's worth it. SO worth it. And the end of book one? Holy wow.

So that brings me to this one.

You guys, you are not prepared. It takes off running and doesn't slow down. I'm not trying to hype this up or anything, but it was damn fun and I was literally panting and sweating ALL through the book. The pacing was ten times the first. Absolutely perfect. The writing was gorgeous and raw. I'm not normally a fan of third person present, but it works here. But the best part? This story was so easy to follow, and before you know it, you're right there in the plot with the characters. I WAS PANICKING FOR ALL THE CHILDREN.

Previously, I didn't really hate any of the queens, though I was drawn to Arsinoe. That definitely didn't change here. She just breaks my heart. She's so badass, and like in the first book, she just expects herself to be the one to die. She's been told she was weak, and my gosh, that's the opposite of true. This girl has spirit and I can barely think about her without getting emotional. The choices she makes all throughout this story are just... I can't. I can't. ILOVEHER.

Can we also please just take a moment to appreciate the fact that her face is scarred but she literally OWNS it. Does not care.

And on that note? Billy? SDFJSL:DFKJ I did not expect him to become a favorite character. Holy crap. I wish I could say more, and I will down the road, but for now, I'm just going to wildly profess my love for Billy and Arsinoe. They are now my children. I am adopting them.

As for Mirabella, I was unsure of her in the first book. She's the pretty queen who was told she was the only powerful one, and has every reason to act spoiled. But does she? Heck no. From book one, she remembered and cared for her sisters, but grew cold once she thought Arsinoe attacked her. Understandable right? But she surprised me time and time again. She's perfectly imperfect but deep down, the sweetest thing. I think you guys will LOVE her in this book.

As for Katherine, well, you guys know what happened to her at the end of the last. We pick back up with the consequences of that, and her character becomes so fascinatingly eerie. I still can't bring myself to hate her. I liked her from the beginning, and I was so into her and Peityr's relationship, and oh man guys... just wait until you see what happens with all that. I don't even know how to feel right now.

Omg. How could I forget Jules and Camden? Like Camden is my soulkitty. Holy wow. And Jules.. I did NOT expect the twist with her. I'm so nervous about her... I adore her so much. There is SO much potential there but she's as much a main character as the three queens now, and I LOVED that.

I can't find anything to complain about. I really can't. Maybe there's a few characters I still couldn't keep straight from time to time, but it didn't take away from my reading experience at all.

And as usual, you guys are in for a ton of bloodshed and a kick ass CRAZY ending. Also I'm still crying bye.

SO I realize this review is mostly a conglomerate of emotional fangirling but I can't help it, that's how I feel right now. I'll certainly add more once the book has been released and I can talk more openly, but I feel like this will fly off the shelves. I can't wait for the third book release.

All in all?

My heart is BLEEDING, and yet I LOVED every minute of it. And hated it. And loved it. WHAT EVEN.
This book was bat shit crazy, and one of the most unique and riveting stories I've ever read.

My Blog ~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Etsy
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
March 15, 2018
5/5 Stars. This book BLEW ME AWAY. I don’t think I have ever loved a sequel so much.

I feel so satisfied with this novel. It was everything I could have wanted from the Three Dark Crowns when I first started. It is action packed, intense, and very complex. The strain on character relationships deepen, political tensions continue to rise, and it is full of enticing events that hooked me the entire time. The pacing was much better than book one in my opinion and I feel the increase in significant events and a stronger storyline were big assets to this novel. My engagement with the second installment of this series is miles stronger than that of book one, and I couldn’t be happier with the shift in my personal reading experience.

Due to the character development of all the queens, it’s interesting how I can’t fully root for just one of them. I always had a soft spot for Arsinoe, and book two caused me to gain a greater appreciation for Mirabella. I also grew to like Jules more and while I feel I *should* despise Katherine, her storyline is so fascinating that I can’t help but sort of love her now-morally grey character. I still hate Joseph, though.

If you had any reservations about starting the series or about continuing after book one, drop them and indulge in this fantastic book. One Dark Throne is a new fantasy fav for me and I’m so happy I read it.
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
588 reviews3,483 followers
September 18, 2017
"'Once, I was a mouse,' she says and strips off her glove. She reaches into the cage to stroke the rodent's tiny bald haunches.

'But I am not anymore.'


Since this worked out so well last time:



After the bloody events of the Quickening last book, one would be forgiven for expecting, nay, anticipating murder, mayhem, and violent mind games this round. One would expect the queens to focus tunnel vision-like on the prospect of winning and continued existence.

...Right?

"Not as beautiful as that." Nicolas bends and kisses the back of her gloved hand. "Not as beautiful as you."

Katharine blushes and nods downfield toward the targets.




Katharine, my reborn poisoner, my best hope for some slaughter, has reverted back to a blushing milkmaid in the presence of a new hot suitor. You'd think she'd show some suspicion or caution towards handsome, unusually nice strangers after what happened with Pietyr, but either she's the most confident idiot in the world or the most hormonal. Take your pick.



As someone who's writing a thesis on literary doubles, it gets frustrating when the duality between Nicolas (Katharine's new suitor) and Pietyr are presented with the subtlety of a knock knock joke. Katharine literally says Pietyr is her better half, the one who wants her to be softer, kinder. Nicolas relishes violence and feeds her dark side.

There's just so much goddamn romance. The first 30% of One Dark Throne is occupied with the queens' various romantic storylines, with Katharine occasionally sending out poisoned clothes as a transparent attempt to create tension.

I don't mind romance. Honestly, I don't. But when the blurb promises high stakes and war, I expect blood to flow all the way up to my knees.



Arinsoe and Mirabelle. I had little to no expectations for these two, so I wasn't that disappointed when they sat back like the vanilla bread rolls they are. This series tries so hard to sell me that it's morally grey!, these characters are dark! when they are as pure as fresh stream water.

What I do have are questions:

1) Why does Arinsoe's low magic spell work astonishingly well after the disaster with the bear last time?

2) Actually, why is she still using low magic at all, given what happened? Why doesn't she at least hesitate or show inner turmoil?

3) Why would anyone randomly pick up a knife off the ground and then use it to slice meat? This doesn't make much sense if you haven't read the book, but the aftermath of this ludicrous decision sets quite a few plot wheels spinning.

Dare I say, plot convenience?





The writing and world-building are still frustratingly sparse. On the former, the narrative gives off a traditional "fairy tale" vibe where we have action and dialogue, but we never have a solid handle on its characters. One Dark Throne largely foregoes stream-of-consciousness narrative (inner thoughts/monologue, simply put), so it's hard for me, personally, to relate to these characters. It lacks intimacy. They're plot pieces, not people.

As for world-building, two full-length books have gone by and I still don't have a good idea what Fennbirn looks like nor the three clans' culture and surroundings. (Truthfully, I don't have a clue what the sisters look like either) There are poisoners and naturalists and elementals... and then what? There's nothing to expand on. All I get from Wolf Spring (naturalist Arinsoe's home) is they're big on fried clams. But it's been two books! I should know more than fried clams.

Towards the end, we are led to believe that we'll receive world expansion in the form of the mainland, though I stand by my point. It's been two books. Nearly 800 pages. We should know more. I should feel more.

