Natalie Monroe's Reviews > One Dark Throne

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
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"'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.

(view spoiler)

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. (view spoiler)

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?



(view spoiler)

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
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Reading Progress

October 6, 2016 – Shelved
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
June 13, 2017 – Shelved as: arc
September 12, 2017 – Started Reading
September 13, 2017 –
45.0% "Last book:

*Katharine betrayed and shoved into a pit by someone she trusted*

This book:

*Handsome guy shows up and is suspiciously nice to her*

Katharine:

"
September 16, 2017 –
87.0% "I wish Katharine would just poison everyone already, so they'd stop annoying me.

"
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: boooring
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: could-have-been-better
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: confusing
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: derp-moments
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: dishonor-on-your-cow
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: girl-squad
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: hate-the-characters-hate-the-book
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: i-spy-something-pointy
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: lgbtqia-if-you-squint
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: not-as-good-as-i-expected
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: possible-creepers
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: protagonists-i-want-to-laser-face
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: typical
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: when-sparks-don-t-fly
September 17, 2017 – Shelved as: the-earth-is-flat
September 17, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-30 of 30 (30 new)

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Mizuki too bad, I like Anna Dressed in Blood so much but when two books in the same series have both preformed badly, then there isn't much hope left.


Natalie Monroe Mizuki wrote: "too bad, I like Anna Dressed in Blood so much but when two books in the same series have both preformed badly, then there isn't much hope left."

I liked Anna Dressed in Blood, though I didn't love it. Her writing style was much better then.


Hannah ◇Reader in the Rough◇ I have been waiting on reviews of the second to see whether or not to open the first. I've learned on good reads that titles are misleading and the fact that there was so much "dark" in reference to this series made me skeptical.

Great review, I'm sorry your character didn't ascend in ways you hoped!


Natalie Monroe Hannah ♦Reader in the Rough♦ wrote: "I have been waiting on reviews of the second to see whether or not to open the first. I've learned on good reads that titles are misleading and the fact that there was so much "dark" in reference t..."

The few books I've read that actually delivered on its "dark" blurb are And I Darken and Nevernight.


message 5: by Aranza (new)

Aranza Izaguirre You are writing a thesis on doubles? now I want to read it 😅


Natalie Monroe Aranza wrote: "You are writing a thesis on doubles? now I want to read it 😅"

That's sweet, but it'll likely bore you hahaha. I'm focusing on the Victorian era. I desperately wanted to do YA, but I had a better chance of being admitted if I chose a more canonically respected field.


Grace Burgert THANK YOU YES


Grace Burgert Also on the comment above about And I Darken!!!! yess!!!!!


Natalie Monroe Grace wrote: "THANK YOU YES"

*tips hat*


Tiffany Anne I keep being taken aback when they mention the three queens have dark hair. I keep forgetting what they are supposed to look like lol.


Natalie Monroe Tiffany wrote: "I keep being taken aback when they mention the three queens have dark hair. I keep forgetting what they are supposed to look like lol."

Same.


Grace Mal Mal Mal. Damn, I know that name. I can't remember which series he's from though.


Natalie Monroe gracieafur wrote: "Mal Mal Mal. Damn, I know that name. I can't remember which series he's from though."

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.


message 14: by Salient (new)

Salient Loved this review. Perfect gifs.

I was thinking of reading the first book 'Three Dark Crowns', and read your reviews for the first and second. Maybe this series isn't to my tastes...

Though I am miffed at the false advertising on the blurb - if it's trumpeted as being a dark fantasy, with deep, complex characters, there's not really much excuse for it to be anything but.


Natalie Monroe Salient wrote: "Loved this review. Perfect gifs.

I was thinking of reading the first book 'Three Dark Crowns', and read your reviews for the first and second. Maybe this series isn't to my tastes...

Though I am ..."


If you're looking for dark fantasy with complex characters, try Six of Crows and And I Darken.


J. Bookish HAHAHA HE IS SO MAL I am so happy about that comparison.


Natalie Monroe J. Bookish wrote: "HAHAHA HE IS SO MAL I am so happy about that comparison."

We've officially made Mal an insult.


message 18: by Megan (new) - rated it 1 star

Megan I'm so glad that there are YA readers out there who can actually tell when a book is good or not. I came to Goodreads after finishing this book (and the first one of course) expecting to see low ratings and rants galore, and yet I saw many high ratings and love!!!! WHAT. this book is just as bad (or worse! than that I Am Number Four bullshit.

Anyways. Thank you for the awesome review(s). That's what I came here for. (To bitch, complain, and whine about this series.)


Natalie Monroe Megan wrote: "I'm so glad that there are YA readers out there who can actually tell when a book is good or not. I came to Goodreads after finishing this book (and the first one of course) expecting to see low ra..."

Ugh, I Am Number Four. The flashbacks are real. And you're welcome!


Steph Rendon Yes I couldn't agree more with you I wanted to see blood and action too and was disappointed not even the bear died lol


Natalie Monroe Steph wrote: "Yes I couldn't agree more with you I wanted to see blood and action too and was disappointed not even the bear died lol"

Ugh, the fucking bear. You're absolutely right.


Natasha YES! And also, to your point about Mal, I TOTALLY SEE THAT. To me, Mal (and Joseph) are irrelevant characters. Is it safe to assume that you liked the Darkling more? Let me tell you, I was disappointed with the ending of the Shadow and Bone trilogy because I felt there wasn't as much development of the Darkling as there could have been.

Also, I just read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom before this series, and I was really into this dark fantasy vibe, so when I bought these books, I was disappointed because it didn't have that dark interplay I wanted, (Six of Crows and CK WERE SO FREAKING GOOD!), so yeah, I can relate to this.


Natalie Monroe Natasha wrote: "YES! And also, to your point about Mal, I TOTALLY SEE THAT. To me, Mal (and Joseph) are irrelevant characters. Is it safe to assume that you liked the Darkling more? Let me tell you, I was disappoi..."

I like Nikolai best, then the Darkling, then Mal in dead last. I agree the Darkling could have been better developed. But it was Bardugo's debut series, so I'm willing to overlook it, especially since she proven she can create six amazingly well-fleshed characters in SoC.

And right??? It was nowhere near as dark as I wanted.


Natasha I agree, because wow, I really did love SoC and CK.

Also, I don't think I'm gonna be able to read the next book in the series because I just couldn't finish the book! I missed some "major" stuff, but honestly, One Dark Throne just didn't satisfy me in any way. For me, the only really interesting thing that I felt while reading this book was when Pietyr went to the Braccia Domain and found out what had changed Katharine... and that's about it. Maybe some other Katharine action, but really nothing else ever got to me.


message 25: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna fuck you.


Natalie Monroe Anna wrote: "fuck you."

Please exit stage left. Thank you for your cooperation.


message 27: by LA (new)

LA Ayers Huh. If I didn't know any better, I would say that Anna's page was specifically created for the sake of this series. What a quinkie dink.


message 28: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Teare This book held absolutely nothing that interested me.


Natalie Monroe Anne wrote: "This book held absolutely nothing that interested me."

Preach.


message 30: by time (new) - rated it 4 stars

time ferrell vanilla bread rolls LMAO


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