[ARC Review + Excerpt] One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

Things are about to get bloody.

One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns, #2)

Title: One Dark Throne
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication Date: September 19th 2017 by Harper Teen
Edition: Digital Advance Reader’s Copy
Language: English
Pages: 448
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Second book
Buy the book: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Book Depository

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.

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Disclaimer: Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

RATING: 4

REVIEW:

(This is a spoiler-free review for One Dark Throne but BEWARE OF SPOILERS FOR THREE DARK CROWNS.)


THIS IS NOT THE LAST BOOK. I repeat. This is not the last book. Kendare Blake you sneaky little fox, you made me read faster because of anticipation (and the thought of this being the final book), only to find out that there will be another book! WHYYYYYYYY. I thought this was a duology?!?! Not that I’m complaining though, I still want more Fennbirn drama to be honest, but now I need to wait another year for it. AGAIN.

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After the total chaos of the Quickening, things are heavier and darker now that the Ascension Year has begun. Arsinoe, Mirabella, and Katharine must find ways​ to kill off one another until only one remains to rule the island. The only problem is, not all are willing to kill for the crown.

Like I said, this a spoiler-free review. Therefore, I’ll make my thoughts and/or opinions quick to avoid spoiling you guys.

The time has come for the three queens to kill for the crown, loyalties are tested, and new alliances are formed. In other words, shit is about to get down. *sips tea*

One Dark Throne went from “Let’s take this slowly while maintaining its darkness.” to “Who cares anymore??? Blood, blood, BLOOD—BLOOOOD!”.
Things got way darker pretty quickly. This book is better than the first one, in my opinion. The pacing was faster and the characters were more complex.

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Katharine and her character development was the main attraction of this book for me. Wow. Just, wow.

Where is the little girl with her large foolish eyes and tightly braided bun? The skinny girl who bows her head and only laughs after someone else laughs first?

Imagine sweet, and innocent Sansa Stark’s development into the Dark Sansa we see today in Game of Thrones, but DARKER. She was haunting, and wicked, and I’d probably stay away from her if I was a character in the book. Oh, and I love how she scares the shit out of Genevieve. Serves her right.

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The queenly Mirabella is still as powerful (and as much of a softie) as she was when we met her in TDC, but among the three, she just doesn’t standout for me. Especially now that Katharine has risen from the ashes, or, should I say, damp earth? And Arsinoe has a newfound power… yes, she is still a great elemental, but that’s the only thing that stuck when I first met her in book one, and it’s still the same thing I keep seeing here in book two. YES, I GET IT. The girl is quite a powerful elemental. It’s just that there is nothing striking in her character, you know?

Like Kat, Arsinoe has come a long way from being the underdog we met in Three Dark Crowns. Sure, she still feels the need to put others first before herself, which is a trait I always admired about her by the way, but she’s definitely stronger now. I always suspected her as the clever one among the three, I was right.
And Arsinoe being a poisoner makes everything much more interesting with her chapters. Trust me 😉

I hate that Kendare Blake’s writing can be as effective as Sarah J. Maas’s when it comes to character development. If you’re like me, then you’ll find yourself having a change of heart for some characters. I really wanted to hate them as much as I hated them in book one…but…GAAAAAH.

Although some parts felt dull for me, those kind of scenes that should have given me strong feelings towards them, but ended up with a blank reaction. An example is Jules and Joseph’s scene near the end, it was supposed to be this emotional scene for everyone, but I found myself reading it casually and moving on to the next scene. It just felt abrupt. I don’t know, maybe the timing of the event just wasn’t perfect.

The character developments were spot on, we get to understand more of what goes on in some of the characters’ heads. We are also introduced to new characters, I do hope we get to see the triplets’ mother, Queen Camille, in the future. She’s an interesting one. It was also nice to see the different friendships and romances that progressed here, with all the killing and scheming, it felt like a cool breeze on a hot summer day.

A great sequel. It was what I was looking for in Three Dark Crowns before: blood, gore, and power. 

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~ thoughts ~

  • The Game of Thrones vibes is so strong in this one.
  • Fennbirn? More like Fennberos. Lol
  • “That sentimental goof.”
  • Character developments for the win!
  • Billy Chatworth is bae.
  • Natalia Arron = Cersei Lannister

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  • Kat throwing knives at Genevieve omg
  • The political stuff are more perspicuous here thank goodness
  • Pietyr? Pietyr.
  • I have mixed feelings for Katharine it’s almost painful. She’s so dark yet so fierce.
  • 10/10 would recommend to GoT fans.

 

EXCERPT:

Katharine’s horse’s hooves slide on the cobblestones on the way toward Indrid Down Temple, and she pulls his head up sharply. She loves to ride fast through the capital, through the middle of the streets as people jump out of her way, her black hair and Half Moon’s tail streaming behind like flags. Half Moon is the gamest, most agile horse in Greavesdrake’s stables. Bertrand Roman, the boorish guard that Natalia appointed on Genevieve’s recommendation, cannot hope to keep up.

