Friday, September 22, 2017

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
Release Date - September 19, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 464 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

**spoilers for Three Dark Crowns**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

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.. 
Sequels can be tricky, especially when they are middle parts to a series. A large part of them is setting up things for future installments and they can often end up feeling like a bridge between the first and final books in the series. Kendare Blake manages to both set up further installments and progress the plot in One Dark Throne. It's a perfect balance of both and a solid installment in the Three Dark Crowns series.

The cliffhanger at the end of Three Dark Crowns was one of my favourite elements from the first novel. Discovering that Arsinoe is actually the poisoner queen was a jaw dropping moment that you feel that you should have seen coming. That part of the story is only beginning to be fleshed out in this sequel but it adds another layer to this story. You really get a more clear picture of how these sisters have been manipulated since they were young children. It showcases how many people have maneuvered and kept secrets to further their own agendas with little thought to these sisters. I am looking forward to Arsinoe's real powers to be revealed because of what it probably means for Katharine and the gift she probably possesses.

My favourite Queen continues to be Katharine. Each of them have endearing and maddening qualities to them. Mirabella and Arsinoe are the more level headed sisters in this installment. Katharine's storyline, however, is the more interesting. Katharine is not the same after crawling her way back from being left for dead. She's angry and more reckless. I think there is another layer to what is driving her and I cannot wait for this part of the story, which feels more mystical or paranormal, to unravel in future installments.

The politic elements are, for me, the most compelling. Each side is scheming to get their preferred Queen on the throne, and each side is is will to make deals, and double cross when it is to their benefit. It makes it feel like a chess game, and the three sisters little more than pawns in an elaborate game they don't even know the rules for. It creates sympathy for these girls when it could perhaps to be easier to not have the reader feel that way. It makes you root for them to find a way to defy fate so that all three of them may live and experience the lives they are building for themselves.

I am not sure if the fact that this is more than a duology was well known, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this novel would not be the last in this story. I am happy to return to this world, and these characters, as I still there is still plenty to tell within this story.

Kenadare Blake has offered up an engaging story filled with complex female characters and the relationships that exist between them. It is a wonderful blend of plot and character driven and I highly recommend this to those who love books that are a mix of politics, fantasy elements, romance and stories that revolve around sisters. 

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