A Spoiler-Filled Discussion of Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Posted September 23, 2016 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Let's Discuss, Spoiler-Filled Discussion / 210 Comments


NOTE: In case you missed the title of this post, BE WARNED NOW THAT IT WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS! If you want my non-spoilery thoughts on this book, check out my review instead! Only read this post if you have already read the book and don’t mind reading some of my guesses about what might still happen in future books – or if you’re one of those crazy readers who likes to be spoiled. I won’t judge.  🙂

One other note: If you’ve already read the other books in this series as well, once you’re done reading this post, head over to my spoiler-filled discussions of One Dark Throne, “The Young Queen” and “The Oracle Queen” and Two Dark Reigns and give me your thoughts!

Now onto the good stuff…

I just finished reading Three Dark Crowns last night (I’m writing this at the beginning of August), and I spent the whole night laying there, unable to sleep because so many thoughts were spinning around in my head. For the first time ever, I felt compelled to write a spoilery post about a book where I just talk about all of my thoughts and feelings. I hope this doesn’t come out too stream of consciousness, but here we go …


My theory – Did anyone else think that Jules was going to turn out to be the true naturalist queen? I’m still convinced it’s going to happen in a future book. There were so many hints being dropped – the fact that she doesn’t look like her mother or her aunt and she was a Beltane baby, just like the triplets. And then, of course, there’s the fact that she’s the strongest naturalist in such a long time. I kept waiting for it to be revealed that Arsinoe and Jules had been switched at birth! (For instance, I thought for sure that Jules was going to try to go on the boat with Joseph and that the mist wouldn’t let her go … or that Arsinoe was going to make it off the island … of course, neither of those things happened!)

Problems with my theory – There are still some aspects to my theory that don’t make complete sense. For instance, even though everyone makes a point of saying she doesn’t look like anyone else in her family, they never say she looks like the queens either. Supposedly, the triplet queens always have black hair and eyes, and Jules has one blue eye and one green. But maybe something is done to the babies to give them black hair and eyes?

Some other ideas to throw around – Obviously, Jules is very important to the overall story, but is she actually a queen? Since we discovered at the end of the book that Arsinoe is actually a poisoner (which completely and utterly shocked me, by the way!), maybe Katharine and Jules were switched at birth? Or will we find out that Katharine is actually a naturalist and just hasn’t figured it out yet? (This seems less likely to me, but I could very well be wrong!)

Oh, and if Jules and Katharine were switched, then that would mean Jules and Arsinoe would have to try to kill each other!!!


My problem – I was so conflicted about Joseph!! I mean, I loved him at the beginning of the book, but then I kind of hated him for cheating on Jules so easily. And then he was all sorry, and I just wanted to scream at him that he can’t have it both ways. The only reason I can stand the guy is because I keep telling myself that it’s actually Arsinoe’s spell that caused him to sleep with Mirabella. (Can I use that excuse for Mirabella too? Because the fact that she slept with the guy without ever having spoken to him is kind of weird.) If he’s truly under a spell, he can’t control his actions, right? So, this would explain why he’s acting so out of character and why he is incredibly in love with Jules but then can’t seem to help himself when Mirabella is nearby. PLEASE tell me this spell will be broken!! (And, in the meantime, Jules should not keep forgiving him – after all, she doesn’t even know about the spell, so why does she keep giving the cheater second chances?!)


Are you kidding me?! – I was completely shocked and appalled when Pietyr threw Katharine off the cliff!!!! Was anyone expecting that? I mean, did anyone out there guess that he was up to no good? (Beyond possibly seducing Katharine for his own gain.) I think he actually loved Katharine, so who do you think he’s working for and why did he do it? And if he really wanted her dead, why didn’t he just hope the priestesses would chop her up into little pieces like they planned? Why would he want to kill her himself? I have so many questions about Pietyr!!

The Sisters

So now that all of the sisters hate each other and want revenge, what do you think will happen? Will any of the sisters actually die? Will poor Katharine discover a gift, or is she giftless?

What did you think of this book? Did you have a million questions running through your mind like I did? I want to know!!

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210 responses to “A Spoiler-Filled Discussion of Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

  1. OKAY so many thought! I DON’T think Pietyr did it maliciously! I think (and I may be wayyy off base here!) that he did it because either he knew she’d survive, OR he did it because he couldn’t bear to see her killed in some horrific way and thought this would be better? But my money is on the former.

    And Jules, YES! I was shocked about Arsinoe too- Idk what Katharine’s deal is- but Jules… there is WAY more to her story than we know, for sure. I liked her a LOT, so this makes me happy.

    Joseph… UGH. I don’t know WHAT to make of him. Because like… I DID feel chemistry between him and Mirabella. And I didn’t hate her, even though I kind of wanted to- in fact, I really liked her! BUT I LOOOVE Jules. SO Joseph has made me angry, obviously. I just want her to kick him to the curb!

    Could they be quadruplets? Maybe that is the thing that is happening. Maybe Katharine’s gift is something else- something EPIC. That will blow everyone’s mind. I don’t know if any of them are going to die… but I do not think they will kill each other, if that makes sense. I think they’re going to go after others, because at some point, they will realize they are not actually each other’s enemies 😀

    LOVE THIS I am so glad you posted it! I am trying to organize my thoughts to write a review for Monday, and this helps me get back in that headspace 😉

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    • QUADRUPLETS!!!! I LOVE that theory! I never even thought of that, but it would be completely awesome and it makes a lot of sense. Maybe you’re right that Pietyr knew Katharine would survive—maybe her epic ability is the ability to fall off cliffs and not die and he knew about it! You just never know! (Okay, we probably do know—that is not a particularly intelligent prediction. But I’m all out of intelligence for now.)

      If they ARE quadruplets and the four of them banded together, they could totally destroy anyone in their way—who knows? It could happen.

      • Elizabeth Earls

        Boy I’m super late but the quadruplet theory actually has its own story (which was mentioned along with the white-handed queen when Luca and Rho were discussing Mirabella’s options). Apparently, when quadruplets queens are born, the 4th baby instantly becomes queen and is considered to be very sacred. When this happens, it’s called a “Blue Queen.” So that contradicts the theory, but then there is the possibility that their mother had quadruplets and then somehow changed Jules’ appearance and only announced that three babies had been born so they wouldn’t be drowned. That would also explain why Madrigal is so distant from Jules- since she may not be her real mother. Additionally, though, there is the possibility that Madrigal used low magic with Arsinoe with the intention of killing her so that Jules could emerge as queen- and if not out of love for Jules, for the prestige of somehow being close to the future queen. I mean, from the way that Madrigal’s use of Arsinoe’s food is described, you can tell that she giving her paper cuts- she’s literally slicing deep into her arms. Also- I believe that Aunt Caragh’s story will be further detailed in the next book, and that we will likely actually meet her as she becomes involved in the story.

        Well that’s a mouthful! Once I start thinking about these theories, I just fall head over heels down a rabbit hole of potential outcomes 🙂

      • Ura

        I was thinking, maybe Katharine is actually the war gift. Because you’d think a warrior is very brave and strong. Katharine survived being poisoned though with the Arsinoe thing, there’s a chance that she’s not a poisoner at all. This means she’s pretty resilient. She also survived a fall all the way down, probably saw a few skeletons, and clawed her way back up. I think there’s a chance that Katharine might not be the poisoner we thought she was.

      • L

        It talks about that in the book about quadruplets and they said one of them normally gets killed or something, can’t remember exactly.

    • Samantha

      I’m convinced Katherine is the gift of sight. If I’m not mistaken there are 5 gifts, poisoner, elemental, natyralist, sight and war (or was it warrior). If I remember correctly the last 2 are rare and ones with sight usually go “mad”. But I need to learn more about Katherine now, I think she survived the fall because she’s either got the gift of sight or war. Either way I REALLY want these sisters to band together and rule as one.

      • Frosty

        I don’t know if you’re still running this website and using it, but after like 5 years of this book never being in my head it came back up and I read some synopsis/reviews cause I remember not liking the book much but I just wanted to see what happened with the poisoner girl. I saw a couple reviews and it astounds me people didn’t like kat when she was the most real of all the sisters in book 1 tbh. After reading a few synopsis’s I was disappointed the direction the author took with the possession route, Katherine being cut throat would be in character for he development, but saying it’s the dead queens possessing her felt cheap and ruins the (imo) only good well written sister and washes her hands of any responsibility for things she did. Anyway stumbled back onto this page by chance and felt the urge to write this down.

