A Spoiler-Filled Discussion of One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

September 20, 2017 Let's Discuss, Reviews, Spoiler-Filled Discussion 102

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! Or, if you’ve only read the first book, then feel free to check out my Spoiler-Filled Discussion of Three Dark Crowns! (And then immediately read One Dark Throne and come back here!)

I just finished book two of this series, and it was just as good as I was hoping it would be! We may not have gotten all of our questions answered (of course—there are still two more books!), but we did learn a lot in this installment. And there was a lot of excitement! So, let’s dive right in…

I’m going to go through some of the predictions that we all had after reading the first book and see how many of them were correct, and I’ll also add in some of my predictions about what will happen in books three and four!

Jules

My original theory:

My theory was that Jules was going to turn out to be the true Naturalist queen. I based this on her strong naturalist powers and on the fact that she was a Beltane baby who supposedly looks nothing like her family. I wasn’t sure if that meant Katherine and Jules were switched at birth, though?

Other commenter’s theories:

There were lots of other theories about Jules as well, of course. We all agreed that she’s obviously very important, but the most intriguing theory thrown out there (first by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight, I believe) was that the queens were actually quadruplets. In this case, the fourth-born should have been a Blue Queen and the others should have been drowned by the midwife when they were babies. But what if someone wanted to save them and they found a way to hide the fact that they were quadruplets? After reading this theory, I was convinced it was true. BUT upon a reread of the book, it does seem that Madrigal has memories of giving birth to Jules (and that seems even more solidified in book two). A few people threw out the idea that Jules is related to the queens not via their mother but by their father, the King-Consort. Perhaps he had another fling during Beltane and Jules was the result?

What did we learn in One Dark Throne?

Well, we still didn’t get all the answers (especially about her parentage), but we learned several new things about Jules:

  • When she was born, an oracle said that her one blue eye and one green marked her and that she would be the ruin of the island. (Did anyone else think this came a little bit out of nowhere?)
  • She is legion cursed—meaning she has two different gifts. In addition to being the strongest Naturalist the island has seen in over 60 years, she also has the War Gift (and it seems just as strong). When she was a baby, her mother used low magic to bind the war gift because people with the legion curse are killed since they typically go mad.

What are my predictions now?

I’m still convinced there’s something more to Jules than we’ve learned so far. Even though Madrigal seems to think she’s her mother, I’m not 100% convinced? (Yep, there’s a question mark there on purpose—I guess I’m still pretty unsure.) How is it that Jules has two of the strongest powers that have been seen on the island in many years?

And did anyone else notice that little quote at the end of the book about the mist?:

It swirls around the boat greedily with something that seems almost like relief… As if it was Jules, truly, who the island was trying to keep.

I’m going out on a limb—I think that Jules is the true Queen. I’m guessing that she’ll be the one who ends up on the throne, but she won’t kill the sisters to do it. (Or that they’ll somehow all reign with her at the head or something?)

Katharine & Pietyr

My original theory:

I actually didn’t have a particularly strong theory about Katharine herself. I was wondering if she could have been switched with Jules since she didn’t seem to have a gift, but that was about as far as I got. BUT my theory about Pietyr was that he was working for someone or had some other reason to toss her into the Breccia that we were yet to discover.

Other commenter’s theories:

Many of my commenters were sure that Pietyr was just trying to save Katherine from being chopped up by the priestesses when he threw her in the Breccia. Lots of people also suggested that Katharine actually is a Naturalist (and that Sweetheart was the proof) or that she has the War Gift, which is why she was able to survive falling down the Breccia.

What did we learn in One Dark Throne?

We learned a lot about Katharine (and a few things about Pietyr) in this book. It almost felt like her book in a lot of ways. Here are some of the revelations:

  • Pietyr did, in fact, only throw Katharine into the Breccia because he thought he was saving her from a much worse fate. Apparently there were no ulterior motives. I’m actually slightly disappointed by this—it makes Pietyr seem kind of weak to me. Really, the best he could come up with to save Katharine from the priestesses was to kill her himself?
  • When Katharine was in the Breccia she was “possessed” (or something like it) by the spirits of the dead queens who have been tossed down there for generations. They want out and they want revenge! Because of this, Katharine seems practically indestructible and she’s no longer the sweet little Katharine from book one! NONE of us guessed this (not surprisingly), but I love it!
  • She is made Queen Crowned after her sisters refuse to kill. They even tattoo a crown on her forehead. But when Katharine sleeps with her King-Consort she kills him because she is literally poison now. So she can’t have triplets and carry on the family “tradition.”

What are my predictions now?

Well, Pietyr says that they’ll just kill Mirabella and Arsinoe and Katharine can be the last queen. I doubt it will work out that way, though. Did anyone else notice that Katharine still has no true gift of her own that we know of? Sure, she’s super strong and invincible because of the dead queens who’ve taken up residence in her, and she seems to have some amount of affinity with all of the gifts (again, probably because of the dead queens), but she hasn’t manifested any true ability of her own. I’m still wondering if she even has one. (There’s that theory about her and Jules being switched popping into my head again.)