ARC provided by Edelweiss

My review of Three Dark Crowns
Profile Image for emma.
1,786 reviews43k followers
December 23, 2020
This is actually very brave of me.

You might think it's not, because I read the first book in this series truly a hundred years ago (in 2017), and therefore you could say it took me three (or 100) years to work up the courage to even pick this up.

But you'd be wrong, because it actually grew even BRAVER with time.

See, in 2017 I wasn't AS much of a nerd as I am currently, and I did not track my reading analytics, but now...

Well, 2020 me is so debilitatingly nerdy that I can give you proportional breakdowns of my reading by genre, by month, by age group, by author gender...I could go on.

I can only make Educated Guesses about 2017 me, but I would estimate I was reading 90% YA and like half fantasy.

Current me reads mostly adult and mostly anything-except-fantasy-because-bad-fantasy-is-the-most-boring-slump-inducing-thing-in-global-history.

So reading this in these unprecedented times was - say it with me - BRAVE!!

And I was rewarded by this being super super fun.

I love sisters, and I love magic, and I love darkness, and I love drama, and poison and animal friends and elemental control are cool too.

So this was a dream.

Can't wait to get to the next book in 2023.

Bottom line: Please send all trophies and medals to the PO box I will be setting up for this purpose.

----------
pre-review

WHY DIDN'T I READ THIS SOONER?!

oh right, because i hate fun and all my decisions are motivated by a mix of mild insanity and a desire for suffering.

that explains it.

review to come / 4 stars

----------
currently-reading updates

reading this series as the author intended: by reading the first book, waiting three years, then reading the second
Profile Image for Cindy ✩☽♔.
951 reviews769 followers
November 3, 2017
For hours, from beginning to end, this book was all consuming. So far none of my most anticipated sequels have let me down, glad this book kept up that trend.

We reunite with the sisters sometime after the events of Beltane. And as expected none of the sisters are quite the same. Mirabella who is out for revenge, Arisone who has now discovered her deadly gift and Katharine who is essentially back from the dead, and as usual, nothing is as it seems.

My sister rankings:
Katharine ≈ Arsinoe > Mirabella
I know, I know, it's crazy that after all my Katharine cheerleading I have actually come to like Arsinoe quite a bit. And while Mirabella is still my least favorite, I don't detest her as I did before. Crazy right?

The Sister as GIFs
Katharine:
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Arsione:
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Mirabella when she starts finally starts to realize the truth...
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Relationships:
Billy & Arsione
From strangers to friends, to lovers, these two are basically relationships goals.
"Are you worried I'll like them better than I like you?"
"That's not possible."
"Why? Because you're so irresistible?"
"No. Because you don't like anyone."
Arsione snorts.
"I do like you, Junior."
"Oh?"
"But I have more important things to think about right now."

Honestly, I love their banter and conversations. Their moments together are often brief, but they're always worth it. They clearly love each other, but their romance in no way stands in the way of them doing what is needed of them.
"No matter how far I go, I'm still your person. We stand together now."
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This is basically the line that stole my heart, though there are plenty of others, and made me truly fall for Billy. He is the only love interest, at this point, whom I absolutely adore. He is loyal and his feelings unwavering. The same can also be said for Arsione. There were moments where I feared she'd misunderstand him, but thankfully I was proven wrong. These two not only love each other, but they also trust each other and that is just so important.

Pietyr & Katharine
"He does not love you like I do. He cannot."
"And how do you know, Pietyr?" Katharine asks, leaning so close that he must feel her breath against his ear. "What must he do to prove he does? Must he throw me down into the Breccia Domain?

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These two have a very tenuous relationship at this point. Pietyr, despite his rather unforgivable actions in the previous book, is determined to prove to Katharine that he truly loves her. And Katharine, though she denies it, has never truly stopped loving him. Because only a fool in love would see any logic in his absolutely absurd reason for his actions. She wants to hurt him, to see his discomfort and jealousy at her actions.
"Will you try to put your knife in his back?" Katharine counters, but Nicholas only laughs.
"Of course not, my sweet," he says. "When I kill a man, I look into his eyes."
Katharine forces a smile. Of course he is joking. He must be. No one must ever be allowed to harm Pietyr. No one but her.

But if anything, this just proves that he still holds her heart. And at the end, it appears all of Pietyr declarations are true because he stands by her even after the horrid truth of her gift manifests itself. It seems this time Pietyr has strapped himself in for the long-hull and is ready to be the ride or die guy that Katharine needs. So I guess we'll see how this goes.
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Honestly, I was quite worried when the announcement of two more books, since this was originally supposed to be a duology, because I feared this would start to drag. But I am satisfied with the overall pacing of this book. And I think it left us with a lot of mysteries and questions that still need to be answered. So I am definitely looking forward to more history/lore regarding the island and how it will draw the sisters back together again, especially with how this book ended.

All-in-all a solid read, I can't wait to see what happens next!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,480 reviews29.8k followers
June 12, 2019
okayyyy. it pains me, but i will admit this is marginally better than the first book. but, oh, i would have paid money for this to include joseph vs. the bear, part II. i still think hes a massive weenie. but honestly, im not a fan of how blake portrays men in this, any of them, like at all. something about it is rubbing me the wrong way...

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Layla.
317 reviews351 followers
February 24, 2021
~ 1.5 stars ~

Was this book better than the one previous? Was it worse? Have I lost my sense of judgment? We will never know. But because of that train wreck of an ending, I’m going to dock points off and move on. I thought that first off, the plot was more put together in this one, and stuff actually happened, not that I actually liked what happened, but unlike the last book, at least not everything was a never ending rising action.

I have also gained some appreciation for Billy and Arisone, because the standards to what makes a good character is annoyingly low. I mean compared to Jos*ph, Blond Boy #1, Blond Boy #2, Katharine, and Human Garbage Sr., those two are saints.

Now onto all the things I despised. If this turns into an incoherent I sincerely apologize, I didn’t get to rant about One Dark Crown, because it drained too much of my mental energy to do so, and it’s time to release all the buried anger.


Buddy reading this series with human because I suppose we have nothing better to do? Big thanks to her for spamming me with memes and gifs which kept me going. Here is her REVIEW.



This review will contain spoilers and will also be structured differently than usual to accommodate for the rambaling. It's also really long, so sorry for that too.


Katherine and her team of blond lackies

Katherine becomes some possessed sinister queen after being y e e t e d into the Breccia Domain, which is the dead queen's grave, by her supposed love interest, and is now out for revenge. But her turning to the dark side after being some pathetic weak loser queen is not as satisfactory as you would think. Yes, finally, we have some bloodshed, that’s what I’ve been waiting for. But we don’t even know the specifics of what truly happened, and in what way that affected Katharine, and why that is so. There are so many plot holes and things I simply do not understand, and that would be totally okay considering this is only book 2/4 in the series, except it just keeps on adding on to it. More things that go unexplained.

She gets crowned, after Arisone and Mirabella and revealed to be in cahoots and both openly announce that they will not kill each other, so the priestesses sell Mirabella out, and they are both scheduled for execution, making Katharine the queen. She chooses Nicolas as her king consort, and when she sleeps with him, it kills him, and he dies of poisoning. And everyone has come to the conclusion that she is “poison”, which I don’t understand why that is the only explanation and how they came to that conclusion. Once again the plot holes keep on adding up. What this thing entails is that no non-poisoner can “lay with her” or touch her in general, which also means she will never be able to have the next generation of queens. Which I guess solves Love Triangle #1.