        • I’m still here! In fact, I just came back to this post because I reread (technically, listened to) the first book and wanted to remember all the theories that I (and other people) had posted here. I get where you’re coming from about Kat, but her character definitely takes us for a wild ride throughout the series!

    • Bree

      I think Katherine is a naturalist, she had a bond with her coral snake she developed since she was a child and potentially made her familiar without knowing I find I likely that her and arisnoe were just switched for some reason also she’s good with poisoning maybe because naturalist have and affinity foe plants and most of the poisons we plants

    • Veronica

      I think that since there is the mention of poisoners being healers and Katherine is good at making poison, so maybe she’s meant to be a healer.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, I am really confused about why Pietyr did it, because he seemed to be telling the truth about his feelings, and I have considered that he did it so Katharine could survive and possibly escape, but I don’t see how it would have helped her.

      I think that Arsinoe and Katharine were definitely just switched, and Katharine’s familiar was her snake that she adored and could control, “Sweetheart”. And while Katharine may not be as powerful as Jules is, not every extremely gifted person has to be one of the royal triplets.

      Honestly, I think that Joseph and Mirabella are a better couple than Joseph and Jules. Obviously some people will disagree, but I think they had chemistry and Mirabella is my favourite queen out of the three of them, and at times seems like the only one with any compassion. I think that Joseph and Jules is such an obvious and simple relationship outcome, with them being happy and together forever and that sort of stuff. Also, Joseph was away for a long time, and he did change. I think that the first time may have been partially because of the spell, however he admitted that he enjoyed it, and later on I think it was pure attraction, unrelated to any spell.

    • Scarlet Arron

      Am I the only one who hates mirabella….? Cause like I tried forcing myself to like her but I just can’t… And Joseph….. WHYYYYYYY LIKE I WOULD UNDERSTAND IF IT WAS WITH KATHARINE (ok maybe I wouldn’t idk….. Maybe I would…. Yeah I probably would……) BUT MIRABELLA?!?!?!?!?! AND THAT DANCE THING! WAY TO MAKE A GIRL JEALOUS LIKE YOU LOVE JULES THEN WHY DID YOU DO THAT THEN YOU BLAME HER FOR LOSING CONTROL THEN YOU DESIDE TO JUST OPENLY KISS MIRABELLA (I know not in the lips but still) WHEN YOU KNOW JULES WAS THERE LIKE UGHHHHH!!! Katharine is my favorite. Why did u like kick her out like that…? And I’m thinking she isn’t a poisoner…. Maybe a naturalist cause seriously that thing with sweetheart and stuff. But maybe I’m wrong… Idk….

    • Mia

      I just finished 3 dark crowns, and maybe I’m a bit late, but I just wanted to share the theory that Sweetheart is Katherine’s famillar, and it was Katherine and Arsinoe that were switched. Sweetheart has no point in the story otherwise…

  2. Marian

    I’ve only read the released free 5 chapters so far, but playing into the quadruplets theory, could Katherine have the war/battle power they keep mentioning?

  3. Okay, so the Arsinoe being a poisoner thing TOTALLY blew my mind!!! I also thought that somehow Jules must be the true naturalist, and wondered if maybe Katharine would then have different gifts? The thing with Pietyr killed me. I did not see it coming. I hope he knew she wouldn’t die. Maybe he knew that, but knew that pushing her in there would help her get the anger/passion she needed in order to fight her sisters. I love the idea above from Shannon that maybe there were quadruplets? I really feel like Jules has to be one of the queens somehow. And I’m so irritated with Joseph. But I never thought about the spell thing, that is entirely possible what is going on. I don’t know if I can wait for book 2!!!!

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  4. Amanda

    I think Jules is the 4th sister and there could have been a blue queen. I just really can’t wait to find out. And find out about Katherine and if she is the war queen or something new and different.

  5. Liana

    Remember how tame Sweetheart was? I think Kat is the naturalist, and somehow the families picked up the babies. It’s in the names too: Arsinoe sounds like arsenic, and Kat like cat.

    It’ll be interesting to see if Kat and Arsinoe’s real gifts are as strong as Mirabella’s.

  6. Liana

    I’m also very interested in the Sight Queens being killed at birth because they’re “mad”. I think that’s a lie – I think the power brokers of the island (Arrons, Temple, etc) use the girls as some sort of sacrifice to keep magic going. That’s why the mainland has no magic. The Sight Queen would know the truth – that the “Queens” are just lambs to the slaughter – and rebel, so they’re dispatched at birth.

    • Anna

      This is the best theory ever!! It would also be such a game changer because I have always thought if the 3 queens are so gifted why not band together and rule over everyone. It sucks that they are just pawns of the strong houses and factions. They HAVE to realise this and rebel together.

  7. Annaka

    I feel like maybe Kat might have the sight gift? It was so overlooked during the series and it could very well be possible since we know that Arsinoe was labelled with the wrong power so why not Kat? Also, I feel like Pietyr loved Katharine but didn’t want to see her brutally murdered since he did’t believe she could make it through the accession year.

      • Anna

        I thought that part at the end with Pietyr and Kat was kinda of a Romeo Juliet style. He obviously believed the priestesses went through. She was only told to run at first sign of trouble. He must be racked with guilty. An alternative I thought of was that he may have been bought by the temple to kill Kat for a guaranteed seat on the Black Council. This cliff hanger (no pun intended) is what Im most interested in unfolding in the next book.

  8. Nikki

    Arsinoe’s dream of meeting her familiar, a bear framed by flames sounds a lot like what actually happened when Jules lost control of the bear at the ceremony. I think Arsinoe is the one with the gift of sight.
    We were never given as much sympathy for Katharine as the other girls, we don’t really get in her head and see her emotion as much. I think she will be the antagonist in future books.

  9. Natalie

    I thought Katherine might be revealed to be the naturalist. She was pushed into a ravine and we see her covered in dirt and earthy materials yet somehow she thrived and made it out alive. Also, I thought Sweetheart was her familiar;the snake she bonded with which never bit her yet the other snake trained the same immediately did. Maybe the priestesses intentionally switched them at birth to gain control and give the elemental a an advantage while the other queens would look powerless.

  10. Ellie

    I really hated Mirabella she just seemed a bit whiny and ‘better than everyone else’. Joseph was the worst though! He messed everything up and Jules just continued to forgive him, and it was his fault that she lost control of the bear! I really liked Madrigal in the wolf springs storyline, and I really started to like Arsinoe as a character when she related with Madrigal about being less talented than Jules. Katharine was my favourite, but it felt like she was barely in the book. Her story was far more interesting to me than either Mirabella or Arsinoe’s and the characters associated with her were just way more compelling and less of a trope-filled drama. If it turns out that she’s either not a queen, or is just far less powerful than her sisters I won’t be impressed. I like the quadruplet theory though, I just hope that Kat has either the war gift or the gift of sight; that would be far more interesting and perhaps she’d actually get an equal amount of book-time.

    • Scarlet Arron

      I KNOW RIGHT FINALLY SOMEONE AGREES I seriously love Katharines story and I’m FURIOUS at Joseph for doing that cause like if ur gonna sleep around make sure your not IN LOVE with someone else ESPECIALLY Jules cause I love Jules. AND WITH MIRABELLA?!?!?!?! Like not only did you hurt Jules but also arsinoe cause like SHES GONNA HAVE TO KILL HER ONLY ONE WILL LIVE AND YOU WANT MIRABELLA TO??!?! WHEN SHE WAS UR FRIEND?!??! To be honest I never liked mirabella… Cause she just saved him and slept with him and just because of his “eyes like a storm”. Though I want to like her I’m FORCING myself to like her cause like she still loves her sisters it isn’t really her fault that the bear went for her and stuff BUT I CANT I JUST HATE HER am I the only one who feels this way…..? And don’t gat me started with Katharine…. She’s my favorite and I’m disappointed that she was mentioned only a few times. And that ending when he just did that I was like “wait what did I read that properly or am I just too sleepy for my own good…. OH SHI* HE REALLY DID IT” like he loves her. I won’t let myself think of anything else. He loves her. He did it cause he thought dying after being in his arms would be better than by the priestess or her sisters…. Right?….

  11. OK, this book was infuriating! I don’t understand how anyone could ever root for or ship Joseph and Mirabella. I’ve never read a worse case of insta-love or a YA book in which the romance begins with sex and then develops into love after no time at all. I mean, there’s the trope of couples pretending to be together for a silly reason and then who grow into their feelings, but this device makes no sense to me. And it really upset me that Joseph continued to have sex or make out with Mirabella but only confessed to the initial time, which is the only one that was even somewhat possibly justifiable. The time that upset me the most was at the hunt, just minutes after asking Jules to place her handprint on his heart. What the hell is wrong with him?