Oh, and one more thing about Pietyr. We never really found out exactly what happened to him in the Breccia, right? He was missing for a bit before he showed back up at Katharine’s door. How did he get out? I’m wondering if we’ll find out that he’s changed somehow as well?

Joseph

My original theory:

I was almost positive that Joseph and Mirabella happened because of the curse. Upon rereading the book, I was even more convinced because I noticed that every time Joseph and Mirabella slept together, they had contact with each other’s blood (Mirabella scraped her hands on the rock climbing to him and pressed her bloody hands to his chest just before they slept together the first time, and then on Beltane, Joseph was cut and Mirabella touched his wound.)

Other commenter’s theories:

Most people agreed with me (or they hadn’t thought of it, but they agreed with me upon reflection). Some people also pointed out that fire was involved with the spell and every time Joseph and Mirabella slept together.

What did we learn in One Dark Throne?

Well, I guess we didn’t get a definitive answer here. I kind of feel like Blake hedged her bets with this one because she didn’t want to take the responsibility off of Joseph completely. The book basically said that it was likely that Joseph and Mirabella were affected by the spell, but that Joseph still had control over his own actions and he needed to take responsibility for that and not just blame a spell (which he did). I was glad we got a happy ending for Jules and Joseph… for a minute.

Oh, and for a moment there, I thought that we were going to end up with another love triangle between Arsinoe, Mirabella and Billy, so I was SO glad that didn’t happen. I didn’t necessarily think that Billy was going to fall for Mirabella but maybe that he would be bound to her once he agreed to the engagement? When Arsinoe showed up alive, I was thrilled to see the whole Mirabella engagement completely dropped!

What are my predictions now?

Well, Joseph is dead. (NOOOOOO!!!!!!) So I guess there are no predictions to be had here. I was really glad that the love triangle wasn’t extended into this second book, but I cried my eyeballs out when Joseph died in Jules’s arms. But now this does free Jules up to pursue other things… like becoming queen. (I know, I know—I need to get over that theory, but I can’t!)

Mirabella & Arsinoe

My original theory:

I didn’t have any major theories about Mirabella or Arsinoe after the first book, but I was blown away when I found out that Arsinoe was a Poisoner!

Other commenter’s theories:

Several people pointed out Mirabella’s vivid dreams and wondered if she might have the sight gift in addition to the elemental gift. I was very intrigued by this idea.

What did we learn in One Dark Throne?

Not a lot of new revelations about these two in the second book that I can think of. We don’t really see any evidence of Mirabella having more visions, I don’t think. (Do we?) And Arsinoe remembers her childhood now too, after having her memory jogged by Mirabella.

Oh, wait—we do find out that the midwife knew that Arsinoe was really a Poisoner and purposely deceived everyone (at the behest of the triplets’ mother). AND that their mother was confident that Mirabella would be the eventual Queen. hmmm…

What are my predictions now?

Now that Arsinoe and Mirabella sailed off to the mainland, do you think that the next book will take place there? Or at least some of it? Also, the mainland sounds suspiciously like the “real” world (at some point in the past), doesn’t it? Maybe America? I’ve noticed that anytime Billy and Joseph talk about customs and such on the mainland, they match with our real-world customs.

 

What did you think of book two? Do you like where the series is headed? Were any of your predictions after reading the first book correct? What do you think will happen next? I want to know!!

102 Responses to “A Spoiler-Filled Discussion of One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake”

  1. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    YAYYYY! I am so happy this is here! Okay. SO. I have so many thoughts. Is Joseph actually dead? Idk, probably/maybe? I mean…. killing him off gets rid of so much drama, sad. I think Jules will be some kind of powerful person. I don’t know how exactly- it almost feels like this reveal is too soon, like- I agree, I caught that comment about the island, so it DOES seem like it’s setting her up to be queen, but with two full books left? I also thought maybe she’d end up in the position of supposed antagonist. Not that she WOULD be, but that someone would at least WANT her to be.

    We’ll figure out a lot more about Katharine, I hope. I’m sure, really. I was glad that Pietyr wasn’t a total assface, because that other dude REALLY was. I mean, he basically raped her? I was glad she killed him.

    I think I am most confused about Mirabella, because her role was probably the smallest in this book- or, perhaps, her position was the most in flux, which means I am not sure what to makeof her yet. I like her a lot more in this book though. But Arsinoe is my fave! OH! And I am also SO glad that Joseph’s infidelity wasn’t JUST dismissed as the curse!

    Sidenote: In my mind, Joseph is basically Finn from The 100. Just a realization I came to. Thoughts?