Yup, I suppose the easiest (and stupidest) way to solve one is just kill off one of the love interests, and make it so the second one is part of the select few which can touch her. How painfully convenient. It’s not like that same love interest tried to kill her.

Which brings me to that love interest, Pietyr. First off, the way his name is spelled annoys me, but that’s besides the point. He threw Katharine in the Breccia Domain, because he didn’t want the priestesses to kill her. So to solve that problem. . . he attempted to kill her. Don’t you love the logic? And once she kills Nicolas with her touch, he says that she is now more precious to him than ever before. And throughout this all, we are supposed to believe that he is in love with her.

Not that Nicolas is any better. Him and Pietyr and too similar to be distinguishable. They both are possessive, power hungry, and love Katharine for questionable reasons. The only difference is that one of them has blond hair in a lighter shade than the other.

And that choosing of Nicolas also leads to another unfortunate death. Notice how they will just continue to add up. Human Garbage Sr., aka William Chatworth Sr., as in Billy’s abusive father, gets mad at Natalie, Katharine’s foster mother, because they had a deal that she would choose Billy to be her king consort. She doesn’t, so he gets drunk, goes to Natalie’s room, loses his temper, and chokes her to death. One of the head priestesses (Ro?) find him after he has killed her, and then kills him by stabbing him with a knife. They wrap him in a carpet and toss him out.

So now the leader of the Arrons is dead, leaving her. . .also abusive sister Genevieve in charge. But they all have no idea how to hide the fact that the king consort is dead, and that Katharine is cursed, kinda like this book, so that will probably serve as one of our problems in the next book.



Arisone’s Speshul Squad

Where do I start with this one? Arisone is not actually a naturalist, she’s a poisoner, which I think also makes you an absolute idiot, because for some reason it took them an entire book to make the connection that Katharine might be a naturalist. So she’s obviously stoked, because she’s not a complete failure. No offense, but isn’t like being a poisoner littelry the lamest power ever. All they can do is eat poison. And poisoning other people isn’t special, because anyone can do that. So how it is that this specific gift has ruled for generations is beyond me. But that serves as a protection and advantage as only a handful of people know. So when Katharine shoots her in the back with an poisoned arrow (shame it wasn’t a knife, because than she could have responded with “Et tu, Brute?”) she doesn’t die. When Katharine comes back to kill her a second time by making her swallow poison, she doesn’t die.

When Katharine tried to kill her her first time, Jules ends up swooping in, saving the day once again, and taking her presumably dead body to The Black Cottage, where the queens are raised, and where her aunt, Caragh now resides due a banishment. We find out the switching of the queens is purposeful. We also get an awkward reunion with Caragh and Jules' mom Madrigal. Because Madrigal is now with Caragh’s husband/finance/lover (I have no idea what they are, but before her banishment they were together and everyone considers them endgame or something). She is also pregnant with his child, and may or may not be keeping him around with low magic, which is like magic for pathetic people who can’t do real magic, but in this case, Madrigal, uses it to control things and extra power. So yay, another love triangle, except for it’s with old people. That same low magic has tied Arisone, to a bear, as a fake familiar. So she Arisone alos has that to her advantage.

But here is where the real specialness comes into play, Jules’ who we didn’t think could get anymore so, does. Because of the circumstances she was born in, she was born legion cursed. Meaning she has two gifts, one of them, along with her super powerful naturalist abilities, is that she is war gifted. Legion Borns must be drowned at birth because they are too unstable, but Jules’ family decided to bound her gift, so that no one would know, including herslef. But that spell has become weakened. So now Jules, being a runaway and criminal, her existence breaking the law, decides she might as well use this to her advantage. There is a final duel between Katharine and Mirabella (the challenger) to determine the true queen. This duel is to the death, and has been made into a big event. They decide to sneak in, and use her gift to help Mirabella win, and to guide all of Katharine’s knife throws away.

Honestly, I just think everything is just so painfully convenient it hurts. And as much as I hate Jules speshul, at least she isn’t useless *glares at Joseph*. First off, I absolutely hate him for obvious reasons. But he literally does nothing the entire book other than being a tag along. He is a naturalist, yet for some reason doesn’t have a gift, and why that is so is never mentioned. And we get a lackluster redemption for him, where we are led to believe that he cheated on Jules because of some spell gone wrong. But then he confesses that he cheated because he wanted to, and by his own free will, which yeah, we already knew, but which one is it? And is him confessing to being the equivalent to gum being stuck on the bottom of your shoe, is supposed to make us like him? Were we supposed to like him to start with? Was he written to be likable? Or was he just a throw away? Regardless, Jose*ph can die for all i ca- wait a minute, HE DOES DIE! More on that later.

Now onto Billy. When he thought that Arisone was dead, he teamed up with Mirabella and became her king consort in hopes of taking down Katharine, so at least he tried you know. Not that he accomplished anything by doing so, other than defiance to his father.



Mirabella and her unimportant and useless allies

Mirabella has to be the most disappointing character in this entire series. I mean, she has the coolest gift, she controls all the elements, yet acts like a whimpering useless child. There is no way Katharine could have stood in her way. She was raised to kill her sisters, but can’t follow through because she’s sentimental or whatever. Wouldn’t it be so cool, if she wasn’t so pathetic? And imagine falling for Joseph. Pathetic. So much could have been done with her character, instead we got whatever this is.

And we have like a bunch of people who are supporting her throughout this, but literally serve no purpose. Elizabeth and Bree, and all the Westwoods. And of course there are the priestesses, who think the sun rises and sets on her. But when the time comes to step up, and she doesn’t, they give her up for execution, for a few seats on the council. So much for loyalty. Mirabella is serving us nothing, and therefore she has become sort of like a side character in this book.



A catastrophic ending

Mirabella, Arisone, Billy, Jules, and Joseph, with the help of the war gifted group, are able to escape prison and their executions, and run off to the mainland. The only time Mirabella is useful, as she is able to guide them through.

But, solution to Love Triangle #3, is that Joseph is injured. The entire time we are told that he is okay, and that the wound is minor, but the second they arrive at the mainland, after some throwup worthy exchanges between Jules and Joseph, he dies. He just dies. And everyone is so weirdly chill about it. Like “crap, he’s dead, guess we got to throw him a funeral now?” type chill. No grieving. He wasn’t worth the tears anyways, but that’s besides the point. WHY DID SO MANY PEOPLE JUST DIE? Repeat after me: “Killing a bunch of people for shock value doesn’t make up for the lackluster plot”. So the solution to the Mirabella, Jospeph, Jules loves triangle is killing the common denominator. Also two suitors died, and so did a priestess, for no reason at all, just to add on to the death count I guess.

And then Jules gets sudden dementia and forgets that she left the islands to protect Arisone, and decides that she wants to go back. She ditches them without warning, and goes back to live with the other war gifted people as they will take her in, with a lame “protect her for me” sendoff. And then the story ends. Three days of my life wasted only for an unsatisfactory ending. Love that.



