Review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

One Dark Throne

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CW: Blood, Violence, Rape


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.

Trenn Kopie

Review [Contains Spoilers!!!]

“No matter how far I go, I’m still your person. We stand together now.”

This book got me so conflicted, I haven’t been that torn about a book in a long time. One Dark throne itself was a good book, a good book with flaws and stressful times but still overall enjoyable and bittersweet. However, it was a pretty disappointing sequel that didn’t use the great long setup of the action to create a haunting competition. I’m quite worried about the expansion to 4 books. Before reading this one I was optimistic, but now I have no idea where the story will lead us. and how we’ll fill two more books. Originally the book would have ended differently as a finale, but now it was set up as a transition book and not in a good way. The premise turned completely around and got away from what the book was originally about. I really hope that the author has a complete surprise and interesting plots for us, because combined with the slow pace a boring plot could completely drag out the series.

What I still loved 💕

📖 Arsinoe is my favorite queen and saved this book. She’s the one that I initially wanted to see on the throne before things went sideways, because she’s the most down-to-earth. Arsinoe never complained about her destiny and was trying to use every resource she could to her advantage just like low magic. She definitely is smart, tough, but also sometimes a bit clumsy when it comes to her feelings. In general, I love how well-rounded and strong Arsinoe is, for me she’s 100% my favorite character of the book and also a very likable character. She didn’t have the most character development (that goes to Katharine), but slow and steady from not fighting back to finally acting active by trying to safe Mirabella.

📖 Katharine’s development is so dark and twisty. She was the queen that changed the most, which was prompted by her being thrown down the Brecchia … domain? and crawling back out. I also thought it was fitting that the discarded queens that lost kind of inhabited? her, because Kath knows what it’s like not to be the favorite. Katharine no longer is the small frightened girl who was always pushed around and tortured, because she could not withstand any poison. Now Katharine has got claws and she’s willing to use them to get what she wants: her well deserved crown. Not even Genevieve who used to bully her dares mess with the Queen, because Kath has proven that she’s more merciless and brutal than ever before. One could say that she’s quite scary and the darkest of all queens. Katharine is the queen whose the most active, setting out to kill her sisters and actually meaning it, unlike Mirabella who always backed down. I also liked how she made Pietyr suffer for what he did and showed him her dark side.

📖 Despite the romance plot, I still loved Jules! I know I shouldn’t be so hard on her, but it annoyed me how easily she was willing to give Joseph and become a fool because of love, especially as she should have known better. Yes, she loves him, but it wasn’t good for her and no one was willing to actually tell Joseph off. However, apart from that I still think she’s a strong, loyal character always on Arsinoe’s side and trying to help her win the crown. Now we also learn that Jules is legion-cursed meaning that she is both Naturalist and War-Gifted, which is dangerous as it can drive her to madness. Therefore, she is quite powerful and also in danger of being prosecuted and killed by the island. In the end, I was glad that Joseph FINALLY died and opted a better character developement for Jules in the next book as she went back to Fennbirn, when the crew had finally escaped. This had been hinted a bit in the end, but I’m glad she’s finally free of Joseph.

📖 Billy is the only good love interest. Literally, he is the only acceptable guy in this entire book and I was so glad that this weird “Mirabella and I are betrothed, because we think Arsinoe is dead” thing they had going on was not further explored. I like Billy because he’s honest, loyal and kind – he’s not a bad guy at all and also not the typical brooding love interest that you usually see. He’s nice to most people and not willing to be a pawn for his father, also Billy is not a cheater like Joseph.

📖 Arsinoe’s and Billy’s slow burn romance is the only good one! It began last book and was super decent and slow, which is how I’d like more relationships to be explored. This also made sense for both characters, as Arsinoe is not wearing her heart on a sleeve and is a bit more careful with her feelings. Indeed, she’s skeptical of Billy at first but grows closer with him over time when she gets to know him. Now they finally get it together, but still stay in character and don’t turn cheesy, which I really liked. Both are literally the only couple I’d ever be able to root for, because they have the only healthy romance, which is kind of sad at the same time.

📖 I love the strong lady dynamics! Arsinoe’s and Jule’s friendship is among the best I’ve ever seen, because their connection is so strong. They always had each others backs and if it were not for Jules, Arsinoe would be dead by now, she even risked her secret to be exposed to save her friend. It was heartbreaking to see them be torn apart at the end, but I do think that Jules has to find her own way, no matter how much she loved her friend. I also liked Arsinoe and Mirabella’s growing allyship & friendship at the end, I liked Mirabella so much more when she was working with her sister instead of being stuck with her usual family.