She reaches the temple and signals to an initiate priestess standing in the shadows, earning her black bracelets by serving at the temple door. The initiate comes forward immediately as Half Moon comes to a hopping stop and Katharine dismounts.

“Shall I take him to the stable, Queen Katharine?”

“No thank you. I won’t be long. Just walk him, and he would not mind some sugar if you have some handy.” She turns away and smiles as she hears Bertrand Roman approaching, huffing and puffing on the back of his black mare.

Katharine does not wait. She walks through the doors, out of the bright heat of Indrid Down June and into the nave, which always smells of smoky incense and wood polish. The exterior of Indrid Down Temple may be as dramatic as the rest of the city, a façade of black marble and spitting gargoyles, but the interior is surprisingly austere: only a scant path of well-worn black mosaic on the floor, wooden benches for the devotees, and bright white light streaming from the upper-level windows.

Katharine waves to Lora, the head priestess, and loosens the collar of her black riding jacket

“Some cool water for the queen,” Lora calls, and a novice scurries for a pitcher.

You should not ride so far ahead of your guard,” Lora says, and bows.

“Do not worry about me, Priestess,”Katharine replies. “Natalia has eyes and ears in every corner of the island. If there had been any movement out of Wolf Spring or Rolanth, you can be sure I would be locked up tight.”

Lora smiles nervously. They are all so afraid. As if Mirabella will appear out of nowhere and shake the temple to the ground, or Arsinoe will storm the city astride her bear. As if they would dare.

Katharine walks between the aisles, squeezing the hands of temple visitors in her black-gloved fingers. The temple is nearly full, even at this odd hour. Perhaps it is as Natalia says and the Ascension brings people back to the Goddess. Or perhaps they are there for a glimpse of their Undead Queen.

“We will have a suitor here in the capital soon, is that not so?” Lora asks.

“Yes,” Katharine replies. “Nicolas Martel. Natalia is preparing the banquet to welcome him, to be held at the Highbern Hotel.”

“We will be honored to receive him at the temple. Can you recommend any decoration?”

“Indrid Down Temple is elegant enough as it is,” Katharine says distractedly. “Though Natalia likes poison flowers. Something pretty, but nothing that can be absorbed through the skin.”

Lora nods, and walks with Katharine as they approach the apse and the altar. There, behind a silver chain, lies the Goddess Stone, a great, curved circle of obsidian set into the floor. It shines brightly even in the low light. Looking into its depths feels to Katharine like looking into the blackness of the Breccia Domain.

“It is very beautiful,” Katharine whispers.

“Yes. It is. Very beautiful, and very sacred.”

They say it was taken from the eastern side of Mount Horn. That the mountain opened up one day, like an eye, for them to claim it. Katharine does not know if that is true. But it is a good story.

She reaches down and takes Lora by the wrist. The head priestess’s tattooed black bracelets are old and faded, though Lora cannot be more than forty. She must have come to the temple so young.

“Such devotion,” Katharine says, and rubs the tattoo with her leather-clad thumb.

In the back of the temple, the doors open and close around Bertrand Roman’s clomping boots. Katharine purses her lips.

“A moment alone with her, perhaps,”she says.

“Of course.”The head priestess bows and turns to clear the room. “Everyone, please, quickly,”she says. Clothes rustle and footsteps hurry along the aisles. Katharine is still until the door thuds closed and all is silent.

“You too, Bertrand,”she says, irritated. “Wait for me outside.”

The door opens and closes one more time around his clomping boots.

Katharine smiles and slips quietly beneath the silver chain. She can feel the Goddess Stone watching as she approaches.

“Do you know us?” Katharine whispers to it. “Do we still smell of the rock and the deep, damp earth that you threw us down into?”

She kneels and places her hands on the marble floor. She leans across. The Goddess Stone lays before her curved and black, showing her pale reflection.

“You will not have your way, this time,”Katharine says, her lips close enough to the obsidian to kiss it. “We are coming for you.”

Katharine strips off her glove and places her hand against the cold, hard surface. Perhaps it is only her imagination, but she could swear that she feels the Goddess Stone shudder.

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5 thoughts on “[ARC Review + Excerpt] One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

  1. Three Dark Crowns fell short for me, but the ending had me eagerly anticipating the next book. I’m glad to hear about Katharine’s character development because she was definitely my favourite part of the first book! Also love that this is faster and darker because I felt like that was lacking in the first book. Great review!!

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  2. I seriously just snorted when I read “shit is about to get down *sips tea*” – hilarious! I have to say that I like how you said there’s a Game of Thrones vibe to this book. Made me intrigued. I haven’t heard of this book (nor the series) yet so I’ll definitely check it out!

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