Final Thoughts: This book is just one plot hole but I don't know why I expected things to make sense to begin with. The next two books have some serious explaining to do. I’ve also heard “Legion Queen” be said, when I spoiled stuff for myself, and I’m going to pretend like I don’t see it. This whole book was lackluster and did a lot of annoying things, but onto the next book!

•••••

Me: half jokingly says I want a character to die.

Character: *dies*

Me:
Profile Image for Tomoe Hotaru.
247 reviews840 followers
September 8, 2019
30 Sep. '17
My other reviews for:
Three Dark Crowns | Two Dark Reigns | Five Dark Fates

This book was all over the place, and I say this with great sadness. I wanted to like this more than Three Dark Crowns; unfortunately it was the other way around. And I didn't even find TDC particularly great.

There will be some spoilers here; the more "serious" spoilers are marked, but still some unmarked ones as well, so be warned.

I say "all over the place" mostly in terms of internal consistency. The characters say one thing yet do another. The world politics consist of certain rules yet have no strong consequences when they are broken. Even the narrative voice flip-flops between close third-person (often shifting into secondary characters' POV when it is convenient for the author not to get into the heads of the actual main character) and yet would frequently brush into omnicient.

"No, Braddock, no!" Arsinoe shouts, and stomps her feet, but he will not obey. He is tired of running.

"(...) You will always be welcome at Westwood House." Bree's voice is forceful. Determined. She does not understand why Elizabeth stays after what they did to her (...)


The above quotes are just two of the examples I found upon a cursory skim. The first was during a scene written in close 3rd person with Arsinoe as its main point of view, yet she somehow slips into her bear's mind? (and no, it's not because he is her familiar and she has a natural connection to how it feels - it's already established since Book 1 that their "bond" is the result of an unnatural low magic).

The second quote is taken from a scene where every other paragraph is written in close 3rd person POV with Mirabella as its main character, and the shift into Bree's thoughts just threw me off.

Otherwise, the narrative was serviceable. It isn't particularly great, and there were times it felt ... convenient, for lack of a better word. Things that were kept secret from us readers for so long would suddenly be revealed by Character A talking about it to Character B.
The biggest example (and one of the greater peeves I had about this book) was in the case of Cait and Madrigal discussing the secret about Jules. There was no reason this secret was kept from us readers other than for the sake of mystery - especially considering that we've been in Madrigal's head upon several occasions since Book 1. The fact she never thought about this secret and revealed it to us readers at an earlier stage was a huge cop-out. Mystery for the sake of mystery.
And when it was finally revealed, it was done at such an offhand and non-exciting manner as two characters having a discussion, that it was simply anticlimactic.

While we're on the topic of the secret about Jules - be warned that there will be spoilers in this next paragraph ... please skip this entire paragraph if you're not prepared to learn what the "secret" is - I pretty much guessed something like this from Book 1, as you can see in my predictions below.
I didn't get it completely right, but it was clear there was some powerful revelation about her. I'm pissed off not because I didn't get the prediction exactly right, but because this revelation came out of nowhere. Legion cursed? What the eff is this new term? It was never once mentioned in Book 1 (I did a search on my e-book copy) and all of a sudden in Book 2, every time the term was mentioned, every character that mentioned it knew exactly what it was.
Now all of a sudden, Jules' great power is revealed to be because she also has the war gift on top of her naturalist gift? And we never saw sparks of it before because it had been "bound"?

It just seemed like the author pulled it out of nowhere because she didn't want to use any of the foreshadowed terms previously thrown in Book 1 (e.g. Blue Queen) just to throw us all off and make the reveal a "surprise". Unfortunately, I wasn't "shook", as they say nowadays. More like mildly annoyed.

Why are people still even following these traditions and picking their queen out of Mirabella, Katharine, and Arsinoe when Jules is clearly much more powerful?

And since I've mentioned the lack of consistency before, the reveal about Jules also explicitly stated that people with her particular gift (or curse, whatever you want to name it) were supposed to (1) go mad because of their curse, and (2) have lesser powers because of it.
In Jules' case, neither of these two caveats were true. She remains completely sane and powerful throughout the entire novel ... so, worldbuilding inconsistency, or special cookie? Either explanation is equally disappointing.

In case you thought I was done - hold your horses!

Going back to "mystery for the sake of mystery". We were so conveniently left out of Katharine's head so often for the sheer reason that the author did not want us to know what had happened to her down in that pit she crawled out of.
The times we were so graciously let into her POV, never once did she think about her escape. Never once did she show even a reaction to her traumatic experience down there in those pits. Once again, conveniently preventing us readers from discovering what happened to her for no other reason other than to keep the mystery alive.
And the manner in which we do discover what happened?
Another anticlimactic reveal. I had guessed it long before the actual reveal (about a quarter way into the book, going by my one single status update).

So again, I ain't shook.

In addition to the gripes I have above, I'm also left with more questions than I had coming in. Again: spoilers, so please skip if you don't want to know some key revelations.

(1) Arsinoe, as I've predicted, is a powerful poisoner. I say powerful because she survives every single poisoning attempt, and this without even a day of training as a poisoner. This makes her even more powerful than Katharine previously.
However, Katharine, having being possessed by the spirits of dead queens past, is also now a powerful poisoner. So powerful that her king consort ends up dead after coitus.
So why, when in Book 1 Arsinoe's blood came in contact with Madrigal and later, Jack's rooster, did neither of the two also die?

(2) Katharine's power. What in the actual f*** is it? The only reason she got so strong is because she's immersed in the strength and sheer willpower of all the previously killed queens. That means it's their powers she's channelling. So, what is her actual own ability? Is she truly a poisoner, but just a completely useless, weak, and crappy one?

(3) What happened to the love-spell-gone-awry that kept Joseph and Mirabella inexplicably drawn to each other? In Book 1, a single glance was enough to get their juices going and hot all over. Now, it's completely dropped as though the author decided that sideplot had run its course and didn't know how to close it properly.

(4) What happened to low magic being a dangerous, unpredictable thing? In Book 1, it took Jules and the blood magic to control Arsinoe's bear, and even then it was a volatile and weak connection. But all of a sudden, now after a second use of low magic, Arsinoe suddenly has complete and perfect control of her bear.

The above questions cemented my overall conclusion that this book is all over the place . I don't know if the author is a pantser or a plotter, but it read like a book written by the seat of one's pants, and given the occasional curveball when things got a little too predictable, just to throw us all off; and plot bunnies were left to die and fade in a forgotten corner.
Things that were previously foreshadowed were left forgotten (red herrings get annoying after one too many). Rules previously established often lead nowhere, things that are revealed often came out of nowhere.

House loyalties dissipated at the drop of a hat, characters' actions held no consequences . Pietyr shoving Katharine down that hole in Book 1? Pah, just tell her you did it "out of love" and it's all done and dusted. Joseph's betrayal? Forgiven completely, love spell or no.

However, I do feel guilty giving this book the same rating as I gave for Throne of Glass , which I hated infintely more than One Dark Throne. I don't hate this book, despite my review. I was more ... disappointed by it.

