One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2)
By Kendare Blake
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: YA 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 contemplated a reread of Three Dark Crowns before diving into One Dark Throne, but my curiosity and anticipation won, as is nearly often the case. But I fared surprisingly well! Picking up this continuation was like returning home (if home is shrouded in betrayal and death). I was instantly taken back to Fennbirn and the deadly ascension to the throne. Oh how good it is to be home!
The Ascension year has begun and the three sisters continue their “imposed” rivalry to reign. Only this time they have returned with even more ferocity and determination. Tables have turned and realities have set in. The girls now understand what must and will happen. Pitted against one another and uncovering new strengths and secrets, the stakes are at an all-time high. But only one queen can survive. Only one queen can occupy the throne. Who will rise to the top?
Please let it be Arsinoe!
OK, now that we know who my favorite is, let’s talk characters for a moment. Three Dark Crowns did an excellent job of setting this elaborate stage and exploring the sisters at great lengths. We learned of their fears, weaknesses and personal desires. We connected. One Dark Throne takes all of those facts and evolves them into something much larger. Katherine, Arsinoe and Mirabella now understand that there is no escaping their fates but this doesn’t mean they have all accepted this.
There is nothing left for these young women to do but grow on personal levels and make some hard decisions. And that is exactly what they do. Faced with an uncertain future, they seek answers and a means. The complexity of their situation allows for tremendous character depth. There is a multitude of emotions surfacing and each sister handles them in her own, unique fashion. This brings a lot of questions to the forefront as we soon formulate our own theories on each. Who deserves the throne? Who deserves to live? Add some new twists and developments that really expand on the supporting characters and you have intricate and engaging experience. So while the plot is stellar, for myself, One Dark Throne remains a character driven read.
But about that plot.. It is fierce and ambitious! Three young women raised together as siblings and then separated and trained in preparation to fight one another to the grisly, bitter end. Many heightened emotions are abound, feelings run amok and you know dark secrets are likely to be revealed. As complex as it all is in theory and concept, Kendare Blake still executes it with incredible ease and finesse.
Incorporating a dynamic magic system and elaborate world building, One Dark Throne begs to be savored. It is ever evolving and with the constant element of surprise. Blake’s writing is smart, vivid and atmospheric. Eloquently detailed, she effortlessly creates a distinct mood and setting that lands you deep within the pages, fully immersed in Fennbirn.
The truth of the matter is that I entered One Dark Throne with some very high standards in place and they have all been surpassed. The story has not only improved but has progressed into so much more than I anticipated. I struggle to capture the full enthusiasm I hold for this book and the sisters. Blake’s ability to establish a solid connection between the reader and all three young women is a rarity and a testament to her writing. A masterful and rewarding series that continues to deliver for fans of YA and fantasy alike!
*I would like to thank BookSparks and the publisher for this advanced copy. The review above is of my own, honest and unbiased opinion.
Learn more about the author at kendareblake.com.