REVIEW ✧ ONE DARK THRONE

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“Once, I was a mouse. But I am not anymore.”

☆☆☆☆

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.

Holy wow, what a sequel!! I know I usually don’t say that because more often than not a series’ second book isn’t quite as up to par with its predecessor but I genuinely believe that One Dark Throne blew Three Dark Crowns out of the water. I had been really excited for this book based on the first one’s cliffhanger alone but the things that happened here are things that I never expected yet loved all the same. If you remember, I had the first book on my shelf for months and months, constantly putting it off and even when I was reading it I was putting it off. But here? Ok, I put it off for like 2 weeks because I was reading other things BUT once I picked it up I literally could not put it down. That just tells me how much better this one was. So much happened in this book and so many things made me happy and I can’t wait to talk about them.

You know the drill: since this is a second book in a series, I cannot properly review it would revealing any spoilers so a SPOILER ALERT is now in effect.

THE GOOD

  • If you remember from my review of the first book, my biggest complaint revolved around the writing. I felt that the pacing was relatively slow in the beginning and the dialogue felt rather stiff, what with it being all proper and whatnot. Now, going into this I pretty much knew that the dialogue was going to be like that so I was prepared this time. But the pacing this time was on point and therefore I felt like the writing was already better. I think the biggest clue is the fact that I couldn’t stop reading this book because I definitely was not like that when I first read Three Dark Crowns. Pacing: big green check mark. The other thing I really loved about the writing was that the chapters never really dragged on and they were just the right size to keep you going. Like you know when you’re reading a book for school and the teacher says “read 3 chapters” and you think “oh that doesn’t sound bad” but the chapters are like 20 pages each?? These chapters were like the opposite. They weren’t short but they weren’t long either, they were just right. They cut off at just the right time and kept your interest constantly. But the biggest thing that keeps your interest is the plot. It just felt like you were never gonna stop from the moment they say “go” and there were never any areas of slowing down. Like literally, I read at least 200 pages in one day because neither the story or I could stop. And I still like how we got more POVs than just the three queens so we could get a whole story rather than just three perspectives. The writing was just so good this time and I don’t think I’ll ever be over it.
  • The character development in this book was, in my opinion, fantastic. Let’s start with Jules. I loved her immediately from the moment I met her in Three Dark Crowns and she was my favourite for sure. But what I loved in this one was the development she got and how we discover that she’s legion cursed, meaning she has the war gift as well as the naturalist gift. In my opinion, it shows how strong Jules is and I’m gonna ignore the whole “cursed” and “potentially going mad” part because Jules is too strong for that. And she believes that this war gift is what truly makes her Arsione’s protector and that’s her purpose. The war gift makes Jules so much better in so many ways and I love it. The other development I loved was Mirabella’s. Throughout the first book and for the, let’s say first third of this book, I couldn’t bring myself to like Mirabella. Nothing really connected me to her and I felt like majority of her story revolved around Joseph (who’s garbage btw) and I didn’t want that to be her story. But after the Queen’s Hunt and what she did for Arsinoe, proving how much she really loves her sister, it changed everything. THAT’S what I wanted her story to really be about and not some dumb boy. I think that the relationship she’s developing with Arsione is so important and the way she wanted to remember and respect Arsione when she thought she was dead by choosing Billy as her consort was fantastic. I’m so glad Mirabella changed my mind. Arsione is still fantastic and my favourite but Katharine is starting to scare me a little. I don’t know what’s going on with her and while it’s great writing I’m very confused as to what will happen with her.
  • There are two key points in this book that I think are also my favourite parts: the Queen’s Hunt and the Duel. What I loved about the Hunt was how it showed all of the queens’ intentions and true characters. For Mirabella, it showed that she loves Arsinoe and doesn’t want to see her dead, let alone kill her herself. For Katharine, it shows how ruthless she’s become and how she feels nothing towards her sisters anymore. She’s willing to kill for the crown. Arsinoe just proves how strong her poisoner gift is and how she survived Kathrine’s killing blow. When we get to the Duel, we again see how ruthless Katharine has become and has no problem killing Mirabella. But it’s here where Arsione shows how much she loves Mirabella and wants to protect her and help her win. And then when they more or less swear allegiance to each other and vow not to kill one another I wanted to cry. I love that these two are coming together and have this relationship!! The aftermath of this Duel was completely insane and I’m still having a hard time believing it because I never expected all of that to happen. I’m not gonna spoil it because it’s insane, all of it.
  • The thing that happened at the end was my favourite thing to ever happen. Kendare Blake truly did the lord’s work. I wanna throw a parade I’m so happy.

THE BAD

  • I think the only thing that really bothered me about this book was Joseph’s character. I disliked him upon first meeting, hated him for what he did to Jules, and I really hated that Jules took him back. And I still didn’t like that it seemed like his only purpose was for Mirabella’s story, as I said before, and how a lot of it revolved around him when he’s literally not worth it. Jules’ story was absolutely separate from him but not so much with Mirabella, I’m afraid. The only boy in this book that I trust is Billy.
  • When we discovered that Arsinoe was the true poisoner I figured that we’d soon find out that Katharine was the naturalist but we never even touched upon it. So now I’m confused: is Katharine a naturalist or is she just a really weak poisoner? Or does she have the war gift and because it’s not bound she’s going mad? I wanted answers about her but I feel like I have more questions than ever.

THE BOTTOM LINE

  • This was a truly incredible sequel! While there were still times where the grammatical aspect of the writing was stiff, the intensity and excitement of the plot overshadows it. The pacing of this book was on point and the character development is most likely the strongest thing here. This book will change your mind about the series for the better.

BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2)
Author: Kendare Blake
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Pages: 464 (Hardcover)
Goodreads

Until next time,

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What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!

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