ONE DARK THRONE
Written by Kendare Blake
Published by Harper teen, September 19, 2017
My star rating: 3.5 stars
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. Find it on Goodreads
First of all, I have to remind you that this is a sequel, so if you haven’t read book one (Three Dark Crowns) then I highly suggest you don’t read any further! I will not be spoiling this book but it may spoil something for book one.
That being said, I am so conflicted!! I really did enjoy this book and the series as a whole so far. But I find that the issues that I do have with the series have really taken away from my enjoyment level.
I’ll start off with the things that I like. First of all, the plot and premise is so dark! Three sisters, born as triplets, must kill each other for the throne. The last remaining sister is the true Queen and she will rule until she herself has triplets and then the cycle continues. I’ve read books with a premise close to this but nothing this dark. There was politics involved with this of course. When the sisters are removed from the same care they are taken to a place where they will learn their powers and train to both kill their siblings and train to rule. Each “court” if you will, has their own supporters and each seemed to have their own motivations as to why they needed to be in power. Some seemed to always be stronger than the others, and some seemed to be more motivated by evil. All of this put together was so complicated and BIG! I love that each side seemed to have their own dynamic and they were all so very different. The naturalists were very laid back, welcoming, and kind. The Poisoners seemed to be far more evil and dark, but very powerful. And the Elementals seemed to be somewhere in the middle. Fair, powerful, and both kind and evil prevailed.
What I absolutely enjoyed the most was the powers. Each sister possess a power and she trains with that power after she’s taken from her siblings. The Naturalists are known to have familiars, which is an animal that basically becomes their spirit animal. They can talk to that animal, they can move and react on the naturalist queens demand, and they never leave the queens side. The naturalists also seemed to be one with nature and their surroundings. It was beautiful! The Elementalists could control the weather, using wind, lightening, storms, and more at their command. Obviously this is a very powerful ability and can be used for both good and evil. They can help their land by controlling what they need to grow crops, help those out at sea and more. But if put in the hands of a queen set on destruction, this could be a very different scenario. Then there are the poisoners. They eat and drink tainted food and no amount of poison, no matter how toxic, can harm them. This to me was the most terrifying. When each sister is born they are born with a power but this book proves that not even that is as it seems. All three sisters were so great as they dealt with these powers and the gravity of having to kill their sisters, and there’s no way I could choose a favourite!
This is where I start to get conflicted. The writing style was very up and down for me. The pace was far better in this one than it was in book 1, but I still felt as if we were always going somewhere and never actually getting there. I kept pushing myself to read so that I could get to the next thing and then it seemed to take forever to get there. I did, however, appreciate that this is told from the perspective of all three sisters. The story felt more complete as we got each of their thoughts and reactions to what was happening. If we would have only had one sisters story, I know for a fact that this book wouldn’t be as good. As all three of them are very different, it was wonderful to hear how their personalities and upbringings made them think about their sisters and their powers. But because we were getting the perspective of 3 different people, it seemed to stall the forward movement of the plot.
The writing also seemed very choppy and linear sometimes. The descriptions sometimes lacked the emotion and colour that could have invested me in this story a little more. I also feel that this could have been condensed by a lot. If writing and descriptions were edited and condensed a little more, it wouldn’t have taken so long to get to the point and it would have invested me more into it all. That being said, Kendare Blake is damn good at plot twists! There were so many times where the story went in a totally different direction than I expected.
The biggest problem I had was the side characters. The cast of characters was just SO BIG!! When we’re dealing with three “courts” and all three have their own friends, suitors, priestesses, etc. it got to be impossible to differentiate between them all. They all intertwine in some way which also made it harder to keep them straight. I wish that I would have kept a cheat sheet telling me who was who and what they had to do with the story. I spent a lot of time confused and trying to remember who certain people were. Because I couldn’t remember who they were sometimes, it kept my emotions at bay and prevented me from drawing connecting lines to the sisters. The politics of this story was one of my favourite parts but I feel as though there were just too many people with their hands in the pot.
All in all, I really enjoy this story but for some reason I’m not connecting with in in a way that I wish I could. I do plan to continue with the series though. Since some of the issues I had with book 1 were fixed in book 2, I have high hopes that her writing is only getting better.
Until next time, happy reading!