One Dark Throne
By Kendare Blake
Harper Teen, 2017. 448 pages. Young Adult Fiction
In this sequel to Three Dark Crowns, the Ascension Year has not played out the way the inhabitants of the magical island of Fennbirn expected. The three queens, triplet sisters, are now 16 and must battle each other to the death so one can be crowned. Many people believed Mirabella, the most powerful elementalist in generations, who can control wind, water, and fire, would easily defeat Arsinoe and Katharine, but she has hesitated to attack.
Meanwhile, Arsinoe, raised by the naturalists who commune with animals and nature, has discovered she’s not as powerless as she once appeared. And Katharine, once the meekest of the sisters has become ruthless after an encounter with the strange, unsettling magic of the island. As alliances shift, the various factions conspire to tip the scales. Even the queens’ potential suitors become pawns. However, no one can prevent the queens from deciding to take their fates into their own hands.
This sequel loses none of the first book’s momentum. Something you don’t always find in middle books. With complex characters and an unpredictable plot, it is gruesomely fascinating to watch unfold. I especially enjoyed how the story explores themes of loyalty both among the different factions and the fact that the queens are grappling with the reality of killing one another for the ultimate throne.