    I am so glad you did this again, this is fabulous! Can’t wait for book 3!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I never even considered that Joseph might not actually be dead. He certainly SEEMS dead, but stranger things have happened. As for being Finn—yeah, now that you mention it, I think it kind of fits. Hmmm…

      It would be interesting if Jules ends up as an antagonist—she’ll certainly be pitted against Katharine, but it can’t be that simple. I agree that Mirabella still seems like the least developed of the sisters, but I’m not sure if it’s because she has less time in the books or just that she’s just so plain NICE that she doesn’t stick out as much. (I like her, don’t get me wrong.) I’m a bit worried that we have two full books to go, but Blake managed to pull off book two without making anything feel like filler, so hopefully she can do the same with another middle book. Can’t wait for book three! (Too bad I have to.)

      • Emma

        It’s been so long since I read this series, please answer HOW DOES JOSEPH DIE? I remember he does but I forget the details. Thanks!

  2. Darque Dreamer

    I LOVE this discussion!!

    So I think Jules is going to become queen anyway. Her powers are so strong, and she has such a big heart that I don’t think she will let the curse destroy the world! There may still be a possibility of her being related to the Queens, or one of the Queens having been switched with her as a baby. We did just find out that Arsinoe and Katharine were switched.

    Katharine and Pietyr have me all kinds of confused and riled up! I just don’t believe him about the Brecca pushing incident. And she was obviously posessed afterwards, so I am curious to how that will turn out. There was so much passion between them in book 1 and now he is like the jealous ex and she is psycho possessed girl, lol.

    It had been so long since I read TDC that I did not remember Joseph and Mirabella sleeping together more than once. I don’t know if it was part of the curse, or just raging teenage hormones and stress.

    I want to see Mirabella and Arsinoe kick ass and form the sisterly bond they never had. I think it will be pretty unpredictable though!

  3. Greg

    Ooh yay a spoilery post! So this was awesome, I liked it more than the first one! I’ll admit to having no idea what the deal is with Jules, but it would not surprise me at all if she’s the true queen. Katharine’s story was VERY different from what I expected, and this one solidified for me that I am not a Pietyr fan. I feel bad for Kat as she didn’t ask to be thrown in the pit, and I’m hoping her personality can be saved.

    I was sad about Jules and Joseph too. And thank goodness they didn’t go there with Arsinoe/ Mirabella/ Billy! Ugh. I agree this does free up Jules to do… whatever.

    And I think it’s really interesting that Arsinoe and Mirabella have teamed up, and are going to the mainland. I’m really curious what they find there! I do think we got more of a sense just how much Natalia, Luca and Sara Westwood were just manipulating everyone- interesting that Natalia died, just when Katharine is asserting herself. She may be a total wrecking crew now. I still don’t have a favorite although I really like Arsinoe and Mirabella. I was horrified when poor Arsinoe accidentally poisoned the two suitors!!!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I agree that I’m not a Pietyr fan. I think I liked it better when I thought he was up to no good—at least that made him interesting. I’m really interested to see what will happen with Katharine now, though. I’m wondering if she can get rid of those spirits and then she’ll turn back into the sweet girl from the first book? And yes to Natalia’s death—that was totally unexpected! Poor Billy knows his dad’s kind of a jerk, but he probably doesn’t know he’s a psychopath! I can’t wait to learn more about the mainland too!

  4. Anonymous

    Ok, so this book was great, but the way it explained things didn’t actually leave me with many ‘theories’. Honestly, I really disliked Katharine in this book, she seemed quite selfish and psychotic! In the last book, Mirabella was my favourite, because she was extremely kind hearted and seemed the most normal out of the three when hanging out with her friends (I don’t know if that’s just me?), but in this book I really loved Arsinoe as well! In TDC she was just an underdog tomboy, but this book has shown lots of positive character development for her. I also liked the fact that the love triangles stopped and they were all friends, but I feel bad for Mirabella. Just because they had a passion-based relationship with Joseph doesn’t mean she didn’t love him, and it must have been difficult to go through rejection and have to watch him and Jules kiss and act intimately in front of her. How well Mirabella handled it (with understanding and compassion) is another one of her positive traits in my opinion.

    Also, I hope that Joseph isn’t actually dead. Killing him off just seemed sudden and careless, although it was time that one of the main characters died to move the story along, especially because they have spent two entire books with almost all the main characters almost dying, but coming back from the brink of death.

    As for Jules, I definitely wonder what is going to happen, I mean, the prophecy about her wasn’t too uplifting. I think it would be an interesting plot line to see what happens if she goes to live with the warriors, but I hope she doesn’t become mentally unstable like predicted. However, I feel like Joseph’s death may trigger something in her emotionally, breaking a metaphorical dam and letting her emotions break through, which will lead to the fulfillment of the prophecy.

    And is anyone else wondering about what is going to happen to Madrigal’s unborn baby? It would be cool if a plot line was introduced and Jules and the new baby (or babies, maybe twins or triplets?) became the islands new chosen queens because the last three were unfit, with two having left the island and the other unable to give birth with a king-consort. Maybe Madrigal saw something telling her that her babies would kill each other, and she naturally assumed it was Jules and the unborn baby? It is unlikely, but it would be a good twist!

