Monday, September 18, 2017

One Dark Throne - Review

One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns, # 2)

By: Kendare Blake

Expected Publication: September 19th 2017 by Harper Teen

448 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

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Goodreads description--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.

Three Dark Crowns was a slow read for me, yet it ended in a bit of a cliffhanger where we find out that Arsinoe is actually a poisoner and not a naturalist at all. I actually guessed this in some ways. What I predicted was that Arsinoe was actually the poisoner and Katharine was the naturalist. Katharine still hasn't been confirmed as a naturalist, but there was specific mention of these two being "switched" and "sabotaged." Even still Katharine was never specifically named as a naturalist, and other than her original snake, Sweetheart, from Three Dark Crowns she's never shown a particular ability with animals either. The real cliffhanger of Three Dark Crowns is that Katharine survived being thrown into the Breccia Domain. But she's returned...different.

All throughout reading One Dark Throne I kept thinking that based off the events of the story this would be the conclusion of the series. But apparently that's not the case. And I have to say that I was a bit disappointed that there will be more. I think that's in large part due to the pacing of the books. Both books were extremely slow reads for me. As a matter of fact, together they took up the majority of my reading time for the entire month of May. Plus even though there are pieces of the story that could definitely be explored further, I had enough closure with how things ended for One Dark Throne.

This might seem contradictory to the paragraph above, but I suppose I do have some conflicting thoughts about this book/series. The description pulled me in with the unique concept of three sisters with different abilities fighting to the death to see which one survives to be awarded the crown. Totally unique, right? And my first thought was that I don't want this to be one of those books where the author cops out and somehow all three sisters find a way to survive as well as potentially find their happily ever afters. Yet, that leaves me rooting for someone to be killed right? It isn't so much that I want anyone to die as much as I want this genre to step up. Not everything has a pretty ending where everyone survives. Especially when you sell a concept like three sisters fighting to the death over a crown.

Another thing I struggled with conflicting emotions over were the romances. Pietyr threw Katharine into the Breccia Domain at the end of Three Dark Crowns so I found it hard to root for him. Nicolas was pretty much a sociopath so there's no backing him. Joseph cheated on Jules with Mirabella. One thing I don't abide is a cheater. While I can respect Jules's ability and willingness to forgive Joseph, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth over the couple. I almost wanted to root for him and Mirabella despite the cheating because there seemed to be some sort of supernatural force between the two, but that petered out. Billy and Arsinoe were the closest to being able to cheer for a happy ending, but these two were a bit dramatic for my tastes. And since romance is usually one of the biggest driving forces behind my desire to read a book, this aspect just really fell flat for me.

Speaking of supernatural forces, I felt like the explanation given for the low magic which didn't really work to connect Arsinoe with her fake familiar bear, Braddock, now suddenly working wasn't enough. And this kind of thing happened a couple of times.

I know that this review has been focused on the things that I struggled with or had conflicting emotions over, but it was a decent book. I can't say that I loved it at all, but it was "good". I did feel some closure with how One Dark Throne ended, but knowing that there's more to come, I can't stop before I've seen what's going to happen next. One Dark Throne gets 3 Stars. Have you read One Dark Throne? What did you think? Let me know!

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