When I reviewed Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns last summer, I knew I had landed on something pretty awesome. A little over six months later, and here I am, reviewing the sequel, One Dark Throne. It’s taken me long enough to read it, and therefore long enough to review it.
Because this is a sequel, I will not include a summary: just details on what I think worked about this book. After all, I cannot invite spoilers to those who haven’t read the first book.
In the first book, I said that I didn’t have a favorite queen. Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katharine are all finely painted characters, but I find myself liking Mirabella the most. She is not only gentle—a most ironic characteristic considering her elemental powers—but she still holds out hope even in the grimmest circumstance. Arsinoe is great by virtue of her tomboyishness and sarcasm, and Katharine, despite being so cold and cruel, is still likable.
Mirabella may be my favorite, but Katharine…she has the most difficult journey ahead of her, it seems. To be clear, she does have moments of vulnerability—humanity, really—but her family’s ambition to win the crown always crushes it. Although something tells me in later books, she’ll manage to break from her family, or otherwise forge her own path somehow.
This time around, all three queens have to make nice with various suitors—some that are friendly and cordial, and some that are calculating and ambitious. These suitors create some delicious sexual tension among the sisters, especially because some of the queens are already in love.
Just like with any good sequel, the world-building continues to grow. Mysteries established in the first book come back into play, and others come to light.
Plainly put, everything that the first book set up has expanded, and is another step closer to exploding in the final two books.