ONE DARK THRONE is the sequel to Kendare Blake’s 2016 release, THREE DARK CROWNS. Kendare is also the author of ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD. ONE DARK THRONE picks up where THREE DARK CROWNS left off. The series takes place on Fennbirn island, where in each generation three queens are born. However, only one of the queens may live to rule the island. This queen is chosen by being the last of her sisters standing as the three fight to the death for the crown.
This series is by far one of my favorites. The premise alone had me hooked and the actual story does not disappoint. To my surprise, I enjoyed ONE DARK THRONE more than THREE DARK CROWNS. I do not typically prefer the sequel to the original, but this story only developed and improved throughout its second installment. Because the reader already has knowledge of the world and characters, this book is much easier to understand from the beginning. This is a huge advantage to the plot, especially because my main problem with THREE DARK CROWNS was the confusion I faced while becoming accustomed to the world.
“This series is by far one of my favorites. The premise alone had me hooked and the actual story does not disappoint. To my surprise, I enjoyed ONE DARK THRONE more than THREE DARK CROWNS. “
The characters and the tension established between them are an amazing addition to the plot. Not all of the queens are easy to like, but they are all easy to be interested in. Mirabella is my favorite of the sisters because she has a complex situation and personality. This makes it very interesting to watch how she reacts to various events and how she utilizes different motivations to justify her actions. (Also complete side note, but I love the name Mirabella. It’s gorgeous and should 100% become a super popular name in real life.) Katherine and Arsinoe also hold their own as complex and intriguing characters. One of the best elements of ONE DARK THRONE is that the reader knows only one of the queens may live. However, the reader also struggles to find a favorite between the three. Even though I would choose Mirabella as my favorite, I still found myself rooting for all three of the queens during various points of the novel.
Side characters in this series also share this same level of complexity. This keeps the reading experience exciting because everyone that is placed on the page has a purpose. The drama within the world is intertwined among every person on the island. This equips the plot with an endless amount of twists and turns. The reader becomes unsure of who to trust, remaining on the edge of their seat with every turn of the page.
Speaking of twists and turns, the plot is rich and dramatic. If I had the time I could have easily finished ONE DARK THRONE in one epic sitting (see what I kinda did there?). The intensity builds throughout the novel and the reader is constantly wondering which of the three queens will be crowned. Trust me, the shock value and drama contained in the ending does not disappoint.
I would highly recommend ONE DARK THRONE as well as THREE DARK CROWNS to anyone interested in fantasy novels. On a broader scale, I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys dramatic storylines with a large cast of complex characters. These books are fantastic and definitely among some of my favorite YA fantasy releases of all time.