    Oh wow, I didn’t mean to go on for this long. Whoops…

  5. Anthony @ KeepReadingForward

    I AM GLAD THIS IS HERE!

    I feel the same for Katharine. Like nothing has been said about her true gift and I am so confused. At the Black Cottage, when the midwife (Caragh?) revealed she knew all along. Arsinoe asked “Then why did you switch us?” The midwife responded saying the she didn’t, but the Queen did. They assumed because the Queen knew how horrible the court currently was and wanted to switch it or something like that. So I started thinking that Katharine was supposed to be a Naturalist or something.

    Then after Natalia’s death and after the escape, the court finally realizes Arsinoe’s true gift and one of them says “This has never happened before, Two Poisoner Queens in the same cycle.” Then it goes onto Katharine believe that Arsinoe was just the stronger one, and herself to be the weaker one. So this leads to 2 options:
    1) Everyone is so clueless and can’t put 2 and 2 together to figure out who Katharine really is and what her true gift is.
    2) Katharine is actually a poisoner-
    —2a) There has never been a Naturalist Queen
    —2b) The Naturalist Queen has been swapped out and may NOT be Jules? I mean this may not make sense, but who knows. Maybe this Queen is right in our faces and we don’t even know, or not introduced yet, or maybe the Queen simply took the baby?

    I also started thinking that perhaps Jules is the True Queen because maybe the True Queen before only gave birth to 1 child and someone did a MAJOR switch up to cover up the big mess. Or back to 2b and maybe something something happened to the true Naturalist baby during birth and the baby didn’t make it due to natural causes or in the hands of someone and someone threw in either Arsinoe or Katharine to cover it up? (If Katharine, still could have been a big switch up by mistake or something.)

    There’s like so many possibilities and this needs to be answered!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Yeah, I noticed that too. I assumed that people were just being dumb and hadn’t figured out that Katharine just really isn’t a Poisoner. But we don’t have a lot of good evidence about what she IS then. The implication when she went down into the pit with all the dead queens and survived is that she is a queen and not just completely switched, but it’s still possible. Seriously, there are so many scenarios that could work!

    • Indigo

      The answers to a lot of these questions can be found in The Young Queens.

      SPOILER ALERT

      Katharine is a naturalist and she and Arsinoe were switched at birth. I’ve haven’t read all of The Young Queens so I don’t know if Jules comes in at any point.

  6. roseeyy

    I know this may sound absurd, but i feel as though Jules will probably end up to be the ‘ruin of the island’. They say people who share the war and sight gift eventually become mental, you can see this through the behaviour of Jules in the first book , the readers know that she can’t always control herself or her gifts, for example the event where Jules attacks Mirabella with Arsinoe’s bear. It would be awesome if the final fight was between Arsinoe and Jules. I personally am a strong believer that Jules is the forth child conceived by Queen Camille, but it doesn’t make sense since Madrigal remembers giving birth to her, maybe she’s the bastard child of the three queen’s father.

    I’ve noticed that in three dark thrones, Mirabella’s name is mentioned three times, one after another , maybe here the author is hinting that she will die in the third book, I’ve realised this is a repetitive writing technique the author uses. The fact that Mirabella’s name was mention by Jules three times suggest that she is the one who will kill her, to be honest i don’t know (just a theory).

    My personal favourite has got to be Arsinoe, i prefer her character and personality over the other two queens. However , one thing that does annoy me is the fact that she’s always portrayed as weak, in the third book i want Arsinoe’s power to develop into something strong, something queen worthy

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I hadn’t noticed the repetition of Mirabella’s name—that’s a really interesting theory. I kind of love Jules (though I guess I loved her a bit less in this one), so I hope she doesn’t actually end up fighting the queens, but that would be quite a showdown. I DO think she might be the destruction of the island as they know it—like maybe she’ll somehow stop things from working the way they are now, but she won’t actually destroy it? I don’t know—might be wishful thinking on my part.

  7. Kerry Garrigan

    Hey just a thought but has anyone asked what entity is behind the twisted tree/ low magic on the island? It appears to be separate from the Goddess or the Dead Queens. After Madigral had sex there she awoke and could perform low magic. Then she had a Beltane begot, of unknown father, who has bicolored eyes, a prophecy about destroying the island, legion curse, and the strongest War and naturalist gifts in generations! And then a second Beltane begot, despite being in a relationship, with another dire (not yet revealed) prophecy

  8. Kerry Garrigan

    Also, we now have a strong elemental, strong naturalist/war gifted, and a strong poisoner and a queen that appears giftless. Maybe Kat is really an oracle and her mother bound her gift. Maybe she planned on the binding to wear off during the ascension year. Maybe the switch was partially to hide Kat and partially to weaken the Arrons. After all if Arsinoe won she would have a naturalist upbringing and if Kat won she would have her sight to guide her and a new found connection to the oracles.