    You mention the spell that Arsinoe thought she had accidentally cast instead of getting rid of, but do we have an idea what that spell was meant to do? I want to search for it, but I read via audiobook and can’t figure out how to do that. Anyhow, I almost threw the book across the room when Joseph not only stood in front of Mirabella, which fine, that was brave, but then he continued to kiss her after she was saved. And now, what, we’re supposed to believe that because Jules nearly died he’s back to loving her again?

    The only ship I truly root for is Arsinoe and Billy. Although I too believe that Pietyr felt he was mercy killing Katherine rather than subjecting her to the horrors of the priestesses’ dismemberment plan, I don’t know how or if he’ll get a chance to explain himself now that she’s back from the “dead” and out for revenge. Anyhow, thanks for this post, as I had so many feelings that I needed process.

    • The implication was that since Arsinoe broke the love spell between Jules and Joseph, she was actually magically doing their relationship harm. I believe that Jules’s mother even pretty much said as much when it happened. (But I don’t have the book with me, so I can’t look at it right now–if I can manage it, I’ll look it up later!) I’m fairly certain that this is what was supposed to be happening and that Joseph’s actions were caused by the spell. I think that he truly cared for Jules, but that the spell was pulling him apart from her, which would explain why even he seems baffled by his own actions and emotions. I’d like to blame the spell on Mirabella’s behalf too–not sure about that.

      BUT I still get why Joseph’s actions are infuriating and I was really frustrated with Jules for continuously forgiving him! Even though I was fairly certain he was acting because of the spell, I thought she should kick him to the curb!

      • norah

        But is it possible to have more than one gift. Arsinoe. She ate the poisoned sweet and had a dream about the bear with fire. And maybe because I’m biased perhaps Arsinoe does have the war gift, we don’t actually know what the gift actually encompasses other than the connotations we have about the word war.idk. for Katherine I felt bad for her at first but she also has blood on her hands and her share of dark thoughts, it was hard to humanize her.

      • Stacey

        Is it not possible that as Arsinoe threw the spell into the fire she forever tied jules and Joseph to the elemental embodiment of fire, Mirabella? We know she was closely linked with fire (performing it at Belatobe) and could possibly make sense?

  12. Snowy

    I thought Katherine would turn out to be a naturalist now that we know Arsinoe is a poisoner, because naturalists have familiars and Katherine had Sweetheart.

  13. Maureen

    I just finished this book, and after reading all these wonderful comments I had to contribute my thoughts! As the war power and psychic/sight power were both very briefly explained, though rather often mentioned, I think it makes sense for Kat to possibly have one of those gifts. I guess she could also be a naturalist, though I think she would have realized sweetheart had been replaced and that the second snake would have been nicer to her. Quite honestly I think she would know if she had the sight, and I don’t think it would have helped her from falling over the cliff. And pietyr! At first I thought it could be a mercy killing, but they had already escaped the immediate threat for the time being, and I think it would have made more sense for them to run away together. Because of that, it seems like the only options would be that he’s working for someone (possibly his parents or Genevieve?) or he knew Kat’s true power (whatever it might be), though if the latter is the case it seems odd that he apologized.

    • I was actually trying to remember that about Sweetheart—I was thinking that Sweetheart had been replaced and she didn’t notice, but it’s been awhile since I read the book, and I thought maybe I was making that detail up! 🙂

      I agree that the fact that Pietyr waited until Kat was safe to kill her seems to rule out a mercy killing. I’m guessing he’s working for someone. The idea that he knows her true power is the most intriguing one!

      • Sonia Rodriguez

        I think Pietyr knew or suspected of Kat’s real power. He threw her off the cliff to kindle the war power.
        At first I suspected that sweetheart may have been her familiar, but if that was the case, she would have noticed the switch.
        I also think Jules is a fourth queen. The naturalist.
        The queen girl’s mother may have schemed to save them all from their expected fate. She gave Jules to a woman who can perform low magic, and Madrigal put a spell on Jules to change her appearance, hence the one blue eye and one green eye.
        I think the priestesses manipulate to only have one queen for their own benefit and I think all 4 queens can reign

        • Kira miyuki

          I think it’s reaching to label Jules a queen, she has dark brown hair and blue and green eyes, in one chapter it says her mother “remembered having her” queen babies have to come from a queen and madrigal is no queen. Jules is just really powerful. Also the way that Kat reacts to a new snake, and the way she is always noticing the lack of life in the Aaron estate, makes me think she’s rather aware of nature but being eased so separate from it has prevented her gift from growing.

          Also,her skill in mixing poisons which mostly come from PLANTS. I do I need think she’s a naturalist… but I’m waiting for the 2nd book in the mail and know I’m late to the party. ^_^

    • Miranda

      I am starting to think the Kat has the War gift. Thinking back to when she helped to execute the boy in the prison. She had talked to him and there after decided the best way for him to die, by sitting with Natalia and talking about his family drinking and sleeping to his death. Natalia was even surprised by her choice of execution… I wonder if this will tie into her ability to punish and kill with the war gift. Also she has a pretty even keeled unemotional way about her, like she can be ruthless or fair with swift have decision making.

      • Rebecca L Martin

        I think Kat has the War gift too. I think that after being poisoned for most of her life that she was too weak to develop her gift. However, I think pietyr knew she had the War gift. After meeting her he immediately shifted away from poisoning techniques because he knew they wouldn’t work. Instead he worked on building her strength back up. He only fed her foods either without poison or with ones that she had grown immune to. She started blossoming during that time. I think that he was bidding his time waiting for her to develop her gift. Once beltane came and she hadnt I think he pushed her off the cliff in a last stitch effort for her to develop it. He knew she wouldn’t survive if she didn’t start showing her gift. I think the anger at her sisters, her mentors for poisoning her and torturing her her whole life, and at pietyr for trying to “kill her” pushed her over the edge metaphorically. That’s how she got out of the cavern and why she was so unbelievably pissed at the end. She said she wanted revenge. Boom. War gift.

  14. Sarah

    I’m not done with it yet, but I wanted to know what would happen with Jules and Joseph!!
    I keep waiting for that accidental anti-love charm to do something, so thank you for letting me know that it does eventually!
    I very much like the theories that Kat has the war gift and Jules is the true naturalist along with the quadruplets/causing rebellion theory. Where I am now, I feel like Petyr is wearing a flashing sign on his head that says “I have ulterior motives” so I’m also for him trying to kill her in purpose.

  15. Jane

    I’m a little late to the party but I have some ideas…

    I just finished the book and I suspected that Arsinoe and Kat had been sent to the wrong mentors pretty much from the moment we met Arsinoe and she couldn’t bloom a bud, I never believed that the girls had no gifts, just that they had been sent to the wrong places so their gifts had not been developed or discovered because their fosters were constantly looking to make them something that they are not. From their temperaments and personalities to their descriptions I just thought “These girls are like seeds that have been planted in a desert.”. Just like plants can only thrive in the right environment, it makes sense this would also be true with people.

    The fact that Arsinoe’s personality is particularly rough and her constant hunger is consistently mentioned gave away that she is a poisoner. Even the dialogue during the Gave Noir is telling. The response the queen always has to give to the question of whether she is hungry is “I’m ravenous”, which seems forced coming from Kat but I believe would be the actual, honest answer that Arsinoe would give to the same question. Even in Mirabella’s memories, she remembers Arsinoe had been in the berries, “again”. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were poisonous berries.

    I believe that Kat has the war gift (If she has any gift at all) because she is so wonderful at poisoning, and because there is already a very powerful naturalist in the story. Her natural ability with poisons could come as a result of her being a naturalist, and her sweet personality could speak to that, too, but I actually believe she’s not wild enough to be a naturalist. Her war gift hasn’t been discovered or blossomed because she has spent the past decade sick and poisoned. She never had the strength or support to blossom.

    I also believe that their ill placement is what causes them to be considered “unattractive” or “homely”. It makes sense that Arsinoe would be born “Weak” because poisoners actually consume poisons as part of their nourishment, it makes them strong. I would imagine the queen did not consume poisons during her pregnancy. I assume poisons would bring out the best in a poisoner. Just as it stunts the growth and ruins the skin and hair of one who does not possess the poisoner gift, as happened to Kat. I believe that not consuming poison leaves the poisoner undernourished.

    Mirabella’s strength, confidence and beauty come from growing up in the right place. Mirabella even remembers Kat’s hair being beautiful, soft and shiny. I believe she is also blessed with the gift of sight.

