One left standing, or my review of One Dark Throne

One Dark Throne

One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns)

By: Kendare Blake

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: September 19th, 2017

Format: Hardcover

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.

  

4 star (griffin)

In honor of Halloween being a few weeks away, I’ve been delving into the creepier books on my TBR pile. Three Dark Crowns was my Halloween pick of choice last year, and One Dark Throne came out just in time for the spooky season. But as much as I enjoyed the first book, I didn’t think that One Dark Throne matched up to its predecessor.

Despite this, I was so anxious about the ending that I almost couldn’t start it. The premise–that one sister would survive out of three–added an intensity to the book that was heart-pounding. But I felt like the plot wasn’t quite as well-put-together, or maybe it was just that I was too focused on the ending. The twists and turns didn’t hit me with the same punches as they did in Three Dark Crowns. And there was a lot going on, as well, so it was hard to feel like things were balanced.

But like I said, it was still an intense book. After the finale of Three Dark Crowns the three sisters are more or less equal, and extremely wary of each other–Mirabella holds a newfound grudge against Arsinoe, who’s keeping a dark secret. And Katharine has emerged from a presumed death with strange characteristics and a thirst for vengeance. Even though it didn’t feel as balanced, I enjoyed reading about each and every one of them, and trying to see what was going to happen. I did feel most fascinated by Katharine, her change from timid, weak Queen to a totally bloodthirsty one, but all of them had interesting moments.

In terms of plot, the first book was looser, examining the lives of the three Queens as they built up to the start of the official ‘hunting season’, for a better word. But One Dark Throne was just the Queens and their guardians trying to maneuver into positions to kill the other or avoid being killed, and the ritualistic, rote strategy was more difficult to get into. I only really felt invested in the last 50 pages or so–although those were an intense 50 pages. But I think that’s not exactly a fault in the writing, but in the setup. Three Dark Crowns was introducing the Queens in a way that it was understandable that they wouldn’t interact–One Dark Throne had the imperative that they would, and it would be bloody. Putting that off for most of the book led to an intense ending and a lot of tension, but the first ¾ of the book was waiting on that ultimate confrontation, which felt almost boring despite the promise of action.

I was also annoyed by the ambiguous ending–especially when I thought that this was still going to be a duology, I was bordering on panicked at the ending. But fortunately, Goodreads has confirmed that this is now a quartet, so I can be less panicked. One Dark Throne would have ended on a painful note were it the end of the series–since I have two more books to look forward too, I can breathe easier. But it also explains somewhat the issues that I’ve had with One Dark Throne–it’s not bad, exactly, just suffering from a mid-series slump. But that being said, I have some tentative hope that the rest of the series will pick up and ease away from the slow, ritualistic and somewhat tedious plot issues that plagued One Dark Throne.

rosi name

Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.

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