    • Samantha Hall

      I don’t know if their mother would know how to preform low magic. It’s possible that she could have had someone do it for her but the way the look down on low magic it makes it seem as though very few even know how to preform it. Madrigal only knows after sleeping with someone under that tree which still doesn’t fully explain how she just knows everything.

  9. Kerry Garrigan

    One last thing, maybe I missed it but has either of Kat’s sisters realized that, besides being possessed, nobody told Kat that her sisters love her, that Arsinoe did not try to murder her with a bear (before the official start of ascension year) or that Mirabelle was not part of, or aware of, the temple’s plot to rip her apart so Mirabelle could be a white handed queen?

  10. Sandra

    Jules can’t be one of the queens since she is ginger and all queens must have black hair.

    I really hope Katherine is an Oracle, if she turns out to be war gifted it won’t be epic since Jules already stole the spotlight on that one… or at least a naturalist with a very huge snake like Voldemort’s 😀

      • Nareus

        Not just that its the former Queen’s color, though. All the sister’s were stated to have black hair even at the black cottage, thats why they are ‘Three Dark Queens’ or ‘Three Black Sisters.’

  11. Maria

    I think Jules is the 3rd Queen and Kat was never a queen. When Arsinoe is talking to the midwife (Willa) about the switch, Willa says that Arsinoe’s mother was the one that wanted them switched. It says she said the Arrons were not kind and she didn’t like them. If she didn’t want Arsinoe with them, than why would she want her other daughter with them, why switch them then, it’s because she didn’t want any of her daughters (the sister queens) with the Arrons. She knew that Mirrabella would be queen so it didn’t really matter who raised the other girls. I’m thinking she just wanted them to be happy for the short time they had. I think Kat is not one of the sister queens. She is someone else’s daughter, maybe even Madrigal’s. I think Jules is the 3rd sister queen. I think their mother sent Kat to the Arrons saying she was one of the sister queens knowing that she didn’t have a power and how much problems that would cause for the Arrons. That way she was keeping the real sister queens out of the Arrons house. She said Arsinoe was a naturalist and sent her with Jules to live in Wolf Spring. They didn’t tell anyone that Jules was actually a Queen, but told her to watch over Arsinoe. If you notice Jules always says she knew at a young age that she was Arsinoe’s guardian. At the end of the book Jules says “I will remain her guardian until the end” “There are still battles to fight” then Emilia’s says “When your battle is over we will be here”. As soon as the ship makes it out of the storm (the last battle to get Arsinoe and Mirabella off the island), Jules leaves them all without hesitation, and goes back to the island. Jules doesn’t even act like she cares at all, she does’t even say bye, just that the island is where she belongs. Then the mist grabs her back in because it wants her back. If she wasn’t a queen why would the island care and why would she want to go back. I think she was in on it. I think she didn’t want to accept her destiny of Mirrabella being queen and she plotted to get them all to kill each other off so she could be queen. I think she did end up becoming attached to Arsinoe so she didn’t want to end up having her die so getting her off the island was what she decided to do with her. She could care less about Mirrabella, but having her off the island would work too so she just went with it. As far as Joseph, I don’t think he is dead. There would be no point to that whole story line if he was just going to die. I think Joseph and Mirrabella have such a chemistry and it was a destiny for them to get together in book 1. I think Mirrabella is going to nurse him back to health and they are going to be together. I think Arsinoe and Mirrabella are going to find their mother on the mainland and she is going to fill them in. I think Jules is going back to the island to try to claim her crown. Not sure how she will be the downfall of the island, but thinking maybe once she is queen and goes crazy. I think Mirrabella and Arsinoe will come back to the island and end up working with Kat and they will try to save the island and eventually do away with the whole killing off of queens thing.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      You might be right about all of this. It would be interesting if it turned out that Kat is actually Madrigal’s daughter. For some reason, it never occurred to me that Joseph isn’t really dead. I think it would cheapen that scene a bit, but we shall see!

    • Elvira

      I like how if consider your theory, they switched babies to cause troubles in getting the crown for Aarons, but in the end despite being giftless, Kat got her crown even without actually killing her sisters. And you know, that says a lot, even without the gift, Kat almost got her revenge and her crown

  12. Maria

    Also, did you notice how Jules didn’t want Arsinoe to have the book that teachers her about poisoning. She told her she shouldn’t be messing with that book. I’m she Jules just doesn’t want Arsinoe to get good at poisoning. She wants to keep her week in her gift of poisoning. If Jules really was on Arsinioe’s side Jules would be the first one trying to help her get good at the poisoning to use that to her advantage. Jules tries to get Arsinoe to be scared someone will catch her reading the book, since when is Jules scared about someone catching them doing something? Just wait, I’m sure we will find out Jules is up to trouble.