    I also have a theory about Jules and why she is important. I don’t believe she is a fourth twin but I DO believe that she is a sister. Madrigal does not remember who Jules’ father is, and confirmed that she conceived during Beltane. The King-Consort would have been there. Or whoever the real father of the triplets is, if not the king-consort.

    Honestly, I am a little disappointed in the story. I am disappointed that so many adults would so openly gossip about children and simultaneously be so damn ignorant to something so obvious. What they have done to those girls is child abuse. If you get a girl and she does not thrive on poison, maybe it’s not that she has no gift or is weak… maybe she is just NOT A DAMN POISONER. Kat has spent her entire life sick and suffering. Same with Arsinoe, a girl who calls her familiar and never has it come to her should maybe be led to explore other possible gifts. Her personality is too strong to just leave her out in the cold and Madrigal teach her low magic to compensate. I am bothered most by the mistreatment of them in general.

    The queens are treated like pawns, property and orphans. They are lied to often and kept in the dark. I actually believe that queens with the sight gift are not actually prone to madness, I believe they are eliminated because they can see the truth about those who would seek to control them and hold on to their memories as Mirabella has done, and as a result refuse to be controlled and kill their sisters.

    I would like to see the story turn into cold rebellion by the sisters.

    • Jane

      Oh, and I believe that Peityr’s attempted murder was meant to be a mercy killing because he couldn’t bear to see her cut to pieces by the priestesses and he felt they wouldn’t be able to protect her. He never asked her what went wrong, he just assumed it was the priestesses. I also believe that his attempt to spare her will obviously be viewed as a betrayal by her and will awaken her to her real gift… the war gift. She climbed out of that hole by sheer will. Which is the way powerful war queens were described when we were introduced to Queen Emmeline, there was a time when powerful war queens could move objects by sheer will. I believe that Kat’s will is strong, which is how she has survived all those years with poisoners but she never had the strength to get beyong just survival.

    • Jane

      Also, Joseph with Mirabella… The charm that Arsinoe destroyed was a piece of Joseph’s clothing, wound with Jules’s hair and black satin ribbon and bound with Arsinoe’s blood… Which is Mirabella’s blood… Which she destroyed by throwing into fire. The magin bound Joseph to her blood by fire, which is probably why he ended up with Mirabella, begging her to warm him up. And she couldn’t help but “Set them both on fire”.

    • You noticed a LOT of details when you read the book. I’m impressed! Sorry you didn’t love it. I agree that the queens are treated horribly, but I think that’s part of the story—we’re supposed to feel sorry for them because of the way they are overlooked and used. I agree that a rebellion would be a fantastic end to the story!!

    • kerry

      Oh, did not think about how poisoners may need poison to thrive and that’s why they won’t eat anything untainted and that’s why two of the three sisters are not beautiful like their sister.!! If Kat is a naturalist she has been kept isolated in the poisoners castle and away from all animals and nature but Sweetheart. If she has the war gift she has been kept weak (however, the implication that the historical strong war queen threw weapons like arrows and spears with her mind and Kat doesn’t seem to have anything like that. I like the idea that the sight girls are destroyed because the ones in control fear their knowledge (and why is there no “sight” city to speak up for these girls – war is rare too but they have a city) One other think that was interesting is the white handed queen who has two sisters with the sight – which means that one gift can occur in more than one sister. Can more than one gift be in a single sister (Mirabella does have interesting dreams) I think we would have seen some evidence of sight in Kat if it was her but we know too little about how that works. Oh, one last thing: when Mirabella is dreaming: the three girls are talking about ways to unite instead of being separated and Mirabella was going to rebel and swoop them up with air and Arsino said “no that won’t work: we’ll have to think of something else.” Could their new plan have failed somehow to have led to the swap? Love this book!

    • Katie Chambers

      Sorry I’m late, but I just finished reading today and believe me, it is as if you have read my mind! I always thought that it was a little strange that mirabella was the only one who remembered muc of their childhood, and it would make sense if she had multiple gifts. As for Katherine and Arsinoe, totally agree. i also think that it makes sense considering arsinoe sounds very similar to arsenic. Still not so sure about Jules, I mean, maybe she is just a random person who happens to have a strong ability.

    • Kira miyuki

      Oh, thank God I had the same reading experience, although i believe Kat is a naturalist because the books say “the queen knows what she has, then leaves”, i rhink they simply got switched. But I caught onto it in the first chapter with Kat, poor girl obviously didn’t fit in with those rigid people.

      And YES JULES CANNOT BE A QUEEN. ^_^ thank you.

  16. Raegan Callahan

    I literally just finished the book and am so excited for the second!

    My theory is that Katharine is a war and naturalist queen (Because of Sweetheart). I think Jules is the blue queen (It wouldn’t have been mentioned if it wasn’t going to be significant at some point) and I also believe Arsinoe also has the gift of sight.

    I think Katharine is the war and Naturalist queen because of Sweetheart which could have been her familiar and because of her brutality.

    I think Jules is the true Blue Queen and Naturalist obviously because of her strong powers. She wouldn’t be that strong for no reason. I think if Katharine is the naturalist and war queen then Jules powers would be amplifed because Katharine was getting stronger throughout the book.

    Also, obviously, Arsinoe is a poisoner buuuut she may also have sight. I think that because of her vision of the bear that actually ended up mauling her. She believed the dream to be so vivid that she thought it was true.

    Either way, I can’t wait for the next book!!!

    • I’m really loving reading everybody’s thoughts right after they’ve read the book—I never reread, but I actually think that before the next book comes out, I’m going to reread all of these comments and then reread the book to see what other clues I can pick up. 🙂

  17. Arsinoe as a poisoner definitely threw me! And I liked Jules- your theory is very interesting. There’s something definitely going on with her an this uber powerful naturalist. And I loved her cat! The whole Joseph thing was really sad- I mean I actually liked Mirabella in this story, i thought she had a good heart, but when he got shipwrecked and she was going to “warm” him lol I thought, oh no. Here we go. and sure enough…

    I thought Billy was a nice guy. Rather unlike his dad… I really liked the easy friendship they had- Arsinoe, Jules, Joseph and Billy. Same with Mirabella and her two attendants… I agree about Pietry, I wanted to like him but he was using her for his own pruposes and then to throw her in. I’m not sure but he seems too cavalier to me.

    Someone mentioned that the girls are just pawns and I think we’ll see the three (or the ones that survive) have to take everyone else on. Katherine as a naturalist is a very interesting theory and I’d love to see it. I think Jane’s comment above has a lot going for it, especially KAt. I think she might be totally right.

    • Okay, I have to confess that I’m drawing a complete blank on Billy. He wasn’t romantically linked to Arsinoe, was he? I just wrote in another reply (and this reinforces) that I think I’m actually going to REREAD this book right before the next one comes out. First I’ll read all of these comments and predictions and then reread the book, looking ofr more hints. 🙂 Probably. At least that’s the plan (I’m horrible at rereading—I almost never manage it.)

  18. lovetheice

    I believe that Kathrine is the true naturalist and that she was just witched with Arsinoe, because remember Katherine’s snake(sweetheart). I think that sweetheart was her naturalist connected animal.

  19. Nora

    I loved Katherine so much, she was just so fab, and that one line where she is sitting with Peiytr and then she just out of the blue laughs and Peiytrs like “why are you laughing” and she’s just like “Oh, I was thinking about how easy it will be to kill Arsinoe” Honestly that was my favorite part of the book. OML and when she was like “I want revenge, and then I want my crown” THAT LINE WAS THE BEST. I kind of hate Mirabella though.

  20. Chelsea

    AAAA I just finished this book and it was ONE HECK OF A RIDE… After reading all the comments(which was also one heck of a ride, so many theories), I have a couple theories of my own.

    I don’t think Jules is the fourth sister, but it’s an interesting thought. The idea that she could be related through Camille’s king-consort is definitely possible, I think. It would make more sense, and I doubt Kendare Blake would throw something like a Blue Queen at us.

    I don’t think people can have more than two abilities, but it hasn’t been confirmed. It’s definitely a possibility. It might make sense for Arsinoe to have both the poisoner gift and the sight gift, since she had the dream about the bear. And nobody would know about it, sinceher poisoner gift would overrule it(I think).

    Mirabella was easily my least favorite character, but I did like that she was expected to win the Quickening but did not want to kill her sisters. I lost all sympathy for her when the Joseph incident went down, but I don’t hate her completely. I shipped her with Elizabeth, to be honest. Poor Elizabeth, she lost a hand so her queen could escape and Mirabella didn’t even make it.