I'll still end up reading the next books, simply because I've come so far. None of the main characters were so detestable that made the reading experience painful, and, like I said, the narrative voice is serviceable. It didn't try to be poetic or artsy or whatever crap that often makes prose unbearable to read. The relationships between characters were ... commendable, although the individual characters by themselves could do with a lot more work.

Basically, I think this story has potential. The writing has potential. This was disappointing, but I'm not giving up on the author.



13 Jan. '17
goodreads | Review of Three Dark Crowns
Having accurately predicted the twist of Three Dark Crowns from Chapter Two of said book, let's see if I can get as lucky in this one:

- Jules is the Blue Queen (or some other similarly powerful revelation about the circumstance of her birth / paternal heritage).
theory (somewhat) confirmed

- Katharine is the Naturalist Queen. She and Arsinoe were swapped; probably a plan the three girls concocted, made possible since they have now (bar Mirabella who keeps getting dreams about their childhood) conveniently lost all memory of their earlier years.
Also made possible since their mother knew every single girl had powers (possibly knew which girl had what power), but the girls were separated from their mother whom therefore cannot confirm their identities.
theory confirmed - thanks to a commenter who read The Young Queens novella in which it was confirmed that Katharine is a naturalist and was swapped with Arsinoe by their mother at birth

- Joseph and Mirabella are actually acting under the effects of the love spell Arsinoe destroyed (and I doubly suspect Madrigal knows the consequence, if not deliberately planned for it - I don't trust Madigral one bit). That said, I still hope Jules's mountain cat will rip Joseph to shreds.
theory confirmed


And these are the questions / plotholes that I hope will be answered, otherwise I'll be mighty pissed:

- I predicted literally from page 53 of Three Dark Crowns that Arsinoe was the Poisoner Queen. The only thing that made me second-guess myself is why her blood - which was "pecked at" by Jack's rooster - did not poison said rooster (or poison Madrigal, for that matter, who had handled it several times in order to make all those spells) if a poisoner queen's blood is supposed to be lethal.
question not answered, though Arsinoe did turn out to be a stronger Poisoner than even Katharine

- If Katharine is indeed the Naturalist Queen (as I predicted), then why does the new snake bite her? Aren't animals meant to naturally defer to a naturalist?

- What the f**k was up with that bear Arsinoe "summoned" in the woods? What kind of magic did she and Madrigal conjure? The only explanation I can think of is Madrigal is deliberately trying to kill Arsinoe and knew exactly what she was doing. Otherwise ... it makes no sense.

- Why does Mirabella conveniently keep having dreams of her memory with her sisters? And why is she the only one?
November 21, 2017
Actual rating: 4.2⭐️

Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The story was good. It wasn’t a slow story anymore, there was always something happening, but I finished the book and kind of forgot everything (except Billy, duh).
And I thought there would be more of a cliff hanger? 🤷🏻‍♀️

Characters ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Let’s describe the characters in the second book:
Jules is a cool badass,
Arsinoe finally knows that she’s a precious strong queen,
Katherine is a crazy head (but remember her ending in the first book, no surprise at all),
Mirabella was forced in the background and kind of lame and
Katherine is crazy (Did I mention this already? Oops).
Aaaaaaaaand Billy is a loyal, kindhearted and gorgeous guy. Love him ♥️

World ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Who wants to kill all her sisters to become queen?
It’s ___. (I don’t want to spoiler you, but she’s crazy)

Relationships ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Joseph finally decides who he loves (Hooray! 🎉),
Pietyr has weird loyal kind of love and
Billy is my favorite gorgeous to-be-king ♥️
And don’t forget the love of sisters 😍

Writing style ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I like Kendaras writing and I will probably read the other books she wrote. It’s nice and fluent with some beautiful phrases.

Can I have the next book, please?
Profile Image for Suzzie.
906 reviews164 followers
October 15, 2017
I have no idea why but I seriously love this world and its characters! I gave the first book 3 stars because it was pretty good but kind of slow. This second book I could not put down. I loved it! I see a lot of mixed reviews on it and that's ok because I can see why some might struggle with it. However, I was truly entertained and look forward to the third book next year!
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,088 reviews6,590 followers
October 12, 2019
*.) Queens of Fennbirn ★★★★
1.) Three Dark Crowns ★★★★
2.) One Dark Throne ★★★★
3.) Two Dark Reigns ★★★.5


-----------------------------------------------

Again, another slow start and things don't really pick up until about halfway through but HOLY MOLY the second half was SO. GOOD!
Profile Image for Jasmine Marie.
96 reviews15 followers
October 4, 2017
1/03/17: I think I remember reading from one of the comments below that wouldn't the previous queen know who she gave birth to and which kids had which powers? Then it got be thinking...

What if she actually did know? What if she sabotaged the whole game? The previous Queen was a Poisoner, for generations the Poisoners have been taking the throne and they intend to for generations more. Causing the other provinces wanting to have their queens to win (Naturalists and Elementals) because they think the Poisoners are corrupt.

So to guarantee that the Poisoner Princess would win, the former Queen had hidden her with the naturalists and kept it a secret so that no one knows.

Then the queen must've have sent Kat to the Poisoners-deeming her the weakest daughter-and hoping that the poisons would weaken her or even kill her. *insert scandalous face here*

10/04/16: I just finished 3DQ, and I want this one so bad!!! There are three things spinning in my head:
1. Joseph and Mira? Or Joseph and Jules? (I like Jules more than Mira)
2. If Arsinoe is a poisoner then does that mean Kat is actually a naturalist or some other type of Queen?
3. And I really hope Kat doesn't kill Pietyr, I love that guy!!

And of course I don't want any of the queens to die, but if they must, then I'm on Team Kat! (Because I ship her and Mr. Sexy hardcore)
March 13, 2020
Nunca había empezado una reseña así, pero quiero que sepan que voy a abandonar esta saga. No puedo con ella, lo siento.

Dicho eso, quiero que alguien me explique por qué libros que prometen sangre, venganza y duelos a muerte entre tres hermanas son, en realidad, libros con un worldbuilding inexistente, personajes que parecen solamente piezas de ajedrez y una trama flojísima que se aleja de todo lo que se le promete al lector.

Cuando acabé el primer libro pensé que, dado que el final era explosivo, en esta segunda entrega todo repuntaría, ya veríamos a Katharine, Arsinoe y Mirabelle en su faceta más peligrosa, malvada y calculadora. PERO NO. ¿Con qué me encontré aquí? De nuevo vi a tres reinas más blandas que un pudín, dejándose enamorar por el primer espécimen masculino que se les atraviesa por delante y sencillamente existiendo. ¡Me frustra muchísimo ver cómo no hacen nada para cumplir con su destino, para defenderse o para hacer algo con sus vidas! Son los personajes más pasivos y desesperantes que he leído en mucho tiempo.

Los finales explosivos, que este libro también lo tiene, no justifican que siga sufriendo para terminar una saga que, probablemente, voy a olvidar pronto y sólo va a aparecer en mi canal cuando diga que es de las peores que he leído en mi vida.

