Friday 29 September 2017

One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2), Kendare Blake

"I have been eating poison since I was a child. Now I am practically made of it"
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.

1 / 5 

I feel like the premise behind this series, which must be at least a trilogy judging by the ending of One Dark Throne, could have made one great hard-hitting standalone novel. Instead, we get a dragged out idea made into several books and, unfortunately, not much at all happens in One Dark Throne of any particular note. Mirabella and Arsinoe are virtually interchangeable, and Katherine has become the star of this book alongside my personal favourite character Jules. 

"When you go after Katharine, don't hesitate. I know she was our little girl whose hair we braided full of daisies, but she isn't anymore"

Three Dark Crowns ended on a seemingly stunning revelation about Arsinoe. In practice, nothing really changes with Arsinoe; she still wants to escape the island, there some sort of vague uninteresting romance hanging around, and she forms a sort of alliance with Mirabella when the two are finally clever enough to realise that they are being played.  The explanation surrounding how Arsinoe's bear Braddock is controlled is patchy at best, though the bear adds a certain cuteness factor to the book, her messing in low magic is annoying and frustrating, and I kept getting her mixed up with Mirabella because both are seemingly pacifists who share love interests. 

My main problem with One Dark Throne, however, is that nothing really happens. We had several interesting set ups from the last novel, including Katherine's tumble into the void and Arsinoe's powers, but none of them are utilised properly. There's still nothing really here to inspire emotion in me and I feel like Blake relies too much on romances to try and create tension; we have Jules and Joseph and their romantic and sexual dilemmas, and Billy, flitting between Mirabella and Arsinoe, but it's all so eh. The one "romance" that I did actually enjoy was Katherine and her wicked toying with Pietyr, and her new man Nicolas whose end truly shocked me! 

"I may be the weakest, but I am a queen, through and through. All the way down to my dead blood and bones"

I think perhaps it is time to accept that myself and the Three Dark Crowns series simply do not see eye to eye. I want gritty, I want bloody, I want three queens in a death match. I have no objection, in principle, to Mirabella's unwillingless to kill, to harm her beloved sisters; what I do object to is the easy way she seems to escape scenarios. We have Katherine, poised to kill, and stopped by a council member. Why would she stop? Katherine wants to be Queen and a queen of Fennbirn come to a crown with blood on her hands, with her sisters dead at her feet, and this would-be-queen is halted by a few words? It makes little sense and adds a sense of falsity to the novel: there is no tension because I was never afraid for any of the trio because Blake made it obvious that none of them would be killed off. Had she done so, had one of the three actually died, I might have had an action-packed, riveting novel in my hands. 

Unfortunately, this is not what I got. So unfortunately, I will be giving the rest of this series a pass. 

My thanks to Edelweiss for an ARC of this book

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