    Now, on to Katharine. She was my favorite from the moment I read the summary on the jacket of the book. I think she’ll most likely have the naturalist gift, but I sincerely hope not, since Sweetheart would be her familiar and Sweetheart is… well… dead. But I went back to Chapter One and it says that Natalia always told Latharine that Sweetheart was not a pet, and in one of Jules’s chapters we see that familiars are not pets. I hope Katharine has the war gift. She doesn’t have the sight gift because then she could’ve seen Pietyr about to push her down, unlike when Arsinoe dreamt about the bear. I think she has the war gift, but it kicked in very late. In the beginning, Kat was so timid and quiet, but she grew into a determined woman. My theory is that when Pietyr pushed her, she didn’t fall because her gift caught her. I remember Luca saying that war queens were so strong that they could levitate things with their minds, so Kat caught herself and climbed back up. The last chapter from Natalia’s point of view, though… I think when Kat says she wants revenge, she means on Pietyr. She doesn’t love him anymore(at least that’s what I think. Could you really love someone who tried to kill you?).

    Lastly, Pietyr. Oh, I loved him, and then he turned into a slime ball. I think he had good intentions, as most people do; he pushed her so that the priestesses couldn’t kill her. I wonder how he’ll react when they meet again…

    Well, that’s all the theorizing I have left in me. Can’t wait for One Dark Throne!

  21. Taylor

    Wow! I love all the theories here, but one that I can’t help but wonder especially if it might be true would be this… What if Jules was the blue queen, but the previous queen wanted a poisoner to be queen, so she made it seem as if she had the three triplets, but then with Arsinoe as a poisoner queen and the potential to win, the priestesses switched her with Katharine because they saw Kat as the weakest and knew if they switched, Mirabella would have the highest possible chance of winning so long as neither of the others discovered their true powers.
    I also wonder however, could they possibly all have the ability of sight? Katharine has been brought up most for the idea that she may have the sight power but Arsinoe shows signs of it with the bear for example, while Mirabella is seeing more in the past with memories of their childhoods.
    And one other thing, I absolutely adored Pietyr, so when he pushed Kat off the cliff I was shocked! But I honestly think he must have found out about her power and saw that as her only escape for the moment, knowing that she would survive and that that would be the only way she would truly believe that she was meant to do something else.
    Wow, this is honestly one of my favorite books of all time.

    • Your theory is really interesting—I had to read it a few times to absorb it all! It makes sense—if the previous poisoner queen wanted another poisoner queen, they could have hidden the fact that their were quadruplets instead of triplets. But then someone else didn’t want a poisoner queen, so they switched them. I swear, I want to read the book again right now to try and figure it all out!

  22. Beth

    From the start I had a feeling that Katharine or Arsinoe would have a different gift to the one they claimed to have, especially for Arsinoe. Although, I don’t think a poisoner would suit her personality.
    But, if Katharine truns out to be a naturalist, then I guess the two got muddled up at birth? I mean, they’ll pretty much look all the same.
    If the sight and war gift were better explained, then I’m sure Arsinoe or Katherine would have one of those gifts

  23. Brie

    Am I the only one who actually loved Mirabella though?? Like she was the only sister of the three who legitimately cared for her other sisters and was opposed to violently murdering them? When she tried to escape it was for her sister’s sake, vs when Arsinoe tried to escape it was only for her own sake. Although the thing with Joseph was a little weird.
    Also when Kat said she wanted revenge at the end, do you think she meant Pietyr or her sisters?

    • Anonymous

      Mirabella was my favourite character! She was really nice, and to be fair, she didn’t know who Joseph was. He is much more villainous than she is. Also, I was considering Mirabella having the sight, but I’m not sure. Lots of people think Arsinoe could, but I think the vision was only due to the black magic.

  24. Vi

    I see discussions of how Jules could be the 4th sister. But I feel since the 3 main powers are taken up by Jules, Mirabella and Arsinoe maybe Kat could be 4th sister with an entirely different power like sight or war.

  25. Ally

    Okay I just finished this book and I have a weird theory but what if Mirabella has a little bit of the sight gift. She had all of those weird dreams/memories…..just a theory

  26. Lily

    I finished this book a while ago, but… I just thought, if Kat is the naturalist, then wouldn’t it be super ironic if her familiar was the bear? I kinda want Kat to be the naturalist just for that reason lolol

  27. Auria

    I think Kat would turn out to be the most compex character. You just catch a whiff of what goes on in her mind, you never get a full taste of it. Moreover in the summary of the book, it is written that Arsinoe is “rumoured” to have the ability to bloom the reddest of roses..that might have been a clear indication that she might not.

  28. Frosty

    *sigh* Originally i made a big explanation but it got deleted maybe this will turn into a long one too. Here is my theory if the quadruplet theory is wrong and the kat war/sight gift ones are wrong. I think that kat may have more than one gift, why do I say this? well everyone is forgetting one thing. Kat would be dead like completely dead if she did not have some poisoner gift in her. She has been eating and drinking tons of poison since the age of 6 so at the end of the book she had been eating poisoned food for 10 YEARS. That is way more than enough to kill someone since I am guessing the immune system would be weakened even if she survived the first time. But if you still doubt it and think “but she had been convulsing, bleeding and throwing up the poison”. Well your right but that example is from when she was proving her strength to the poisoners and ate lots and lots of poison (lethal amount even if thrown up) and if that doesnt convince you here is a stronger example. She has also been getting just straight poisoned, drinking poison, getting injected with it, All because of Genvieve and Natalia, for 10 years (maybe less if she was not being poisoned since 6). That would definitely kill someone, like no argument that would absolutely kill someone. So she has to have some poisoner gift in her plus she is amazing at crafting poisons to her wants and needs. However i think she has more than one gift that she is not aware of, I am not sure which one maybe elemental, maybe naturalist, hell maybe even the war or sight gift. The reason she would not be aware of her other gifts are because they are not as strong and easy coming as they would be if she only had that one gift. Now that I am thinking about it more in depth, This would explain a lot. Since her naturalist gift (shows a little bit but not a lot) is not as strong as it should be she got a small weaker animal companion for the time being (I am not gonna hop on the sweet heart familiar train since she would have noticed even if her naturalist gift is weak) sweet heart. I cant find examples of her other completely dormant maybe gifts but it explains a lot. This also brings up the question of, if she were to be crowned queen of the land which faction would grow stronger? i think that it would make all the gift factions that have one of the gifts she has would grow stronger. This also builds to the theory of co-ruling if kat has a small fraction of every gift then it would make all the gift factions equal power so no one is superior under her more supreme role in ruling. This would bring the factions to an equal level and maybe make the island more peaceful or more chaotic. This would add onto the quadruplet theory but instead of Jules being the 4th maybe it was kat. Think about it through out the book they consistently mention her being the youngest, Like this was CONSISTENT whenever she was described they would usually mention her younger age. She would also be the “Strongest” queen having some gifts from every faction, which would support her being the powerful and strong 4th one. Sorry for the large wall of text I just felt like doing this in depth and to try to further validate it as i went. Thanks for reading if you made it this far!

    • I love these types of long, indepth comments because it makes me think long and hard about the book again. I hadn’t really even considered the idea that Kat actually does have some of the poisoner’s gift. You make some good points about how much poison she’s ingested—in real life that would certainly be enough to kill her. I’m not sure what Blake’s intentions were, though. We shall see!

    • Frosty

      Oops i just read over it again and I repeated the same ideas, used awful grammar, and had missing words. Sorry if that was confusing to read, I was typing and thinking fast while writing the theory. It started getting hard to understand near the end so sorry again!

  29. Kuki

    Okay, so I’m really late but I read this book last year, and I just read it again. I loved Katherine! It was unfortunate we didn’t get to see her more the way we did Jules and Arsinoe. I think Jules is the blue queen and her appearance was altered using low magic (the Queen probably didn’t want to kill off her babies) it’ll be awesome though if somehow, the Queen herself got involved in all this. Mirabella wasn’t a loveable character for me though, especially with the Joseph issue. Katherine is not the poisoners queen, but she knows about poisons better than Arsinoe, and that plus whatever gift she has makes her really powerful. It could also be that she is giftless, but she learns and adapts really well?? I can’t wait to read the second book!

  30. I think Katharine is a naturalist – thinking of the tamed snake on her wrist. But I didn’t consider Jules…. interesting! I really thought Pietyr was in love with Katherine… totally blindsided there and I didn’t see Joseph’s betrayal coming either – but I like him with Miranda it feels right…. Need the rest of the series now!