📖 The world of Fennbirn is still one of the best aspects. The world-building honestly is way better than the pacing and plot & what got me and others excited in the first place. It’s still solid and very interesting, especially as we know will get to explore the mainland as well in the upcoming book. However, I think that Fennbirn has a bit more secrets that have yet to be revealed.

Trenn Kopie

What went horribly wrong ⚡️

📖 The love potion storyline/love triangle was completely unnecessary and annoying. I hated it in the first book and the fact that we’re doing this again was the fact that stressed me out the most. I don’t get why this storyline is even here, it adds nothing to the story than unnecessary drama which I don’t want, don’t need and have tired of last time. Still we get this mess until halfway through were it’s suddenly dropped, which made me wonder why the author thought it was a good idea to add it in the first place. Just get Joseph away from these girls. I swear he’s the ultimate fuckboy and that gets on my nerves so much that I couldn’t 100% enjoy the book because this storyline and Joseph especially always kept popping up.

📖 Jule’s & Joseph’s relationship left a bad taste in my mouth. Like why are we still exploring their relationship, when it’s so messed up? I literally gagged every time they kiss or made love *shudders in disgust* and declared their undying love. How do you expect me to root for them? Jules deserved better than a cheating [insert swear word here] like Joseph, who always pushed her and didn’t even give her time to recover from his constant betrayal. The way he touched her made my blood boil: just fuck off Joseph and leave her alone for gods sake! I was screaming in frustration every time Jules tried to forgive him and declared that she still loved him … like come on girl, open your eyes some part of him will always be bound to Mirabella & he’ll never truly be yours.

📖 Most love interests were toxic, messy and all over the place. Joseph obviously. I’ve already said how much I hate him and his cheating fuckboy self. I couldn’t stand him or the way that everyone still worshipped him after he cheated on his girlfriend 3 or 4 times and then even didn’t have the decency to back off. I cannot forgive him, because in my opinion he didn’t feel guilty enough and still got what he wanted. I AM LIVING BECAUSE NOW THIS SUCKER IS DEAD! BOOM!!!! Pietry wasn’t better, because he suddenly turned from tolerable to complete controlling jealous guy, who always thought that he could tell Katharine what to do and how to behave. Only to turn completely around in the ending … uhm what? That didn’t make sense. Nicholas was tolerable at first but then showed off his ugly controlling self. He was literally like “now we’re married, so you’re MINE now”. Is no one talking about how he raped Katharine on their wedding night? I was really glad he was killed, but still .. NOPE.

📖 Mirabella was boring for most of the book because she had 0 character development. She was always my least favorite queen, but I did like her in the first book. In the second book, she had no real character arc at all. It took me a while to realize why I thought Mirabella was so boring and her story so dull in this book. Only later did I realize that she barely had any growth, the few instances in the beginning were too sudden and out of character without and transition, so I cannot really count them. I do think that my liking of Mirabella improved later on when she was working with other people, but for the most part nothing happened with her or her friend … unlike the synopsis says. The synopsis like last time is misleading: The only people harmed were a few random priestesses that Mirabella didn’t know at all which was a bit cheap. Instead of exploring Mirabella’s fall from grace in the face of her sister’s growth, she was still ever favored and not feeling any impact.

📖 The Plot wasn’t as good as it could have been. The Last book was already very character driven and slow, but I didn’t mind that, but I had different expectations for the sequel. I’m not ta,ing about the pace, but rather about the plot being a bit too slow for a deadly competition. In my opinion more could have happened, the stakes could have been higher and the plot left me wanting more. It just wasn’t worthy after the author took such a long time setting up the Tournament in the first book. The slow pace might have worked for the first book but it doesn’t seem fit for the setting or the sequels.

📖 The book didn’t pack the punch like the last one. There weren’t any great plot twists and the few reveals weren’t done in an impactful way bur rather just suddenly mentioned without any great build up, which was really disappointing. The ending was heartbreaking, but didn’t end on a great twist like the last one, which I have to compare after the great ending of Three Dark Crowns.

IN CONCLUSION: One Dark Throne was a good, twist book but a pretty disappointing sequel with messy romance plots that annoyed me. I expected more after the first book set up an epic battle that fell flat and didn’t pack the punch.

Talk Kopie

What did you think of One Dark Throne as a sequel? What do you predict will happen next? 📖


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