  13. Wendy @ Falconer's Library

    I found the ending of this book to be oddly satisfying. Like, yes, there are threads hanging (the baby, the dead queens, the low magic tree), but I could also see it being the conclusion, albeit a somewhat open ended one. Arisonoe and Mirabella and Billy ride off into the real world to make their way, Jules returns to the island under the protection and tutelage of the war gifted, Kat and Pietr are the final royal couple, coming up with a more reasonable method of succession. I’m glad there are more books to come, but I’m also glad there isn’t this sense of intense cliffhanger, when there’s presumably quite a wait for the next book.

    I am SO GLAD I took your advice and started this series. At first I thought One Dark Throne was going to be less exciting than Three Dark Crowns, but it was definitely a thrilling book too.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I’m really glad that you ended up reading it and loving it!!! I agree that the ending to this one felt complete in some ways (but I think I’d be REALLY sad if that’s how the series ended). Hope Blake can keep it up for two more books! (And a novella, which comes out in a few days.)

  14. Livvia

    Just something to remember, I feel so guilty abut parts of this comment…

    Katharine

    Why make my favourite ‘Evil’? Kendare, you have a lot to explain. And how did Pietyr just forget the wolf ‘Got stabbed twice by the love of my life’ thing? Or the ‘after she stabbed me, she cut her face open’ thing?
    I think that Katharine may possibly have her own gift? Beaus, who ever heard of Shannon, Camille or Nicolas etc communicating with dead queens. Or maybe Kat is the one who will ruin the island, not Jules? Because Kat has killed her king-consort, so won’t be able to have the triplets. (But I think she still could with Pietyr).

    Arsinoe

    I feel really bad about this, but oh well…
    I personally hoped that Arsinoe would have died. that maybe when she ate one chocolate, she ate the only unpoisoned one. Sine Kat said the presents were only for a bit of fun, then she might have wanted one of the Milones to eat it, and be labeled a traitor, or for Arsinoe to think that she’s a poisoner, and so wouldn’t run from Kat during the hunt. ‘Cuz there is no other proof before the arrow that she IS a poisoner, not just a late developer.

    Mirabella

    Does she think she is the savior or something? I thought Kat was right when she said that if you don’t kill, you don’t survive in the family sport. But of course, I’m biased.

    William

    Go to hell, you dirty little flea. Never show your ugly face again. And that does not mean go Arsinoe on me… and yes, I know he’s dead so he can’t actually do that, but still. Screw him.

    Billy

    Sorry to the Billy fan club, but I’m kind of getting bored of him. He is possibly needed for the story line. But I just think he’s clingy. To be honest, I don’t really like any Chatworth, even temporary ones. (Cough JOSEPH SANDRIN cough)

    Natalia

    R.I.P Natalia Arron. And F William Chatworth.

    Pietyr

    Good man, jumping into action and helping Kat. Seriously, if I could pick any book character to date (marry, the whole shebang!) It would eit her be Julian Blackthorn, Jace Herondale or Pietyr (I’m not sure if he’s officially an Arron, but I won’t annoy him like Nicolas did, with Renard.) Arron. If you got my other characters reference, reply please!

    Nicolas
    Don’t you dare touch Kat! Man slut! The second you’re married, and HA that’s why you’re dead. If you’d have waited, like Kat wanted to, then you would still be married. Well, cheated on, but still married.

  15. Livvia

    His is just a short way off theory!

    I was thinking that Fennbirn might be in Ireland, mainly because of the one city/place, Innisfuil is a real place in Ireland. But when it says something about a ‘mum and dad’ I knew that the Irish say Mom and Dad, so then, I went to Scotland. Scotland is a very similar place to both Fennbirn and Ireland. So ya… that’s it lol

  16. Widd

    I personally loved Kat and felt like she’s being very misunderstood. She did explained to mirabella how hard it was growing up . She never had any particular showing with the poisoner gift yet they made her ingest so much poison nearly killing her . Also, unlike arsinoe she didn’t have her own jules and joseph . And well, mirabella was just naturally gifted . She never got a chance to bound with the other sisters and do we forget the part where she was to be made a sacrifice cut in pieces and thrown in the fire ? Or that Arsinoe bear tried to kill her ? She is left in the dark during the whole book but everyone calling her evil for doing something she was told from birth that it was her destiny and no one believed her to be capable of. Also, let’s not forget that she was betrayed by the one person she loved . I just had to put this out cause I really love her and I don’t like how some people are calling her evil and cruel

    • Samantha Hall

      Yeah I agree, also something I never thought of….. Kat has no friends. Arsinoe has Jules and Joeseph, and Luke and Cait and everyone. Mirabella has Bree and Elizabeth and Sarah and Luca. All Kat had was Natalia and she constantly poisoned her and let her sister abuse Kat. I know Kat loved her but it’s kinda like Stockholm syndrome. Anyway when she fibally gets a friend, Pietyr, he throws her in a haunted unending pit. So it’s understood why she would hate her sistees and the happy life they had when she was tortured for 10 years.

