REVIEW ✧ TWO DARK REIGNS

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“This is the Legion Queen. The strongest naturalist in ten generations. The strongest warrior in two hundred years. She is the one who will fight for all the gifts. She is the one who will change everything.” 

☆☆☆☆

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake returns with the highly anticipated third book in the Three Dark Crowns series! And while Arsinoe, Mirabella, and Katharine all have their own scores to settle, they aren’t the only queens stirring things up on Fennbirn Island.

Queen Katharine has waited her entire life to wear the crown. But now that she finally has it, the murmurs of dissent grow louder by the day. There’s also the alarming issue of whether or not her sisters are actually dead—or if they’re waiting in the wings to usurp the throne.

Mirabella and Arsinoe are alive, but in hiding on the mainland and dealing with a nightmare of their own: being visited repeatedly by a specter they think might be the fabled Blue Queen. Though she says nothing, her rotting, bony finger pointing out to sea is clear enough: return to Fennbirn.

Jules, too, is in a strange place—in disguise. And her only confidants, a war-gifted girl named Emilia and her oracle friend Mathilde, are urging her to take on a role she can’t imagine filling: a legion-cursed queen who will lead a rebel army to Katharine’s doorstep.

This is an uprising that the mysterious Blue Queen may have more to do with than anyone could have guessed—or expected.

I just realized I read this weeks ago and never properly reviewed it? How did that even happen? Anyways, this series will never cease to amaze me, especially given how much of a rocky start I had with it. Once I complained about things that happened in the first book, Blake managed to fix it all in the second book and vastly improved, well, everything. Although I put off reading this book for a little bit, since I wasn’t in the right mood or headspace for it, that moment when I finally decided to pick it up was worth all that wait. Once I started, it was hard for me to stop. It also helps to be stuck in a car for 10 hours and you therefore have all the time in the world to just sit and read. Is it a bit premature to say this was my favourite book of the series?

THE GOOD

  • I know I mentioned this when I talked about One Dark Throne, but I love how much Blake’s writing has improved from the first book. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I’m now more familiar with the writing and therefore know what to expect but I truly do believe she’s improved herself. The world building is so strong, now that we’re three books in, the plot is continually getting better, and the character have changed and developed in such fantastic ways. I also want to note that I really enjoy how the chapters are just right; they’re not too long that you feel like it’s dragging on for years and they’re not too short that they cut off right when you started getting into what was happening. These chapters are the perfect length and enough to keep you in the book without letting your mind or attention span wander.
  • Mirabella is a character I’ve complained about from the very beginning until about halfway into the previous book, where she started to change her entire mentality, and now there’s this book. I’ve loved where Blake has taken her in this book and how she’s stepped into the role of being there for Arsinoe, being her protector. It’s a big change from when I first met Mirabella and how she did a lot of whining and complaining, with a mix of arrogance, so to see her develop into a character that just wants to be there for her sister, to see her sister be happy, to defend Arisone from whatever the mainlanders say about her. Mirabella has become a character that embodies girls helping girls and it’s something I’ve honestly been waiting for with her. I love this being her purpose, or at least where her family is concerned, and she becomes a much more likeable character this way.
  • I think out of all the arcs in this book, Arsinoe’s was my favourite. I’m not just saying that because she’s my favourite sister but I thought that what happened with her was really well thought out and overall the most interesting. I loved how Blake approached her not only seeing the ghost of the Blue Queen but seeing her memories through dreams and how she was still herself but saw everything through Daphne’s eyes. It was like being in a narrative within a narrative but with the added bonus of Arsione’s inner commentary, which was great. I also liked how this plot of the Blue Queen was entwined throughout this book and how relevant it became in the end. I like how Blake has such a good handle on this story and her world enough that she can still bring in this kind of plot line and knows what to do with it.
  • I’ve always thought this plot line/legend of the Fennbirn Queens has always been really interesting but now seeing how different it is with this particular set of queens and a surprise Legion Queen has been the most intriguing. I like how “up in the air” the status of Queen really is and how the future of the Island is constantly changing when thinking of who is actually going to be reigning. It’s always been centred on the three Queens but now that Jules is in the mix, it makes the story that much more exciting, especially seeing who Arsinoe and Mirabella side with in the war that’s brewing. It’s been a refreshing addition to this series and I’m definitely excited to see what the final outcome will be.

THE BAD

  • I’m still not that keen on Katharine, but most of that is because she still scares me a lot, and I’m thinking she also scares herself, but her arc was always the one I’d groan at. It’s not because she’s pointless or that her character doesn’t matter, because it all matters, but I’m starting to feel like everything that can be done with her character has been done. The same can kind of be said for Jules, but more in the sense that this particular storyline isn’t one that I’ve been enjoying so much since I’d rather see what’s going on with Arsinoe. I do think their arcs are important, especially with Jules being Legion Queen and all of that, but it feels like it’s going round and round in circles and I just need more.
  • The end of this book wasn’t as twisty as I expected it to be and didn’t have the classic cliffhanger that I’m used to, but it was more of a heartbreaking ending. Again, it’s not BAD, per se, it’s just different. I will say that it’s the perfect set up for the final book and it makes me want to read it so badly right now, but because of how heartbreaking it all was it’s going in my review as a bad point.

THE BOTTOM LINE

  • This third book of the Three Dark Crowns series is arguably my favourite one because of not only where the plot is heading but where the characters are all heading. The final moments have become the perfect set up for the final book and it’s one I’ll be waiting on the edge of my seat for. You should definitely stick around with this series; it’ll be worth it.

BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3)
Author: Kendare Blake
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Pages: 464 (Hardcover)
Goodreads

Until next time,

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