My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As this is the second book in a series, there may be spoilers in this review for the first book. Please be aware and read the first book (or my first review) before delving into this. I found One Dark Throne to be a little slow to start, but that may have just been because I didn’t reread Three Dark Crowns before jumping back into the world. It would have been better to be reacquainted with the world and all of the minor characters (that can get confusing) before I started the second book. Once I was engrossed in the world again, I was completely drawn into the story and enjoyed myself.
The three sisters continue their fight for the crown and there is more plotting in this book. Mirabella is no longer the chosen queen after her sisters’ strong showings in the first book. Katharine is willing to do whatever it takes to win her crown. Arsinoe doesn’t want to kill, even to save her own life. Mirabella is hurt and betrayed and realizes that she might not be willing to cross the line to be queen. The three queens develop and grow over the course of the novel.
While there is character growth in this novel, I do wish there was more development. It was nice to see glimpses into the relationship between Natalia and Katharine, as it is deeper than either generally let on. But Nicholas, Pietyr and Genieve felt more like flat characters than ones I could feel were well fleshed out. This problem extends to other characters both in Arsinoe’s home and Mirabella’s. There are so many minor characters that most of them don’t have the “screen time” to become fully developed characters that contribute to the story. (And some a very similar names to others, which can be very confusing if each person doesn’t feel like a unique creation.)
Personally, I really like Arsinoe and Mirabella (sorry Katharine supporters) so I have a tough time determining how I would like the series to play out. That being said, the series continues to surprise and confuse me. It is not formulaic and I really enjoy the plot. The world building and magic system are fascinating, which is what keeps me wanting more from the series.
I would definitely recommend this book (after you’ve read or reread the first, of course) and cannot wait to see how this story continues in future books.