  31. Amber

    Okay I just finished it today and here are my thoughts… I agree with the quadruplet theory and not the king consort theory about Jules because if mainlanders have no powers at all and he isn’t related by blood to the royal line of queens, how could that make jules so powerful if her own mother is only somewhat in touch with her naturalist abilities. So I believes she is the 4th queen and that they did hide her away bc like someone previously said, the queen might of wanted to continue the line of poisoner queens.. Or maybe the midwife had their own plans (since they seem to take care of the babies and the queen leaves after birth so she wouldn’t have a say) and wanted the elementalist to reign so she hid Jules as the blue queen and switched arisone and Katherine. ( maybe the midwife was a priestess or had ties with Luca or the temple) and lastly I believe that Katherine only has the war gift and it was activated by the brink of death by being pushed off the cliff and thats how she survived and thats why she’s so unemotional (I believe pietyr loves her and eithee knew that he could activate the war gift or was mercy killing) and Kat would notice her familiar dead as Jules said cam is an extension of her. And she could of just built up an immune system from the constant poisonings. Sorry about the length, i finished the book about 10 minutes ago and my head is just spinning. Overall i loved it and I think arisone is my fav queen.. Unless Jules. I also believe they will all come together and rule. Maybe that was the midwife or queens actual intention, to stop the killings and bring the island to unity

        • It’s called One Dark Throne, and it will be out in September. A great resource for finding out when the next book in your favorites series is coming out is Goodreads. For instance, you can find a link to this series HERE. It looks like there are going to be four books in this series.

          • Frosty

            Thanks! Also do you think that the sisters will actually kill each other? Or do you think they will try to find a different way. Personally I think that Kat will be one of the big deciding factors of the series unless she is killed off in the next book. She just has too much good character development already to go to waste and I think instead of going for her sisters which is half assumed when she said she wanted revenge. I think that she mainly means revenge on peter and his part of the poisoner household (I think that was her love interest, it has been a while.) but yeah I think kat is going to be the one to either start or halt the killings. All of the other characters don’t have enough development if arsinoe did it, it would kinda be out of the blue like “umm what? Ok so all the sudden you felt like killing ok” and if the elementalist queen did it then it would be “WHAT BUT SHE LOVES THEM TF?!?”. If Jules is revealed as a queen too then it would be understandable her going for the elementalist queen but nobody else. Idk what are your thoughts?

  32. Person who is confused

    I was actually thinking that Katharine was secretly a naturalist but didn’t know because she survived being thrown off of a CLIFF (What the hell Pieytr???) Also I have this theory that maybe Pieytr did it so that she wouldn’t have to suffer as much pain (a little dramatic Pieytr). I don’t think that Jules is secretly a queen though. It just doesn’t make much sense. About Joseph though, WTF??? I seriously hope that he is under that spell, because if he isn’t, then he is a douche. I lost all respect for him and Mirabella after the scene on the beach.

  33. L

    I did not like the ending of this book. With that said I’m glad I found this site! I had many thoughts. By the middle of the book I wondered if perhaps Katherine and Arsinoe had been switched which is why they couldn’t get their powers to work. It’s interesting that Katherine never dies of the poison though; however, neither did Jules when she ate the candy. I had a small celebration at the end of the book for making that inference haha

    I dislike Joseph. That’s all.

    I think Natalia gave Billy’s dad the box of candy. I didn’t read this in any of the reviews (didn’t read all of them)

    Katherine getting pushed in that thing by P(don’t know how to spell the rest) took me REALLY by surprise!

    I think Jules does play a bigger part than just the friend. I hadn’t thought of the quadruplet scenario until reading this blog and now I’m convinced that is real!

    I don’t have an opinion on Billy, but I did get goosebumps when he only bowed to Arsinoe! That. Was. Awesome.

    Mirabella (sp?) I liked her at the beginning but I’m not feeling it anymore. She can’t blame her sisters for wanting to kill her or being so cold towards her. They’ve been taught their whole life they have to kill one another, what does she expect? I wish she would’ve stayed true to her memories, loving them, and not wanting to kill them. I’m also curious as to why she remembers their childhood but Arsinoe never does. Mirabella asks her if she remembers on two different occasions in the book and Arsinoe always replies no.

    Also, i don’t know if Katherine is a naturalist; however, the whole thing with Sweetheart makes sense to that point and then she got that new snake. It started to “come at her”, but bit P(once again, don’t know how to spell). Just like Camden kinda acts like Jules emotions maybe the new snake was acting toward what Katherine was feeling. Idk just a thought cuz I don’t remember exactly how she was feeling when all that happened.

  34. Meg

    I will stake every dollar of my savings on these few statements. 1. Katherine is a naturalist– she and Arsinoe were switched without the knowledge of the two houses they went in to. 2. Sweetheart was not Katherine’s familiar. She simply had an affinity to the snake, much as Jules had an affinity for the horses and thusly could influence their behavior. 3. Why do you think she’s so good at blending herbs and minerals to make poisons? It’s the naturalist part of her finding expression in a poisoner world. 4. There’s no way that Jules is a queen, although I think it’s possible she might share a father with them from Beltane– if her father later became the king consort. Again, I would bet money that black eyes and hair are most likely matrilineal through the queen in this world and related to the goddess. After all Billy is a suitor and he is supposed to be blonde.

    5. Peter *was convinced* by Natalia that a mob was going to tear Katharine apart not unlike William Wallace was in our own brave old Scotland. He did what he thought was the only MERCY left…by trying to kill her swiftly without her having to be suffer fear or pain. If he had not thought the tenple’s original mob plot had succeeded he wouldn’t have pushed her. Now– here’s where I think everyone is getting confused. He is not a perfect lover. He is selfish. He has shown that on a much lower scale before – – he was kissing priestesses for fun and for his ego…while Katherine only kissed a suitor because she thought it was her duty. She didn’t even like it.
    If he had been a perfect lover, he would’ve jumped with her. But there’s no world in which he did this except to spare her pain and himself the sight and knowledge of her suffering.
    I am so impressed with this author. She left fantastic for shadowing and every character is whole unto themselves. I suppose Elizabeth could’ve been fleshed out more. Also the switcheroo was a little bit predictable, but that couldn’t really be helped. Still, this is such a baroque and darkly beautiful book. Loved it!

  35. Meg

    Ps. OF COURSE Natalia’s family sent the chocolates. I’m only surprised that they were so sloppy. She could’ve made the poison to take effect an hour or 5 later so that the chocolate eater could at least get down three or four. Enough to be lethal without hope of recovery. They could not have been made by Natalia herself. Because Natalia doesn’t make mistakes mixing poisons. Neither does Katherine. So here are my three viable theories. I’m leaving the most unlikely theory (that Natalia’s totally beta sister could have made the chocolates) right here at the door. That sweetpea wouldn’t have bothered or even been trusted to do it.

    So here we go. Presumably Williams Senior wouldn’t want poison to be connected with HIS chocolate gift at all. Maybe both he and Natalia are trying to implicate himself in the threat– with two effects. It may have been meant to force Junior to (unfairly) own a sense of guilt– if only for bringing the sweets into the home– guilt that might have been “spinned” into making him believe that it was all his fault because he never went to meet Mirabella and he forced his father to do it.
    Failing that, a suspected plot between Billy with Natalia/Katherine and her “family” might have the desired effect of splintering Arsinoe’s blossoming friendship with Billy. Or at least that might’ve been the hope. Had Jules died– there might well have been that possibility.

    Either way “L”, I suspect that no one has discussed whether or not it came from their family because on it’s face, the matter is too simple for speculation. Natalia literally said, in the Queen’s English, in almost insultingly clear exposition, that she’s been poisoning the enemies and nuisances of Willy Sr. for years. The only interesting question to my mind, is why she made it the way she did…if she did make the poison with her own two hands, and I think the latter supposition is a fairly safe bet. With the same token, it is very safe to assume that Jules has zero poisoner ability unless she has gained some slight advantage from Arsinoe.

    My personal opinion is that this is very simple. I believe this was meant to be a shot across the bow, so to speak. A show of continued strength and proof of strong alliance for the Arrons– despite the presumed loss of Katharine and the family’s impending loss of power and influence. Although by the end of the book it seems foolish to have tipped her hand and to have shown so soon the alliance between Williams Senior and Natalia herself…well, did the chocolates go out before or after Katherine was found alive? If she still thought Katherine dead, this may have been an intelligent move for self-preservation. If it went out after Katherine returned, it may have been a threat to Arsinoe–letting her know that she has moved up to sister number one on Katherine’s …kick-list. So to speak.

