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

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.

TITLE: One Dark Throne
AUTHOR: Kendare Blake
PUBLISHER: Quill Tree Books
YEAR: 2017
LENGTH: 480 pages
AGE: Young Adult
GENRE: Fantasy

Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Secondary Character(s), Bi/Pan Secondary Character(s).

ONE DARK THRONE is a pretty good sequel to THREE DARK CROWNS, but it feels like it's not sure which role to play: final book in a duology or book two in a long series. Since there are more sequels, the second option won out, but the story doesn't seem to know that quite yet, and it suffers a bit for it. It was definitely easier to stomach than the first one, with much less animal death (but still some). I think the human body count is lower too, now that the big shows of dominance and power are exchanged for more pointed attacks. It does mean the deaths which do occur tend to get more individual focus in the narrative. It's an okay continuation, but where book one was drenched in poison, book two mostly gestures with the threat of it. Since book one poisoned me once, it was enough to keep the tension until book two delivered, but I wasn't nearly as stressed while reading. 

This wraps up several things left hanging from the first book. I don't think it has any major storylines that didn't exist in the first book, since most of the big events are ones which were planned in the first one (provided that the main characters survived to reach them). Some big things are resolved, but most of them were introduced in the first one. This leaves some things to be picked up in further books, but if the series ended right here I think I'd actually be okay with it. There are more books so I will keep reading. The main narrators haven't changed, though the mix of minor and secondary characters who occasionally get to narrate is a bit different. The narrators are definitely different people, but the style of the narration is pretty consistent across narrators. It works since the whole thing is in a rotating third person view, getting the thoughts of one character per chapter but never quite narrating from their perspectives. It's a good thing this is the second book because it wouldn't make much sense without the first book. There's enough explanation to refresh a returning reader after a gap, but the first book explained a lot of backstory and this volume only lightly attempts to re-explain things. Since it's book two it's not a big deal, but I'll be watching as I continue with the series.

CW for sexual content (brief), blood, self harm (graphic), mental illness, violence (graphic), animal cruelty, animal death, suicidal thoughts, murder (graphic), death (graphic).

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