Whew, this book! It’s so freakin’ intense. It made me want to scream and shake some sense in some people. But you know, it was good, and I cannot even imagine what the fourth and final book will hold for this series!
I reread the first book, Three Dark Crowns (the link is to my initial review; in my reread, I ended up bumping my rating from 3 stars to 3.5), so I could progress in the series when Two Dark Reigns released. But I didn’t read the book as quickly as I thought I would, which meant I was foggy on some details. Fortunately, that didn’t stop me from enjoying this book. This review may contain spoilers for the previous 2 books.
Content warning: self-harm (to use in magic), attempted sexual assault
Title: Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3)
Author: Kendare Blake
Release date: September 4, 2018
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Length: 464 pages (hardback)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “Queen Katharine has waited her entire life to wear the crown. But now that she finally has it, the murmurs of dissent grow louder by the day. There’s also the alarming issue of whether or not her sisters are actually dead—or if they’re waiting in the wings to usurp the throne.
Mirabella and Arsinoe are alive, but in hiding on the mainland and dealing with a nightmare of their own: being visited repeatedly by a specter they think might be the fabled Blue Queen. Though she says nothing, her rotting, bony finger pointing out to sea is clear enough: return to Fennbirn.
Jules, too, is in a strange place—in disguise. And her only confidants, a war-gifted girl named Emilia and her oracle friend Mathilde, are urging her to take on a role she can’t imagine filling: a legion-cursed queen who will lead a rebel army to Katharine’s doorstep.
This is an uprising that the mysterious Blue Queen may have more to do with than anyone could have guessed—or expected.”
Um, excuse me, but what the heck happened in this book? Often times, books with multiple POVs can be confusing. There’s a tendency to not be fully invested in the characters because we don’t really get to know them. That isn’t the case here, and that’s not just because this is the third book in the series. Everything that happened to Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Billy while they’re away from Fennbirn pushes the story further and reveals so much about the myth and folklore surrounding the queens and the island itself. And when some major plot points are revealed, you’re sort of just like…
Okay, maybe I was the only one? But wow, does it change everything!
Can I just say that I’m super confused about Katharine? After what Pietyr did to her in book 1, I can’t believe that she continually chose him and loves him. Like… what? In this book, she’s reverted back to the same person she was in book 1. I didn’t like her at all in book 2, and I know she’s trying but it becomes almost…pitiful. As for Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Jules… I’m just in love. I love the growing sisterly relationship between Mira and Arisonoe. I loved the friendship between Arsinoe and Jules. And I specifically remember not caring much for Billy when I read book 1, but wow, okay, he’s just a nice boy and he really did grow on me. I want to punch Pietyr in the face though. I don’t necessarily think he deserved what happened to him in this book. I’m definitely interested to see how it will effect Katharine because I just have this feeling she may not make it to the end of the series…
There’s really nothing bad to say here. The fact that we leave Fennbirn and see what “mainlanders” think about the island and the lore around it was fun to read. I mean, I’m all about an island ruled by only women (even if they have to fight to the death for the crown). Also, this book is dark. I mean, we sort of knew that right, but each book gets darker and with all the dead bodies in this book, sometimes it can get a bit queasy. This is the first series I’ve read by Blake, but I appreciate her intricate plot and ability to create varying emotions as we follow each of the women in this story.
I listened to this book as an audiobook, and I enjoyed the narrator a lot!
You can check out these other reviews:
- Alexia at The Bookworm Daydreamer enjoyed the book but was also disappointed.
- Emily of Emily Talks Books recommends this series to fans of dark and high fantasy.
- This wasn’t isn’t necessarily a review, but I thought Anna’s theories about how the series might end was pretty cool to read!