Throwing a Little Shade at One Dark Throne (but not too much!)

Welcome back to the world where three sisters fight it out to be queen. In case you didn’t remember, I reviewed Three Dark Crowns a while back, and found it a bit lightweight for my tastes. Still, I found book two in the library and decided to give it a shot- cos why not?

*Massive spoilers for Three Dark Crowns– you have been warned*

one dark throneAnd I can safely say it was marginally better. Particularly as Katherine, the most meh character in the first book, underwent a dark turn and became the most intriguing. Fortunately no one was calling her sweet in this book- and let’s be honest, she was sharp as a barb, so no chance of that. Unfortunately, however, this came at the cost of me feeling far less interested in the other two sisters. While still an okay sort, I wasn’t as invested in Arsinoe and thought Mirabella was a bit of a damp squid this time round.

In terms of writing, it was fine. I can’t believe I didn’t notice this for the first one, but it was written in present tense, which gave it an immediacy, though could be somewhat jarring (I don’t suppose that’s a criticism, more a personal taste thing). It also struck me that the perspectives flipped really fast- which again made the pacing whizz by. I’ll admit, my notes got sidetracked by the technique here, even though it’s not the flashy sort of writing I usually pay close attention to- which sadly was a consequence of not giving a monkeys about the characters.

Anyway, on the positive side, I was not here for that- I was here to be entertained.

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Fortunately, this was fun fun fun. The plot certainly thickened in this one and, thanks to Katherine’s more edgy character, it wasn’t as predictable. I didn’t know what was going to happen the whole way through- which is a lot better than guessing the whole thing in the first page I must say! The only thing in terms of the plot that really bugged me was how no one’s guessed Katherine’s a naturalist (oh spoilers, cos this isn’t technically in the book as far as I remember, but that’s only because everyone’s slow on the draw). For those who aren’t into the series, the three queens each have distinct powers: naturalist, poisoner and elemental- and the twist in Three Dark Crown’s was that the naturalist is actually a poisoner- da da! Which makes the poisoner a naturalist. Now, you’d think that if I could figure this out on page 1 of book 1 (you know, the snake familiar was a pretty big giveaway) you’d think that people living in this world would’ve guessed by now… but nope. All they keep saying is “huh funny there were two poisoners in one year…” *facepalm*. Why play out a plot twist that’s already been exposed? I’ll never understand that.

Another thing I wasn’t keen on was the romance. I was unconvinced by Billy, had *no idea* how Kat even entertained the idea of getting back with Pietyr and Joseph could go drown for all I care. Highlight for spoilers: yeah I probably shouldn’t have written that for people that want to read this- he did, quite literally, drown, and no, I didn’t care. I did however think it was cool that Kat killed one love interest by sleeping with him- so, yay? I dunno, like I said, really not in this for the romance. Fortunately, the friendships and other family relationships caught my attention more.

One last thing that’s been bugging me as I’ve read these books is WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY? Seriously, this world building is so sparse- I cannot get a clear picture of where they’re supposed to be.  I keep getting loud and clear that this is not like the outside world- but what’s the outside world like? I have no frame of reference apart from them not having queens, not having powers (I think?) and wearing black at funerals… so really, nada! Help me out here!

Okay, I may have thrown a bit too much shade at this book, but I swear I didn’t have such a bad time with it! It was pretty average, but that was fine. I enjoyed it more than book one at least.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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Yeesh- I hope I haven’t ruined that for anyone. Has anyone read this? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

50 thoughts on “Throwing a Little Shade at One Dark Throne (but not too much!)

  1. I still haven’t read this one, but I have read Three Dark Crowns and felt very meh about it, which is why I postponed the sequel. I do want to get to it at some point, but there’s no immediacy. Also, I just can’t believe that no one thought that Arsinoe might belong to the poisonous division when her name is almost identical to Arsenic? Come on! I am glad to hear everything is less predictable this time around. Anyway, you haven’t ruined it for me at all. After everyone has told me they loved the sequel, this just helped me keep my expectations in check!

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  2. Sisters fighting for a throne is tantalising and rings a bell (I ll explain someday)! But as I’ve tbr-ed the first one, I took herd of your spoilers’ warning and stopped reading.

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  3. It also frustrates me when I can’t get a bearing on character settings. It happened to me with Caraval, and I had the same reaction all the way through: “WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY?!” Hahaha anyway, great review!

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  4. Average is never good enough. It is only “barely adequate”. When I eat an italian sub, I don’t want an average sub, I want a GREAT sub that makes my mouth water at the very smell, my tummy rumble in anticipation and my tastebuds to think they’ve died and gone to heaven at that first bite.

    I don’t think we’re asking very much from authors, right? 😉

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  5. Haven’t read this series yet so I only took a peek at your rating so I wouldn’t catch the spoilers…. but with a lower rating it’s not like it motivates me to pick up the series anytime soon either. LOL

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  6. I skimmed through most of this review because I haven’t read the first book (I will say I’m a little unsure about starting the series given the things I’ve heard about Three Dark Crowns but you never know one day I may want to read it myself) and I’m glad you enjoyed it for the most part. If the second book was a little better than the first maybe the third book will be even better than the second. 🙂 I take it you’ll still be reading the third right?

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  7. Awesome review! I’ve been meaning to read this one since I finished Three Dark Crowns a few months ago. My main problem there was the lack of world building and it’s a she that it’s still a problem in this one too. But hey, now there’s a book three so maybe everything will become clear there…hopefully.

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  8. I’m glad you liked this one better than the first! I’ve really disliked the first one and I was hesitant about reading this one, but I received an ARC. I agree about the world-building, I didn’t understand what was happening and where things took place AT ALL. Good to know that this doesn’t change in the second one XD Great review, I’ll definitely want to pick this up now ❤

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    1. Thank you! I think that’s fair enough- I was pretty meh about the first one too, so I can relate. And I’m glad I’m not the only one that had trouble with the world building too! But it was an improvement. Thank you! I’m glad 🙂 ❤

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  9. I haven’t read this series, but the lack of worldbuilding bugs me when I read books like that. Sure, don’t drown me in world detail, but give me SOMETHING to work with! Ugh.

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    1. Ah I can understand- I’m usually the kind of person that can cope with books being totally light on world building- so it’s kind of a problem when I do notice that it’s just really… lacking. Yeah for sure!

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      1. I guess for me the worldbuilding doesn’t have to be super obvious to the reader, but enough of it needs to be there to prove to me that the author knows what’s going on in the world. Usually it seems a lack of evidence of worldbuilding implies the author was cheating in that stage of book planning (or editing). 😉

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