Thank u, next.
Profile Image for Anniebananie.
516 reviews384 followers
January 7, 2018
Der zweite Band des schwarzen Throns stand dem ersten meines Erachtens in absolut nichts nach! Ich fand den Schreibstil wieder klasse, genau wie die vielen verschiedenen Blickwinkel aus der die Geschichte erzählt. Auch fand ich es nie verwirrend wer grade erzählt auch wenn der POV manchmal mehrmals im Kapitel wechselt.
Die Plottwists waren auch echt wieder krass, grade am Anfang und am Ende sind viele Sachen passiert mit denen ich nicht gerechnet habe. Auch die Entwicklung der einzelnen Charaktere war der Wahnsinn!
Also zusammenfassend gesagt: bei diesen Büchern passt einfach alles, auch die Mischung aus Action und Liebe. Auch wenn mir bei beiden Büchern einfach noch ein kleines bisschen mehr zu vollen 5 Sternen gefehlt hat.
Und Leute! Das Ende! Wie konnte Kendare Blake das denn wirklich erst nur als Dilogie planen? Ich bin jedenfalls mehr als froh, dass die gute Frau nun noch 2 Folgebände plant 🙌🏻👑👑👑
Profile Image for l..
491 reviews1,926 followers
Read
January 7, 2022
Well, One Dark Throne was certainly much better than its predecessor—though that’s also not that much of a feat to accomplish, to be quite honest—and I’m actually looking forward to book #3 in this series, so I guess something clicked with me here. (rtc)

buddy read with 🦊
Profile Image for Sabrina.
475 reviews243 followers
March 31, 2020
Now that the sequel is almost here I can read this one without having to experience the cliffhanger for long.



Can’t wait to see my favorite (Katharine) be a badass.
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,671 reviews853 followers
September 14, 2017
1.5 stars

Without a doubt, the thing which has let down both books in their pacing. Dear God, this series is painfully tedious! I struggled to find even the slightest thrill to keep me going. This one, in particular, dragged on and on. It is probably due to the amount of time the characters spend caught up in mundane drama, most revolving around their love lives. The actual war between the siblings rarely took the main focus and when it did, it was an incredibly mild, watered down version of what I hoped for. It is obvious that the sisters could have killed each other quite easily - particularly Mirabella - if they had been allowed but Blake holds back. All of the fight scenes felt forced as a consequence. You know when you start a TV show late - one that already has like twelve seasons out - and there is a near-death experience in the first season. You don’t even blink because you know that the character has to be in the next eleven seasons: they were never going to die. This entire book had that feeling. There was no sense of urgency… and I was completely disengaged. If Blake does not want the sisters to fight to the death, fair enough, but maybe pitch the story a little different? I’m here for the battle to the death, not the romantic drama.

The fact that this series is championed for its characters continually boggles my mind. I could not connect or stand the majority of them. In fact, I would have happily cheered on the executions of most of them… which is morbid but not untrue. Arisone and Billy were literally the only characters I cared about. Billy was genuinely sweet. I think his affection for Arsinoe was a little too much at times but he had a great character arc that I appreciated. Arisone was the only sister I thought had a consistent voice and genuine personality. If this series focused on her - and her alone - I definitely would have enjoyed a hell of a lot more.

I just cannot understand the appeal of Jules. She was constantly riling people up with her temper and acted so recklessly. Her constant complaining about Joseph also made me rage. If she cannot come to terms with his mistakes (which I don’t blame her for, I still am not okay with it myself), she should have left him. I know it is slightly more complicated than that but it felt like Blake kept them together just to create drama between her, Joseph and Mirabella in otherwise dull plot points. It was infuriating. I have no idea why so much time dedicated to her subplot. The other secondary characters were kind of a blur. I found it hard to remember who was who - particularly Mirabella’s friends - but that is probably more to do with my memory than anything. I did really dislike Madrigal, though. I felt like we spent way too long focusing on her as well.

Katharine was a disaster. She had such potential to become this eerie villainous tyrant but she just… acted so strangely. It was not thrilling. I was not interested. I am trying to keep this vague but her, let's call it development, was an amazing idea that just did not get met. If it is still not tapped into in the sequel, I will scream. Speaking of which, Pietyr made we want to scream and then claw my eyeballs out with frustration every time he appeared. He had literally no personality! All he said was how much he loved Katharine, that was it. I just… why. I have no patience for such repetitive banalities. I was also just not okay with Nicholas. He was such a creep! He showed all the warning signs of an abuser. Ugh.

Overall?

I had hoped that One Dark Throne would be a step above the disaster that was Three Dark Crowns but I set my expectations too high. I still liked Arisone and Billy but all of the other characters irritated me, particularly Jules and Joseph. Katharine could have had potential but I felt like we barely got to scratch the surface with her. The plotline continued to play it safe and devote too much time to drama and romance for my tastes. I wanted more action, more blood, more conflict. I do not have high hopes for the following sequels since this was originally meant to be a duology. I am not even sure if I can push myself to read them anymore...

Review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.
Profile Image for High Lady of The Night Court.
135 reviews5,031 followers
November 20, 2018
I LOVED this book just as much as the last one, maybe even more. The Queens, their powers, and just the overall concept of the book is amazing. True to the title a queen is crowned - I had my suspicions as to who will be crowned but what happened ,and the circumstances under which it happened was something I didn't expect.

The Ascension Year has begun and remember Katharine was pushed into the Breccia Domain and she crawled back out - it completely changed her. Arsinoe is a poisoner and no one but Jules and Joseph know. Mirabella is pretty much in the same place but now she thinks Arisnoe wants to kill her and has set out for revenge. The plot of this book is fabulous and the ending was amazing.
I'm so glad that there are 2 more books coming and I can't wait for them. The wait for this one was unbearable and for the next ones more so.

If you have read the last book and liked it then read this one, don't put it off (the book is amazing-have I said that before). I started reading it in the morning and didn't put it down till I finished it, this book undoubtedly gets 5 stars from me just like the last one.

"The queens of Fennbirn will return." * relieved* I was so happy when I saw this because that ending couldn't have been the end of this story- I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE!!!
Profile Image for Hamad.
974 reviews1,284 followers
September 7, 2018
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

This may contain spoilers for the first book, but is spoiler free for this book.

“Perhaps that is how all men love. More with their eyes than with their hearts.”

🌟 One Dark Throne is the book that we wanted Three Dark Crowns to be, I think Kendare took the advice of readers and made it more action packed, more thrilling and definitely darker!

🌟 I want to focus on the positives this time because I think there were quite a few.
The writing style is as good as the first book, If you liked it first time then there is no reason why not to do so again.

🌟 The Characters were a bit confusing in book 1 because there were many characters. It wasn’t a problem for me but I saw some reviews saying that and here there are more focus on the existent characters with the introduction of a few new ones! But the development of the characters was so good. They are more relatable now, more brutal and I felt that they kind of matured!

🌟 The Pacing was a bit (just a tiny bit) slow at first but then it was perfect, I adore books with short chapters and while book 1 was slow at first and then became faster at the second half, the pacing in this book was more consistent and suitable for the story, I hope it stays like this for the next couple of books!

🌟 But let’s talk about the plot. While most of us were disappointed by book 1 and the lack of action in it, this book had what we were looking for. There was a fight between the queens.

description

There was death for a few characters

description

And a crowning at last!

description

🌟 So this series did get better as I was told. I am optimistic if it continues like this, because this was supposed to be a duology and it got extended and you know how I feel about those. Anyway, I give this 3.5 out of 5 stars!

