Although the story of Five Dark Fates was filled with action and some very remarkable scenes, it couldn´t thrill me as the other books were able to do. Yes, it was wonderful to read again about Arsinoe, Mirabella, Katharine, and Jules but I missed the feeling I had while reading the other volumes of this series. Despite that, the end of this novel was a great yet weird finish to this series. I didn´t expect it the way it happened but it somehow was fitting to the rest of the story.

Der Schwarze Thron-Die Göttin*
by Kendare Blake
Three Dark Crowns Series #4
Translation Charlotte Lungstrass-Kapfer
Original Title Five Dark Fates**
Publisher Penhaligon on March 16, 2020
Genre Fantasy
Pages 491
Format Softcover
Source Publisher

Three dark sisters. Five warlike queens. And a goddess who wants to break them all … The war not only destroyed the island of Fennbirn, but also presented its three queens, the sisters Mirabella, Katharine, and Arsinoe, with terrible challenges. Arsinoe is cursed, and yet she must do everything to stop the threatening fog that threatens to swallow up the island and would end them all. Meanwhile, Mirabella has left to move to Queen Katharine´s court under the banner of peace. Katharine secretly yearns for the bond that unites her two sisters, at the same time she does not want to agree to the ceasefire. But only when the three sisters stand together they can reveal the secret of their bloodthirsty goddess – and enemies become friends, friends become enemies and queens become legends. (personal translation by ©Vi at Inkvotary).
Arsinoe knows that the world of Fennbirn will never be the same. The time of the Queens and all their traditions is over and though the people ask for a new beginning they are also afraid it couldn´t be what they want. But Katharine is not in for changes and her inner goddesses do everything they can to force her to keep everything the way it was. A new war is on the horizon and the Queens know they have to pay the ultimate price to save the island as well as themselves.

Kendare Blake wrote her fourth and last book of the Queens of Fennbirn in a soft and sometimes very cruel and bloody style. And yet there are pages and scenes where I was wondering why they had to be in the book. It felt as if the author needed some stretching material. 

The language is simple, the story sometimes a bit complicated, and though the author answers almost every question a reader could possibly have, in the end, I was not as thrilled about the plot as I had while reading the other books. Sure, there are pages in this novel that show some great scenes and dialogues and make you want to turn the page to see how things will unfold. But on the other hand, there are pages you are very tempted to skip and go on with what is behind them just to see how the story will end. Some things were not logical to me while others made total sense. And the fact, that all Queens, especially Katharine, have changed in a more or less good way, was the only thing that kept me reading.

The figures were not as strong and profound as they have been in the other books of this series. Sure, Arsinoe is still learning about all sorts of poison to help others and her belief in magic helps her do the unimaginable. And Mirabella does what she can to find out what had happened to Katharine but it also becomes very clear to the reader that someone in the story has to pay the ultimate price and that it would happen in a way they all were talking about since volume one. All figures work together, one way or the other, to make things happen but everything happens in a kind of foreseeable way.

Despite that, Mirabella kind of stands out in this novel. She lives and acts under the suspicious eye of Katharine and yet she knows that the Queen tries to gain her trust without being too obvious. In the end, it is not only shocking for the other sisters but also the reader to see how that turns out.

It is sad but this last book of the series was not able to thrill me the way the others did. The story was great, the plot fantastic but there were too many scenes and pages in it that weren´t necessary. At least not in my eyes. But see for yourself. Maybe you like it more.

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 Five Dark Fates by Harper Teen on September 3, 2019 

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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