  17. Faye

    Kat was actually my favorite character in the first book, I get that she was possessed, but if you were in her shoes wont you go mad as well? Growing up being called a disgrace as a poisoner, deemed as the first one to die and having no one but Natalia to care for her (But Natalia just have to die!). She was also pushed by Pietyr off the tower wherein she had to crawl back to survive (Still wondering how?), Im not really fond of the idea about Jules being the “True Queen” but I agree that she’ll really have an important role to fill in. Can’t wait for Book 3! I WANT TO KNOW THE DAMN TRUTH ALREADY

  18. Cerys

    Katharine really pissed me off. She’s so bloodthirsty and just came across as a bit pychoatic to me. In the scene where the poisoners are celebrating the “killing” of Arsinoe in the inn and the war gifted council member talks about presenting Arsinoe’s lifeless body (get pranked she’s not dead lol) with the bear and Katharine gets angry about this (at disrespecting a dead queen) even goes as far to wanting to pour her poison down Margaret’s throat. In that same scene she even toasts to her “dead” sister and all the poisoners are shook, in this scene I had a little hope that Katharine wasn’t a complete monster but then I realised that this respect she wanted for a dead queen probably was sorced from all the dead queens who were kind of possessing her, “proper burial” was what really stood out for me as all those past queens were thrown in the Breccia Domain. And for godsake I hope Pietyr hasn’t changed, I actually like him. Since Natalia has died, you can really see Genevieve scrambling and really has no idea what she’s doing, in the next book it’ll be interesting to see how the poisoners fare.

    Also, I think the mainland is Britain, as Billy’s mannerisms and how he talks briefly of a few things about the mainland suggest this and I believe would suit a Victorian era Britain. He mentions cricket, I don’t know anything about it but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s predominantly British rather than American? And for my suggested time period, especially.

  19. Daley

    I am still of the firm belief that Jules is the Blue Queen switched out at birth somehow. Maybe a queen so blessed would not even look like the other queens? This theory only seems to be confirmed to me after reading The Young Queens novella. Blue queens are mentioned AGAIN (seemingly out of nowhere), and Jules is mentioned in relation to the color blue for similarly weird reasons (growing blue oat grass with her powers, blue butterflies, blue shirts). I think Kendare is setting us up for a big reveal on that front, but probably not until we least expect it. Even if it isn’t Jules, there’s no way she would mention the Blue Queen this often for no reason! I refuse to believe it.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      So funny because I read The Young Queens and it made me sure that Jules isn’t a fourth queen because they described the birth of the triplets and Jules wasn’t mentioned. BUT you’re right that they do mention the Blue Queen a few more times—suspicious for a short little novella. And the queen did say that the island seemed to be acting strange and she thought something was different about the succession this time. Maybe the fourth queen was somehow born separately? Hmmm…

      • Daley

        That’s fair! I was just thinking of the part at the end of Camille’s little prologue where a pain rips through her and it more or less fades to black (although it could just be that she’s about to kick the bucket, as weak queens do). I thought that that was probably supposed to mean something. Either way, I just feel like it’s too high of a concept to totally disregard. There’s also the fact that the War Gift and Naturalist Gift are rising again (and in book one they say “the gifts rise with the queens”), in spite of the fact that there is no War Queen and no (strong, practicing) Naturalist Queen. It just lends itself so well to theorizing!

        • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

          Yeah, I wondered about that a bit too—I went back and reread it after your comment, and I did think, “Well, I guess she could have slept through the birth of the fourth child?” But, I don’t know. Blake is definitely throwing in a lot of references to the fourth queen thing, though—I agree that it feels like there has to be some kind of tie-in.

  20. Hullofangirl

    Ok so I’m not so sure about Jules being the true queen? It just doesn’t fit for me because it describes the queens looking all alike and Jules obviously doesn’t look anything like them. I feel like maybe in the next book that we’ll have Katherine with the gift of sight Arsinoe with the poisoner gift Mirabella with the elemental and Jules with the war to form maybe a new council combining all the gifts??? I still think Katherine is a naturalist cause she had sweetheart as her familiar and that’s why she’s good with mixing potions and poison cause of her naturalist affinity? I think Katherine will appoint Pietyr as the head of her new council now that Natalia is gone. And the dead forgotten queens liked Katherine because she was weaker but so is Arsinoe so maybe the dead queens might align with both if anything I want to know what their agenda is other than Katherine gaining the throne. I really loved this book because I thought it would wrap it all up but it didn’t so I’m pleasantly surprised !!!

  21. Kerry

    OK, what is up with the Millone curse? Is something sending the two sisters like the Goddess sends the triplets? Why? Are they always Beltane begots like this generation? Is that why Madgail didn’t conceive the entire time on the mainland? Is it connected to the low magic/twisted tree/rock where Jules found Camden? What the heck was up with the no omens? Was something blocking the omens? Why? What’s up with the mist and all the amnesia?

