One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake review | Why do the men suck?

Last updated on February 23rd, 2024 at 03:43 pm

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake book review | Why do the men suck?

While One Dark Throne had its moments of intrigue and surprise, my overall experience left me frustrated. Like its predecessor, the sequel struggled to fully captivate me, despite sporadic shock-inducing scenes. It didn’t hit me with that ‘can’t-put-it-down’ feeling, but it did throw in a few surprises.

Initially promising with genuine sisterly rivalry and strategic plotting (compared to the weak attempt from Three Dark Crowns), finally, Katharine is out for bloodshed and vengeance instead of being walked all over. Arsinoe gets to work on her real skills after we discover she is the poisoner queen and not a naturalist at the end of the last book, and Mirabella steps out of her idealistic land and begins strategically thinking about what this year will bring.

However, the narrative soon lost it’s momentum. Characters like Katharine and Arsinoe seemed to grow and then regress right back to where we left off, leaving me raging. And now that I think about it does Mirabella do much in this book? We had some really good chapters dotted throughout, but it wasn’t consistent and overall the book fell flat.

And can we talk about the male characters – Pietyr, Joseph, and newbie Nicolas came across as pathetic toddlers, leaving me frustrated with both them and the female characters tolerating them? Despite Blake’s attempt to justify their actions and make us sympathise, sorry, they’re just plain pitiful and/or are psycho! Maybe the only decent man throughout is Billy.

The plot lacked consistency, and some promising storylines were abandoned (like what really happened to Katharine?!). Also the ending, unfortunately for me, was also underwhelming. Though those last few chapters were some of my favourites, with a lot of moving pieces and scheming going on. 

Overall an improvement from the first book, with more action, an actual plot and sister rivalry and scheming, yet my frustration continued as certain narrative choices left me wanting more. Despite its improvements over the first instalment, One Dark Throne left me torn, glimpses of potential undermined by inconsistent execution. Although I initially considered a higher rating, persistent annoyances and a lacklustre ending led me to settle on a 3. I remain committed to the series because I have such a hard time dropping any, just in case it gets better!

Book rating & bio

Three Star Rating/5

Title: One Dark Throne
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: YA fantasy, magic, dark, sibling rivalry.
My Score: 3.2
Good Reads score: 4.04. View One Dark Throne in Good Reads.
Format: Audio book
11 hours 6 minutes.
Publisher: Bonnier Books UK.
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Buy on: Amazon | Amazon – Kindle edition | Audiobook |  World of Books (physical copy).

The tides are turning once again… But which sister will be the last one standing?

Mirabella’s victory seemed assures, but suddently she faces attacks like never before. 

Katharine, once known as the weakest, is now rumoured to be the most lethal. 

Arsinoe is keeping a secret that could be both her undoing and her best change at victory…

Time is running out, and each sister will stop at nothing to win the throne.

Content warning: Blood descriptions, self-harm (for spells), animal cruelty, assault, gore, violence, murder, and loss.
Spoilers: This review is mostly spoiler-free. I’ve placed all spoilers within an accordion, leaving the choice to you if you fancy reading them.
Disclosure: This blog contains affiliate links, and as an Amazon Associate, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through those links.

November reading wrap up

In this video, I present my November reading wrap-up, where I touch on a variety of books including “Three Dark Crowns” and its sequel “One Dark Throne” by Kendare Blake. I’ll also share insights into “Honey” by Mariel Pomeroy, “Stolen by the Wolves” by Lyx Robinson, and “House of Sky and Breath” by Sarah J. Maas.

Or skip to read my extra thoughts on One Dark Throne’s world-building and forgotten plots.

Extra thoughts on world-building and forgotten plots

Diving into the intricacies of One Dark Throne, let’s talk about the world-building and some plot points that left me scratching my head.

We do get a bit more insight into the past queens, traditions, and the triplet’s mother, which adds some richness to the overall plot. Toward the end of the book, there’s a slight expansion of the world, but it mostly remains the same. There’s untapped potential in exploring the histories of the queens within the Breccia Domain, yet we’re left with only a snippet, leaving us with more questions than answers.

Now, let’s shine a light on some plot points that seemed to be forgotten or were left for us to fill in the blanks.

Questionable plot points

Do not read on if you don’t want to read spoilers! 

Katherine and the Old Queens: We get a glimpse into why Katherine is so chaotic and unhinged, but the details of what happened to her in the Breccia Domain remain elusive. Pietyr’s account provides us with some information, but overall it’s pretty useless.

Madrigal’s Unborn Baby Prophecy: While I anticipate this may be unveiled in the next book, the prophecy’s introduction felt premature, and its subsequent neglect left me with questions. What’s the deal?

Arsinoe’s Poisoner Queen Training: The early hints about Arsinoe’s journey into poison mastery piqued my interest. However, this promising storyline takes a backseat, with Arsinoe’s skill development relegated to a single chapter and then seemingly forgotten until a critical moment later in the book.

Arsinoe Ingesting Poison: The inconsistency in Arsinoe’s recovery from different poison instances caught my attention. She swiftly bounces back from the poison Katherine gives her for a lethal end, but a poison-laced arrow leaves her incapacitated for days. The discrepancy in recovery times was frustrating definitely when they were both meant to kill her (so I’m assuming it’s similar if not the same type of poison!).

One Dark Throne rant

SPOILERS do not read further if you haven’t read the book!!!

Prepare for this section to be rambly and mean lol. 

Katherine and Pietyr

Whyyyyyyy doesn’t Katherine kill Pietyr the moment she sees him again.

Gif of man rubbing templates, rolling eyes and looking stressed

He literally tried to kill you instead of trying to run away and help you. What are you doing?!?!? I was raging. When Pietyr first seeing her and then says

My sweet Katharine, I do love you…

Parks and Recreation scene where Leslie looks angry and shouts no.

I wanted to vom.

And HE LITERALLY ENDS UP WITH HER AT THE END. Why does Blake do this to us?


This man had my eyes rolling more than a bowling ball. I didn’t even get upset when he died, I was like finally (as it was OBVIOUS). I just hate the sympathy he gets and how much his loved even though his quite selfish and holds people back. I swear his only purpose in the book was to be annoying.

This may sound extreme but I’m glad Jules is without him now, as it will be great to have her not be so obsessed over him, loving him one minute, then angry the next.

Final thoughts

While One Dark Throne held potential, these unresolved plot points left me yearning for more cohesion and clarity. Here’s to hoping the next instalment brings the answers and connections we’re craving. If you’re continuing with the series but yet to read One Dark Reign, you can find the book on Amazon!

If you liked this review, read my review of the first book Three Dark Crowns here.

Happy reading!

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*MCs = Main characters, FMC = Female main character, POV = Point of view.

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