🌟 Prescription: For Fans of Dark Fantasy and those who want to give the series a second chance but are skeptic!

“No matter how far I go, I’m still your person. We stand together now.”
Profile Image for Chelsies Reading Escape.
631 reviews363 followers
December 31, 2017
Ive been dying to get my hands on One Dark Throne ever since reading the explosive ending of Three Dark Crowns last November. I was worried Id have a difficult time remembering all the details and characters, but after a few chapters it all came back to me and I was able to follow the story easily. I love the world and the idea of a hidden island ruled by a matriarchy. I also thought the animals were fantastic. The belief that one sister must kill the other two in order to rule might seem dark and brutal, but the story is balanced with friendship and personal growth so its not as intense as one might expect it to be. 

All 3 Queens have their flaws, but my favorite Queen was probably Arsinoe. I could relate to her wanting to lead a quiet life with her family and I thought Billy was a great match for her. Jules was a little too overprotective at times, but I liked her friendship with Arsinoe. The direction of Jules plot line intrigued me. I wasnt Joseph biggest fan, but he was slowly growing on me and Im glad Jules forgave him. I thought the evil sister was a great antagonist and her perspective was always the most entertaining. I loved the way Katherine dealt with Peityr.  Even though I had a pretty good idea who Katherine was talking about when she mentionned that "They" supported her, I still enjoyed that plot twist. Mirabellas friendships and power were the two things I liked the most when reading from her point of view.

One Dark Throne took me longer to read than the first book since my attention kept wandering during the slower parts, but the ending was amazing as just like Three Dark Crowns. Theres some action throughout but its primarily focused on the characters. Since I tend to prefer plot driven books I would have liked more action, but my connection to the characters kept me invested in the story. I enjoyed all the different relationships and the dynamic between the 3 Queens. Im really excited to find out what happens in the next book, especially with Katherine and Jules plot line. You should give this series a try if you like character driven stories with killer endings and an awesome world.

*Received for honest review consideration*

OMG! I just got accepted for a bunch of ARCs I was super anticipating. I feel like Im dreaming someone pinch me lol
Profile Image for Shainlock .
703 reviews
October 25, 2018
Review below ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A lot happened in this one. The world building that was most of Three Dark Crowns pays off here in the second volume where no one stays still and the action is constant.
You really feel the dark part of why this is called dark fantasy. This one also has a character guide in the beginning to help out those that have trouble remembering the characters. I read it to make sure I had no one confused and was good. Lots of characters don’t bother me because I am also a mystery lover where all are suspect !! Really it’s not that bad, especially with the guide. I can’t understand all of the confusion.

Moving right along, there are twists and then turns upon those. None of the queens behave like they are told nor as they should according to tradition or are predicted by their patrons. This is a good thing for us and a bad thing for us, depending on which queen you root for.

Just hold on to your britches and undies because this one takes it out of you, out of the queens, their patron families, and everyone around them.
This one is full of secrets and revelations.
I had to get the last book right away. Luckily I found a library around that JUST got it in and knows me well. :)

If you bowed out at number 1, try 2. This one has the action! Just stick with it!


Edit ****** RTC.
I need the last book!!!
I have the novella one to read but egads!
* runs around flailing and screaming like a muppet... mouth agape *
Edit********
Done Flailing muppet style.
Profile Image for Natalie  ~ The Biblioholic.
2,472 reviews1,204 followers
April 27, 2019
Three Dark Crowns - ★★★★★

Okay, aside from wanting to fangirl all over Kendare Blake, I've got to write a review detailing how much I loved this book too! That's already two 5-star reads and I'm hoping the next one makes it three. One dark queen, evil as can be... one light queen, with a soul so sweet... and then there's Arsinoe, fierce in the face of defeat. One Dark Throne gave me even more secrets, political maneuvers, betrayals, deaths, new alliances, and again, so much love. I'm just so happy to have Two Dark Reigns sitting on my bookshelf.


The cover of the translation for Taiwan

Ever since Katharine emerged from the Breccia Pit, something's been off. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but she was different. Before the Ascension, Katharine was weak and unfavorable. It was hard to imagine her pulling off any type of triumph. The same can't be said for the Katharine of now. She's drinking and eating poison like never before, her ambitions know no bounds, and her willingness and determination to kill her sisters makes her quite bloodthirsty. I knew she wasn't someone to underestimate and she kept showing me how right I was.

Arsinoe and Mirabella have been trying to fight the good fight, but unfortunately they're trying to fight fair. And we all know that Katharine and the Arrons know nothing about fairness. Even Mirabella's supposed allies know nothing of honor. It all comes down to the two sisters who remember what it is to be family and their fight for justice. Or is it vengeance? Who even cares... it all becomes more fodder for the excitement that their story breeds. As for Jules, I'm probably the only one who doesn't want to see her anymore. While I'm interested in the legion curse and how it will play out in the rest of the story, I don't care about Jules. I'm unsure what all the hype about her is about. However, I do love how closely entwined her story is with Arsinoe's and Mirabella's and how these three fiery and brave women work together in spite of evil queen Katharine.

An arrow in the back... a duel... unforeseen powers... unexpected deaths... predictable betrayals... my most wished for alliance... after all this (and more) I can't even begin to imagine what will happen next. But I'm super excited to find out!

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Update 263:
I'm finding that some of my predictions are coming true. BOOYAH! I love when I'm right. But this book is really taking me on a roller coaster of emotions. I'm angry, baffled, sad, happy, giddy, frustrated, appalled, etc. Katharine makes me want to reach in and throat punch her. Evil has found a new acolyte. She is just so wrong and I hope there is a hidden reason for her vile behavior. There's nothing about her I like and that dude Nicolas is just as bad. I wish they'd die a fiery death at Mirabella's hands. Just sayin'.



Update 76:
I think something's gonna happen to Joseph. I don't know what, but I get a real deadly vibe when it comes to his character. Like when he found out (along with us) that Jules is , he went to go stop her from doing something and she was willing to do anything, including harm him, to do what she felt she had to do. His life was inconsequential at the time. And I'm on the fence. I don't have a grand love for his character, however, I love Mirabella, who does love him and I want her to be happy. Oh wtf?!

I also think that the sisters, Arisinoe and Mira, will actually band together. I think the love they feel for one another will have them fighting for a new way. For a life past this old time tradition of death. I have a feeling that all of my predictions from the first book will come true here!



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After that huge revelation at the end of Three Dark Crowns, I can't wait to see what happens next!



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Profile Image for Wren (fablesandwren).
666 reviews1,497 followers
September 17, 2020
I seriously have no idea where to start with this review. I absolutely loved this book and I’m so angry I read it in one and a half days and didn’t make it last until the third book was in my hands.



I can’t count how many times I was literally praying to the Lord please oh please don’t let any of these queens-who-are-born-just-to-kill-each-other die or their friends-who-help-them-kill-each-other. I mean, this whole book is about triplets who have to kill one another so only one queen rules... there’s hope for a happy ending for all of them right?

Don’t be an optimist WREN. The titles and the series literally has the word DARK in them. Everyone is going to die and you’ll just have to live with it.

