Book Review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

Book Review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

Celeste Bleeker, Staff Writer

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

Kendare Blake’s newest book, One Dark Throne, is a sequel to Three Dark Crowns that rivals the first book in both plot and material. Three Dark Crowns left us with Katharine, the poisoner, being shoved down a supposedly bottomless pit to die; Arsinoe, the naturalist, is left scarred and with the stunning fact that she is actually a poisoner (and a powerful one at that); Mirabella, the formidable elemental, finds that she is no longer the dominant sister.

We open One Dark Throne (after stroking the beautiful cover in tearful joy) to find that not only has Katharine survived her fall into Breccia Domain, but she is now stronger than ever. She downs poison like it is nothing, and nothing seems to be able to stop Katharine in her fight for the throne. Having dismissed all thoughts of Pietyr (her former lover, who attempted to kill her), Katharine now embraces a new and deadly suitor, Nicolas, all while plotting her sisters’ deaths and concocting poisoned gifts. While Katherine is busy with her new hobbies, we then find Arsinoe recovering from her wounds quite well.

Arsinoe. Oh my word, don’t even get me started. In the first book, she started out as the queen that nobody thought would win, but after using her best friend Jules’ incredible naturalist powers (plus a little low magic) to trick people into thinking that her familiar was a grizzly bear, everyone has high expectations. Now everyone in her village is expecting Arsinoe to waltz around with her (fake) bear partner. Unable to admit that she actually isn’t a naturalist, she reverts to low magic, this time getting a different bear to be her familiar. However, this time it works and, voila, one scary and impressive animal friend all set to maul people or scare them, or both at the same time.

While her sisters revel in their new-found fame and power, Mirabella plots a way to kill Arsinoe, whom she thinks has tried to kill her (admittedly, they are supposed to kill each other). But what Mirabella doesn’t know is that Arsinoe wasn’t intending to send her first bear “pet” across the stage after her. What really happened is that the bear was agitated by Katharine and, combined with the bear already being scared and half-mad, it broke free of its low magic bonds and lumbered across the stage towards Mira. After a tense meeting in the woods between Mirabella and Arsinoe, Mirabella finds out the truth from Arsinoe’s kind-of boyfriend, Billy (he only lets Arsinoe call him that), and is remorseful.

The rest of the story is filled with Arsinoe (and her bear…nooooo) almost dying, Mirabella’s people being poisoned, and Katharine becomes queen (WHAT?!!!). Even though I just spoiled the book for everyone, you should read it if you are looking for an action-packed book with romance, death, and also large bears. So go and read Three Dark Crowns and One Dark Throne right now!