Two Dark Reigns, Kendare Blake – Book Review

Hello humans! Today I’m reviewing the third book in the Three Dark Crowns series, unhelpfully titled Two Dark Reigns. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and I thought that the second was pretty good as well. I will be honest, I thought that this was the final book in a trilogy, but it turns out there will be four books so those expecting a conclusion will be sorely dissapointed. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see where the story was moving in book number three.

Spoiler free for this book, but obviously there may be spoilers for book one and two.

Two dark reigns Kendare Blake

Goodreads Summary:

The battle has been fought, blood has been spilt and a queen has been crowned, but not all are happy with the outcome.

Katharine, the poisoner queen, has been crowned and is trying to ignore the whispers that call her illegitimate, undead, cursed.

Mirabella and Arsinoe have escaped the island of Fennbirn, but how long before the island calls them back?

Jules is returning to Fennbirn and has become the unlikely figurehead of a revolution threatening to topple Katharine’s already unsteady rule.

But what good is a revolution if something is wrong with the island itself?

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I do think this book suffered by being the third book in a four-part series. It had the problem that some sequels do, where it has to move the plot along but it can’t really resolve any plot so you’re just left feeling a little confused and somewhat unsatisfied. I think this book just lacks a lot of the conflict, the scheming and the plotting that the first two books had. The three queens working against one another or people around them doing so was far more exciting than the weird conflicts that popped up in this book.

There are some interesting elements to this story. I think this is probably the darkest book in the series so far, which some readers may enjoy. It also has some of the heaviest ‘fantastical’ elements to it, though the entire series is fantasy from the start. The worldbuilding and the history and mythology of the world are also stretched in a way that it hasn’t been in the previous two books.

All this should perhaps have made this a more exciting book in the series for me, I quite enjoy somewhat darker fantasy books, I like worldbuilding and history and mythology. So why didn’t this book hit the mark for me?

I think it comes down to the characters. I think, over the course of the three books, I’ve come to not like the characters as much as I did in book one. Things that could have been excused as immaturity, or traits to grow out of in book one, are now just a bit painful to read. This is entirely personal preference, but I like to see characters grow and develop through a series (a great example of this is Kellen in Spellslinger) but I don’t feel like these characters have gone very far across three books. I actually care far more about the minor side characters such as Elizabeth and Bree than I do Jules, Arsinoe, Mirabella, or Katherine (who used to be a favourite so that’s sad).

I do think that the conclusion to this series is going to be great, and I do fully intend to read it. I just feel like this was a book that was necessary to move the plot along and didn’t do much else? It felt like moving the pieces into the right places for the epic finale, and I don’t need a whole book for that.

This is still a good series, it has some lovely moments and the core concepts are still ones that interest me, I’m just not that excited about the storyline or the characters in this particular ‘episode’ if you will. I’ll be very interested to hear what everyone else thinks of it, and how the series concludes – though I’ll be waiting until 2019 to find that out!

My rating: 3/5 stars

I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What say you? Will you be reading this book? Let me know in the comments below!

J

 

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