Thank you to Susan @ Novel Lives for buddy reading this book with me! You can read Susan’s review and her answers to the buddy read questions here. I’ve been needing to finish reading this series, since I read the first book last year. I remember I borrowed this book from the library… but never picked it back up, until now. Beware there will be spoilers from Three Dark Crowns, though I’ll keep spoilers for One Dark Throne to a minimum.
Title: One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns, #2)
Author: Kendare Blake
Genres: YA Dark Fantasy
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, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.
In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.
I remember feeling like a lot of Three Dark Crowns was set up—except for the last 30% or so. I didn’t feel this way at all about One Dark Throne. There is so much going on as the three queens finally fight for the throne.
One of my favorite parts of this book was seeing each queen in the aftermath of everything that happened in book one. Katherine is terrifying, seeking revenge and glory after she clawed her way out of the pit. Mirabella feels betrayed and is willing to do whatever it takes to get the throne. And scrappy Arsinoe is discovering her Poisoner abilities and figuring out how to use them to her advantage.
I was fully on Katherine’s team by the end of book one. Her story was the most compelling to me, even though Mirabella and Arsinoe are a little more relatable. Katherine has done everything she can, despite her lack of abilities, to please the other Poisoners and become queen. I really appreciated her ruthlessness throughout this entire book. She’s pretty awful, and her scenes made the hairs on my arms rise in fear multiple times.
Mirabella’s and Arsinoe’s parts of the story are still interesting, but I was a little disappointed… perhaps because of their consistency in character. Neither wants to hurt the other, and I was hoping they’d be a lot more ruthless. This wasn’t the case, in my opinion. Still, I felt they made good foils to Katherine, and their sides of the story gets more and more exciting as the book goes along.
One thing I really liked was the new alliances and friendships forged in this book. One of my favorite platonic m/f relationships is in this series now—at least I hope it stays platonic. It’s great to see friendships like that. I also really liked how Arsinoe and Mirabella had the chance to get closer together in this book. For those of you who’ve been reading my reviews for awhile, you know how much I love a sister story, especially when sisters are estranged and grow together.
I should mention that the end is FANTASTIC! I was completely blown away. It feels very similar to the ending of Three Dark Crowns—Kendare Blake throws the best of her cards at the very last moment, and it’s a very powerful motivator to read the next book.
- The audiobook is super good! I loved the narrator, and I’m excited to listen to the rest of the series!
- Madrigal’s story gets more and more interesting in this book. I’m excited to see how she affects the next one.
- I think Billy is my favorite character at this point. He’s the best.
This was an enjoyable sequel for me. I felt it could have been stronger in parts, but mostly I found it exciting and dark, exactly what it promises to be. I’m excited to read the next book in the series!
Buddy Read Questions
1. When you have PMS are you an elemental, poisoner, or naturalist where your familiar is the best inside of you?
First off, thanks Susan for making me laugh at a significant scene in a movie I was watching when you sent me this question. As for the answer, definitely a poisoner—quietly ruthless and looking for any excuse to slip something into your drink.
2. Every series—tv, books, whatever—there is a character that at the end of the day the story is theirs. Halfway through the novel, whose story do you think this is?
This was a tough question for me. The three queens get near equal page time in the book, so for me it’s a matter of who has changed the most in the book so far. By the middle of the book, Katherine hasn’t changed at all. Mirabella has a little, and so has Arsinoe. For me, I think it’s Arsinoe’s. She has the most going against her, she has the most to lose, and her development covers the most ground (in my opinion).
3. Which of the queens would be your best friend and which would be your enemy?
If you’d asked me this question while reading Three Dark Crowns, I would probably have said Katherine. But in this one I’d have to say Arsinoe. Mirabella would probably be my enemy, as I relate to her the least.
4. If you liked this book, then I’d recommend…
I’d recommend you pick up Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith! It’s a dark fantasy retelling of The Goose Girl fairy tale with lots of blood magic and crazy plot twists that left me reeling. You can read my full review here.