The pace in this one just hits the ground running. It doesn’t stop. Everyone is fighting for their lives and trying to kill those who are trying to kill them. People are fed wrong information, there are plots that fall through and information that literally made me sit up a little straighter and go without sleep. I couldn’t put this book down. The writing was wonderful and even though I sometimes felt overrun by characters, I still enjoyed this book so much.

I still love all of these queens, even though I don’t agree with the turn their character takes. We have my favorite, Arsinoe (Naturalist [assumed]), who isn’t ashamed of the huge marks on her face and who has the upper hand with the discovery at the end of the book. She is such a bad ass. I can’t express it. Her spirit is strong though her power was told to be weak. She has friends willing to fight and die for her cause and I need her to be okay.

Sidenote: I am here for Billy. Literally just Billy. Team Billy for everyone named Arsinoe who is a triplet queen of the island.

We have Mirabella, the oldest by three minutes. She is the strongest of the sisters and just wants everyone to be happy. She was raised a queen and she acts like a queen out of all the sisters.



Then we have Katharine… who’s character takes a hard twist to the right and she is ready for blood. She has basically been tortured with downing poison her whole life, and then to be betrayed by the one she loves at the end of the first book… she’s just done playing victim and she’s ready for her crown.

I can’t even talk about Jules without spoiling anything with her… let’s just say she has a bomb thrown at her… and then another bomb thrown at her… and yet a third bomb still finds her. I just want her to be happy but… AHHH.

I wasn’t even mad about how many love triangles spouted out of this book. They are such clichés in young adult but I was living for them.

We finally meet someone who has the war gift and that is explained a little more and becomes a huge deal. The War Gift is basically someone who never misses and can memorize things really well. They can also make something miss their mark. I thought it was a pretty cool gift to add to the little bundle of Naturalist (animals and plants), Elemental (air, fire, water) and poisoner (can’t be killed with poison).

I will tell you that someone dies… but I am not going to tell you who because that would be wrong.



Lots of gore and deaths and creepy things. I like your style, Kendare Blake.

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She is going for BLOOOOD. RTCTomorrow!

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Because why not try the bear-thing again? It worked like REALLY well the first time. 🤦🏻‍♀️
Profile Image for Elle.
413 reviews106 followers
August 8, 2017
Three Dark Crowns wasn’t a terrible book, but it wasn’t great, either. It felt more like a rough plan for the beginning of a story than an actual published book - the characters weren’t particularly fleshed out and, despite all their threats and plans, nothing much happened. I decided to persevere with the series for the sake of Blake’s triplet queens, who had such promising characterisation that I was willing to look past the myriad problems I had with the rest of the story. Unfortunately, One Dark Throne is just as frustratingly slow-paced and illogical as its predecessor, and Blake’s saving grace, her queens, felt as flat and lifeless as the rest of the cast in this instalment.

Back when this series was still a duology (Blake has since expanded the story and another two books are planned) I imagined that One Dark Throne would be a high-stakes action-adventure novel, combining all of the political intrigue of Three Dark Crowns with actual conflict (which, despite its fantastic premise, the first book was sorely lacking). But although there was a little more action in One Dark Throne, it still felt like 99% of the book was filler scenes, in which one forgettable side character schemed over how to win the throne with another forgettable side character.

I rarely give up on a series once I’m halfway through it, but I’m no longer interested enough in the outcome of the sisters’ fight to the death to bother continuing. If, like me, you had mixed feelings about Three Dark Crowns, I’d advise you give this book a miss.

Many thanks to HarperTeen for providing a copy of One Dark Throne. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. One Dark Throne will be released on September 20th.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 1 star | ★✰✰✰✰
Review cross-posted to Paperback'd Reviews
Profile Image for Miia.
274 reviews56 followers
October 7, 2019
Reread 7.10.2019
Still one of my favourites! I love these characters so much.

Read 4.9.2018
This series has become one of my favourite ones. So freaking exciting and action packed book which is full of plot twists and shoking revelations. Also all the characters are so amazing that I don’t know who is my favourite?! I need the next book ASAP
Profile Image for Kathryn.
167 reviews283 followers
November 14, 2017
When I first read the premise for Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns I was immediately enthused. Triplet queens forced to murder each other in a winner-takes-all competition? SIGN. ME. UP. It’s like Hunger Games meets Game of Thrones. On ACID. Then I finished the last page and HOLY CLIFFHANGER BATMAN. Lemme tell you, if I didn’t WORSHIP Kendare Blake, I’d despise the woman. Being forced to wait for One Dark Throne has gotta be the most exquisite torture known to man. Forget waterboarding, Guantanamo needs to hand out copies of Three Dark Crowns and then force prisoners to indefinitely wait for the sequel. Needless to say as soon as One Dark Throne was released, I gollum-ed it up. OH….. MY PRECIOUS. And allow me to (begrudgingly) admit, it was worth the wait.

One Dark Throne picks up immediately after the events of Three Dark Crowns. Katharine is a delicate flower no more. Having clawed back from Breccia Domain’s murkiest crevasses, her fragile leaves have been replaced with iron thorns. Her once pale petals now coated in crimson. Katharine’s back. And she wants REVENGE. Arisinoe meanwhile is grappling with her newly-realized poisoner identity and what that will mean going forward. And Mirabella? She’s still Mirabella-ing but at less intensity. Once considered a shoo-in, Mirabella is facing unprecedented challenges. Which queen will be the ultimate winner? At this point, it’s anyone’s game.

One Dark Throne is at least 50 shades darker than the original. Sorry, couldn’t resist. The atmosphere is one of pervasive gloom, but in the best possible way. Sisters forced to murder each other simply doesn’t gel with a cotton candy, rom-com tone. Kendare Blake recognizes this and adjusts her story accordingly.

And darkest of all…...Queen Katharine. I’m an unabashed fan of our would-be Poisoner Queen. Maybe it’s the whole underdog thing, but I just can’t help rooting for the girl. Her scenes are more vivid, crisp, and suspenseful than other sections. When Katharine is on scene, the story bursts forth in technicolor. Kinda like Dorothy waking up in Oz. Katharine’s tenuous romance with attempted murderer, Pietyr, cleverly avoids pigeon-holing her character. Because Ms. Blake spent so much time developing the three triplet queens, characters are more layered and realistic. Katharine exists in shades of gray, something a lesser book couldn’t pull off.

The polar opposite of layered Katherine is milquetoast Mirabella. Yeah, yeah she’s nice and all but that’s about it. She’s just…...nice in a very mousy, spineless way. Basically she’s Melanie Wilkes to Katharine’s Scarlett O’Hara. I can’t say I dislike the girl but her scenes are snore-inducing.

Arsinoe is a happy medium between feisty Katharine and insipid Mirabella. She’s all hard edges and mushy, soft centers. Arsinoe’s got bite, yet she’s also loyal and deeply empathetic. A diamond in the rough, I’ve enjoyed Arsinoe’s burgeoning relationship with Billy Chatworth. Honestly, Arsinoe is probably best-fit to rule Fennbirn. Please don’t revoke my #TeamKatharine card.

One complaint I read about Three Dark Crowns was it’s a little slow to start. One Dark Throne is the opposite. It’s action from the jump and NEVER lets up. It’s an exhilarating, roller-coaster of a book that will leave you panting for breath.

In summary: READ IT……..NOW.
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