    Ps. I would bet that Queen Camille had the sight. And so does Mirabella. If Camille had the sight she may have seen a future in which if Arsinoe had grown up with poisoners then a dynasty would indeed have been founded in which all future naturalist or elemental queens would have been drowned at birth. Or perhaps she saw that if she mixed them up, that they would come together and rule jointly. Taking power from what I assume to be a very corrupt council. On a tangent, as politicians and bureaucrats, a name like “The Black Council” can’t be very good PR :p Even Charles Manson’s murder cult did better than they did on that one.

  36. Hoo-boy, I’m glad I’m just reading this now so I don’t have to wait long for book 2!

    My thoughts:
    *I agree that all the talk about Blue Queens, war gifts, and sight gifts must come in to play somehow.
    *I think there will be something twistier than “better to be tossed off a cliff than ripped to shreds” behind Piyotr’s actions. And I also believes he loves her. Still, it sure was a Prince Hans moment, right?!?
    * I think the whole “The queen and her consort sail away and are never heard from again” thing has to end up getting explored more. Where are the parents? WHERE ARE THEY?
    *I kept waiting for someone to be gay. Mirabellla, mostly. Also, everyone is white, right? I know the checklist approach isn’t good, but I do think there could be more diversity. It’s a wonderfully complex and creative world; why make it all straight white people? Though I kind of love the way Billy struggles with the strong female leadership common on the island, coming from the patriarchal mainland.
    * I’m really glad Arsinoe didn’t cast that love spell, because ew, but it sure messed everything up anyway. They clearly should have left well enough alone.

    Great book, and I’m so glad you recommended it, Nicole!

    • Meg

      Lol Prince Hans moment. I tittered. For now I’m going with occam’s razor on this one, and sticking with my original hypothesis but we don’t have too long to wait right? I have a feeling that Katherine won’t wait till to book 3 to poison smack Petyr for pushing her under the proverbial…bottomless pit. And then I think it’s going to make her feel evil, even more undeserving of real love, and probably it will be even more difficult to bring her into the fold of her other two sisters…

      Where are those parents? The whole “oh they went on a cruise for the rest of their lives starting at the age of like 25” is somewhat implausible. Implausible in the same kind of way when you realize that your parents didn’t really sent your beloved dog to live on a farm in upstate New York. Especially because as Natalia says, having triplets so young is considered to be the goddess’ mark of weakness. They aren’t elves sailing to a mythical land in the west like in Lord of the rings… although I think that’s what everybody sort of pretends. None of these kingdoms reward weakness…ever… and I can’t imagine them doing so by giving them a pleasure cruise. Unless it’s at night, through eel festered waters 😉 Provisioned with a poisoned last meal. What I want to know is do they bring the Black Ship back every year or do they set it on fire? Because, let’s be real, in this book, could the boat really be named anything else? I’m going with fire because waste doesn’t seem to be an issue with either the council or the Erryns. Anyway this is what I think has been tradition, it’s possible that these particular parents are still living, but I don’t think so. That seems clumsy to me, while technically possible since I’m pretty certain Camille was a seer or had access to one.

  37. Never Stop Reading

    Just re-read the book in anticipation of the second one’s release in September, and i’m glad I did! There were a lot of things I forgot about. My biggest theory is that mirabella has the sight as well as her elemental power and Katherine has the war gift. They do mention that people can have a touch of the sight, but don’t elaborate. Can people have a “touch” of other gifts as well? Mira is the only one to remember their time and the cottage and has vivid dreams. I wish Blake went into the war and sight gift more since we don’t know what all they entail. After re-reading I realized Blake hinted heavily at Arsinoe being a poisoner her humongous appetite and reference to the berries at the cottage for example. The only problem with the quadruplets theory is that Jules looks nothing like the queens. Maybe madrigal uses low magic to change her appearance, but she’s not exactly a selfless person with a mothering instinct so why would she be chosen to take the baby. Arsinoe is my favorite followed closely by Katherine, not a huge fan of Mira. Can’t wait for the next book which is released on my birthday!!

    • I love that you came by after a reread. I’m about to start rereading as well, and I’m going to check out all these comments right before I do it! (Which is practically a book’s-worth right there!). I’ll have to pay more specific attention to the details about Jules’ appearance on this next read.

  38. Nathalia

    Ohmygod i’m so late ?? i just finished reading the book yesterday while the second book also released this month. But at least i dont have to wait so long till i can read the sequel.

    First, I also thought that Katharine might have the naturalist gift, but that thing with Sweetheart seems to break my speculation. But I dont think a slight bit that Khatarine might have the war or sight gift. Wouldn’t there be some sign if she really does have the sight gift? Like she constantly dreaming about things. While for the war gift, there could be a possible chance.

    For me, I think both Khatarine and Arsinoe could be poisoner. Maybe Khatarine is truly weak but she’s good at poisoning while Arsinoe have a great immunity to poison.

    And I also agree about maybe Queen Camille switch up the queens for some apparent reason that I do not know. I’m speculating maybe she thought that the poisoner years of rule has to end??

    Personally I really like Arsinoe. Especially her relationship with Billy. I think they are cute! I really hope I can read the 2nd book soon….

  39. Meg

    How do you guys think the queens always manage to have triplets? Obviously this world has some magic which could make it possible, but what if they aren’t actually blood kin? Do you think it’s possible that the Council of murdery evil bad guys round up three baby girls when they’re ready to be rid of the current king and queen? When the current rulers get to be too troublesome? I’m 70/30 on this one–70% sure that they really are blood sisters, 30% not. It would explain why they are considered to be the goddess’ daughters and why Natalia slaps Katherine when she asks if she’s kind of like her niece. What do you guys think?

    PS. I’ve been ruminating, I am 99.99% repeating sure that Jules is half-sister to them all through their father’s side, because Beltane. Assuming that they are indeed biologically related.

  40. I just reread the book for the second time in preparation for One Dark Throne coming out tomorrow. (OMG!) And I just discovered your site and it’s giving me all the feels! I’m so happy that a lot of people has their own (crazy or not-so-crazy) theories. I can’t wait to find out what happens next in the series. Bookmarked this page and will definitely come back once I finish the second book. I hope it won’t disappoint.’


  41. Livvia

    ok so here we go….

    she is my favourite to win btw… I think she will actually come out being the strongest sister, and end up with the battle/war/warrior gift.

    I think Pietyr only pushed Katharine because he couldn’t stand the pain of her possibly being hurt or killed. or maybe he just has some temper issues…

    stop acting like a spoilt brat and leave the Arrons alone, they don’t want you in their family. one reason possibly being the fact that throughout the entire book, no one asks your opinion, yet you give it anyway, on multiple occasions!

    ok, so Natalia is just a BAWSE! just be your savage, all-knowing self, Nat.

    i think Arsinoe might not be in LOVE with Junior, but more Friends with Benefits….

    ok this is a bit far fetched, but here we go: I think Jules could be some sort of lovechild, not one of the triplets/quadruplets if that’s even possible in Fennbirn, I don’t know. but I think that’s why Katharine wont be a Naturalist. and STOP GIVING JOSEPHMORE CHANCES!!! you might think you love him, but get over it! you’re the most talented Naturalist on the island, don’t waste yourself over a no-good cheater!!!!

    ok, first of all, if you really love Arsinoe, and you know your dad is on the side of the thought poisoners, check everything you give to her from your father!

    get yourself together, woman! you’re jealous of your sixteen year old ‘daughter’! (see Jules)and get over the fact that you’ll never be as good as Caragh if you don’t even try to forgive her for whatever you think she’s done! it isn’t her fault she cares for her ‘family’! (see Jules)

    what where you actually thinking, man??? like really? did you actually just cheat on Fennbirn’s most gifted Naturalist? And you told her that you were thinking about her all through your banishment, he might have just been thinking about their friendship, maybe just thinking about her being the most talented Naturalist, or even not at all.

    firstly, normal people don’t just have sex with the first person they see after running away, are you thick?? Also, its not like it going to last anyway, it was just the passion of cheating that made HIM do it, but you, did you take the wrong medication or something?? oh, and GET OVER YOURSELF!! acting like the whole world is against you, imagine what its like for Arsinoe and Katharine, their whole city doubting them!

    why even try to trust a queen? even if it works out fine in the end, you didn’t know that did you? are you trying to copy your mentally challenged queen????

    don’t just take the side of the queen who shows their gift first, you dafty! now you’re stuck with that decision for the rest of your life, ya screw up! and the only reason you say that the other two queens should have been drowned is because you know that either Mirabella is faltering, or you know that the other queens are just stronger.

    I’m all for Girl power, but you really need to go to your nearest Pharmacy Restaurant and order a main of Chill Pills with a side of Anger Management classes and and a three litre bottle of Calm-your-self juice to go.

