Two Dark Reigns is a very cruel and bloody novel about sisters who fight for what they want and believe in. But only one of them is the one and only Queen. This was no book you expect after the things happening in part two. Yes, it was a reading pleasure, and yes, I had a wonderful time with it. But some chapters were a bit too long in terms of what happened in them.

Der Schwarze Thron-Die Kriegerin*
by Kendare Blake
Three Dark Crowns Series #3
Translation Charlotte Lungstrass-Kapfer
Original Title Two Dark Reigns**
Publisher Penhaligon* on March 25, 2019
Genre Fantasy
Pages 509
Format Softcover
Source Publisher

Throughout her life, poisoner queen Katharine has been waiting for this: She wears the crown of the island kingdom of Fennbirn. But her reign is cruel and challenged – rumors are coming to her that her sisters are still alive and wanting to overthrow Katharine. In fact, Mirabella and Arsinoe have survived and are hiding on the mainland. But they are not safe: Arsinoe is haunted by terrible dreams. The Blue Queen, a figure from Fennbirn´s legends, urges her to return to the island. Because it is not Katharine, through which the empire threatens to sink – it is the eerie fog off its coast, which brings them all in danger … (personally translated blurb by © Vi at Inkvotary). 
Katharine is in a precarious situation. The dead queens in her blood are demanding new blood and to keep them under control she has to fight their desire every minute of the day. But without them she wouldn´t be the Queen of Fennbirn, so she has no other choice but to reign with them as her inner advisors. A secret she has to hide, no matter what costs. When she finds out, that her other sisters might have survived and are back on the island, she sees no other way but to play all her skills to keep what she calls her own and to protect her people. The only problem: she is not in control of the situation.

Visually absolutely stunning and with a depth that made want more. Yes, there are pages and chapters where the entire story becomes flat and things seem to drift. But the more you read, the more things change. Kendare Blake uses the same language and writing-style she used in her other books in this series. And though I don´t agree with everything that happened in here, in the end, I was again stunned, shocked, and had the wow-effect. Because the last scenes are quite something.

I am still trying to figure out if Katharine is/was a living Dead or simply the result of many years of poison-abuse and the fact that she got out alive of the crevice. One thing is for sure. The mystery factor is high but not as high as in the other two books. The sisters fight each in their own way, and the scene where Jules bound ability breaks through and shows her real destroying power is one of the best scenes of this novel. Yes, it was not easy to watch her suffer afterward, and what had become of Camden, the animal, but the way how the author shows the curse that has now been unleashed, that was quite amazing.

As in the other books, the sisters are not able to do anything other but fight for what they were raised for. They have to deal with something, that never happened before and the secret they are about to unravel is giving all the answers they and the reader had. Only to bring up new questions. I am impressed by how the author has created the sisters and how she shows their characters. The individual abilities, strength, and power they have inside them. 

This novel is cruel, bloody, and at the same time surprisingly uneventful. Don´t get me wrong. There is a lot of action in here, many dead to mourn and a queen who is kind of out of control. But I missed a bit of the feeling and atmosphere I found in the other two books. Despite that, it was still a reading pleasure. And I can´t wait to get my hands on the next book.

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Penhaligon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

**Title was originally published Two Dark Reigns by Harper Teen on April 9, 2018 

Kendare Blake
Kendare Blake ©Shawn H. Nichols Photography

Kendare Blake holds an MA in creative writing from Middlesex University in northern London. She is the author of Anna Dressed in Blood, a Cybils Awards finalist. Her books have been translated into eighteen languages, have been featured in multiple best-of-year lists, and have received many regional and librarian awards. Kendare Blake loves animals of all kinds and is also fascinated by Greek mythology. She lives and writes in Kent, Washington.


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