  42. Jacq

    So I just started reading the new book (sequel) and I haven’t finished, but I have a theory. I agree with the idea of there being quadruplets born, and Jules being the fourth queen. However, my thought is that Arsinoe is the poisoner, Mirabella the elemental, Jules the naturalist, and Katherine the Blue Queen (so she’s ungifted). I don’t know if these will hold water with the new book, but we’ll see.

  43. Regan LeGare

    Okay, but what if they’re quadruples and Kat has the war gift? I’ve been reading from my kindle and at 35-36% it talks about how well kat can handle knives and when the cheaper switches to Arsinoe bottom of the first page talks about how people from bastion city (war gift) have an uncanny accuracy with knives and bows. And think about how she has been surviving through everything thrown her way. I think the quadruples theory might be spot on.

    • I thought the War gift through most of it too—it definitely seems to fit. Somehow I talked myself out of that when we found out about the dead queens because I felt like the explanation for that was supposed to be that she got that ability from them. But they didn’t give her OTHER abilities, so I think you’re probably right! (Of course, Jules has the War gift too, which throws off the quadruplet theory a teensy, but I’m still not sure…)

  44. Meg

    Finally got an audio copy of ODT! Btw, if you haven’t listened to the audio version, well you should! Even if you’ve already read the book, you will catch all sorts of things missed the first time and the performance is such a pleasure : )

    Favorite quote thus far:?
    “Does she know that you love her?”
    Billy raises his eyebrows.
    “Why would she when I didn’t? It wasn’t like I read in books. A thunderclap.
    Eyes meeting. Tortured glances. With Arsinoe it was more like . . . having cold
    water poured down your back and learning to enjoy it.”

    Fantastic inflection, made me wince with memory recall ^_^
    Ps. I am interested in the number of guesses I had previously made that came true… but I am SO MUCH MORE interested in the things that the author invented that I could not have predicted. I LOVE this author’s world building! The only hint of shade I might throw is that I think it might make a little more sense if the mainland was fleshed out more fully… I mean you listen to Billy talking about the main land and it sounds like the outside world is pretty modern, Silicon-e princesses, the Kardashians and all– but everything else is pretty amaze.

  45. Meg

    So guys, what exactly IS the difference between legion cursed and the war gift? One is a queen and one isn’t? A person has two gifts instead of one?

      • Meg

        Thanks! Hmm, interesting. So I suppose there’s a biblical reference here that many will be aware of. There was a wild man who wandered the desert, was kept in chains and committed self harm. He had been afflicted for some years. Christ was brought to this crazed and ragged man who began to scream and rend his hair and clothes. Christ spoke to the demon/s possessing the man, exhorting him for a name to which the demon/s responded with “We are legion for we are many.” Christ exhorted the demon to leave the man and the demons begged him to send them into a nearby herd of swine instead, which Christ allowed. The pigs promptly stampeded, flinging themselves over a cliff and into the sea

        (Long Aside: Incidentally no one ever mentions the plight of the pig farmer – – I imagine that he was none too pleased with this particular solution. I suppose it’s possible they could’ve been wild pigs … wild pigs roamed the city living as street sweepers of a sort and could be quite vicious … but this was the countryside, Galilee was part of a Roman province, and the Romans quite enjoyed their pork so it is unlikely. Remember the prodigal son who raised swine after he squandered his inheritance?)

        So. I suppose she chose this name because of the creepy affiliation attached to the word Legion as a mental affliction. And probably also because the gifts are many.

        I’m not enthralled with this particular development. Well I recognize that it’s absolutely necessary to the plot and while it was perfectly interesting… There was absolutely no foreshadowing of it in the first book. It feels like something the author needed to add to the formula in order to propel the second book along… which would be perfectly fine had it been planned, but feels just a bit sloppy to have it just… introduced out of nowhere. Unless I am wrong. I hope I am. Has anyone found foreshadowing in TDC for Jules’ war gift or the legion curse?

        • I kind of felt like there wasn’t a lot of foreshadowing either, at least none that I suspected. The implication is that Jules getting so upset and sending the bear after Mirabella was a sign that she had the war gift, but I kind of almost wondered if this was an afterthought because I didn’t get that vibe at all from being in Jules’s head in the first book.

  46. Anonymous

    You know, I’m quite sure Katherine isn’t giftless. I mean, two triplets are thought to be powerless and one just happens to discover what should’ve been the other triplet’s power? I think Katherine is a naturalist. It would also explain her gift with her snake, whom never bites anyone despite being a venomous and dangerous creature.

  47. Miranda

    So my theory on the sisters and Jules possibly being the true naturalist queen comes from this / the priestesses said there can be a forth queen, the white handed queen, maybe that is her! Do the triplets really are triplets, but Jules is the fourth queen, OR Katherine is. Now I do think Katherine is probably the real naturalist queen (now that we know Arsinoe is the poisoner), and what sways me to think this is because of sweetheart – her first snake. It was very loyal and never harmed her – what if she was her familiar!?

    As for joseph – i’m Sorry but I still love him ? and o actually prefer him with Mirabella, Jules is great, but she does irritate me sometimes. Whereas Mirabella doesn’t.

    And pietyr….man I was rooting for him and Katherine ? I really hope he did it out of love, that he didn’t play her – but it doesn’t excuse it.

    All in all, I love this book! I literally just finished it seconds ago and ahhh, i’m still excited! I can’t wait to pickup the next one – but i’m also scared ?

  48. Meg

    You know, like many of us I was pretty convinced that Katherine would end up being a naturalist. But I’m pretty sure that the author is making some of this up as she goes along now – – how else do you explain Jules being Legion cursed out of nowhere? That’s a piece that doesn’t fit the puzzle. I’m gonna change camps and go with the kids that say that Katherine has no gift apart from whatever creepy gift she got from the demon undead queens. I bet that originally she was supposed to be a naturalist – – but then the author decided that it was too predictable. When we analyze literature it’s this weird amalgam of being engrossed in the story and stepping back to recognize it as a construct of the author.
    So, if Katherine has no original, intrinsic gift, it would give the queen mother a better motive to switch them up–give the weakest child the best backing, strongest allies, harshest training to make her a stronger person. If the QM had the sight she would know that Mirabella would protect the others and that Arsinoe needed kindness and friendship to avert becoming a typical merciless, poisoner queen. I mean honestly – – even having grown up with the advantages of love, genuine friends, and overall a positive upbringing, she’s *ruthless* using low magic. What would she have been like had she been raised by the Arryns?

    My money is on the queen mother having had an agenda to end the black council and setting up her children in circumstances chosen to increase the chances of all three of them in surviving together “to bring down the man.” Agree or disagree?

  49. Sarah

    I think Katherine has the war gift, because somewhere in the book they mentioned that the ones who have the war gift can move things without touching them. So maybe Katherine used her gift to out of the Breccia Domain. Another theory I have is that both Arsinoe and Katherine are poisoners, but their gifts are divided, so Katherine can only make poisons and Arsinoe can only eat them.

  50. Deanna

    Honestly I thought the first book was insufferable in the beginning but then when mirabella and Joseph happened that’s when I really got hooked OH MY GOD! Like I didn’t feel anything with Jules and Joseph it was actually so boring but sweet yet lacking that fantasy romance where you feel like cheering them on…

  51. Ashley

    Ik I’m late but I just wanted to say, honestly I don’t see why there’s so much hate around Joseph. When they introduced him I felt like his relationship with Jules was forced, in my opinion if two ten year olds liked each other they can’t possibly be in love after five years of not seeing one another. From the moment he met Mirabella I felt the chemistry between them but I also felt like it was kind of a way for Joseph to escape the pressure that was put on him (by literally the whole village) to keep a romantic relationship with Jules. After that every time he spoke of his relationship with Jules it sounded more like an obligation than something he was doing for love. So that’s kind of why I ship Joseph and Mirabella together. Plus I don’t really like Jules she just comes out as the toxic type of friend that doesn’t let the other one grow. I feel like since she’s more powerful she’s always thought of herself as superior even if she doesn’t voice it. It seems to me that she exercises an authority over Arsinoe that she shouldn’t have and that Arsinoe should most probably try to detach herself from her.

    • I do agree with you about the age thing. It seemed very unbelievable that Jules and Joseph fell in love when they were so young and that it lasted through years of separation. I definitely didn’t hate Joseph, but I found myself frustrated by the situation. I think I would have possibly rooted for Joseph and Mirabella somewhat if it didn’t seem like their attraction was based on a spell gone wrong.

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