  22. Kaleigh

    I am SO glad there are still two more books. In her blog, Kendare Blake wrote that One Dark Throne ends where it always would have, but now instead of being the last book she’s writing two more. Can you imagine if that ending was all we got? But that does explain why it felt like there were fewer unanswered questions than after the last book.

  23. Samantha Hall

    Ok, so I never really thought about Jules being related to the Queens but it’s an interesting theory. Maybe all the Milones are distantly related because Madrigal says they only have girls and so do the Queens. I don’t agree with her being the daughter of a king-consort because they have no gift, they’re mainlanders so why would he and slightly average Madrigal happen to produce the strongest, two-gifted girl in 60 years. But I do believe her father will play in somewhere. The oracle said she would bring the ruin of the island and maybe she does just not how we think, maybe she brings ruin to the system of triplet Queens that kill each other. Maybe she becomes an elected queen or president like figure. It would “ruin” the island they know now but perhaps create a stronger island. I feel sad for Katherine I realized before the reveal that the two Queens were switched. I always assumed she was a naturalist, I considered sweetpea was her familiar but as a queen she should have something much stronger. I thought maybe Braddock was her familiar which is why Arsinoe had such a strong connection because of the shared bloodline. Also I thought that’s why Kathrine was compelled to keep him instead of kill him. I feel like Joseph will come back somehow just because his death and Jules turning back felt very sudden and rushed. Also if Jules was the one the island was keeping in all along, why couldn’t Arsinoe escape with Billy? Pietyr really annoyed me in this one because he seemed very weak and scared. Anyone there is one major element you forgot here. Madrigals baby. What did she see in this flames that scared her so bad? Was it the result of using low magic to convince Matthew to sleep with her? I assume she used a spell like she tried with Jules and Joseph. Maybe the baby will have something to do with the outcome of who is queen somehow although I’m assuming the spell will curse the baby and disfigure or disable the poor child. Either way, I’m pretty sure this is the last round or triplet Queens on the island of Fennbirn.

  24. . . .

    This isn’t like, a conspiracy or anything… but, does anyone else feel like, a personal grudge/ dislike towards one of the girls?
    I personally didn’t ever believe Arsinoe could be queen. She was too weak and needy.
    But, Kat was really making me freak out because I was like “But my fave is evil! And not the good kind! Now what?” And Mirabella was just a brat, really. Why, Kendare? Why?!

  25. Raegan callahan

    I KNOW WHY KATHARINES GIFT HASNT SHOWN UP.

    Ok my theory makes much more sense if you read the Oracle queen first, so do that because below may spoil it for you.

    I think Katharine has the gift of sight but she’s ingesting poison every day, so her gift, that hasnt shown up yet, is being blocked like Queen Elsabets was.

    Queen Elsabet was the last sight gifted queen because she “went mad and killed 3 full houses of people”. But her gift was being blocked so she stopped having visions BECAUSE SHE WAS BEING POISONED SLOWLY AND LITTLE BY LITTLE EVERY DAY. She couldn’t see her own downfall because she stopped getting visions because she was ingesting a small dose of poison every day for months.

    Katharines gift has never shown up! What community does she grow up in? The poisoner community.

    She’s unknowingly blocking her own gift!!!

    But I think her mother KNEW she had the sight gift and switched her and Arsinoe at birth because sight gifted babies are drowned so there isn’t another episode of “Elsabet The Mad”.

    Plus there was already a long line of poisoner Queens and her mom may have wanted to prevent that from happening again so she switched them at birth, knowing Katharines gift wouldn’t show, Arsinoe’s gift wouldn’t show, both would be considered a “weak queens” and eventually Mirabella would be the “favored queen” because SHES THE ONLY ONE WHOS GIFTS ARE SHOWING.

    Growing up in the wrong communities prevented 2 of the queens gifts from showing.

    • Kate

      There’s also a story before The Oracle Queen called The Young Queens. It explains more about Arsinoe and Katharine.

      • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

        Yes! The Young Queens actually sheds light on a bunch of things! I just reread that one and read The Oracle Queen in preparation for reading book three in the series, and I’m planning on putting up a spoiler-filled discussion of the novellas on Monday!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I just read The Oracle Queen, and you’re so right! It didn’t even occur to me that Katharine’s gift might have been suppressed by the poison, but that makes so much sense after reading The Oracle Queen. Of course, Katharine basically is poison now, so I’m not sure how she’d get around that.

  26. Amelie

    Okay okay okay. So. My theory was that Arsinoe and Mirabella would end up ruling together because of the book titles (Three Dark Crowns – the introduction of the three queens)
    (One Dark Throne – Katharine is now decided queen and takes the throne)
    (Two Dark Reigns – my prediction of Katharine and Mirabella working together to rule side by side).

    Now I’m a little unsure of this theory because you said there are 4 books??
    But anyway that was my theory for a WHILE. I’m only semi confident though so idk.

  27. Kate

    There is a pre-quel called the Queens of Fennbirn and it has two stories first about the three queens when they were little, called The Young Queens and the second story called the Oracle Queen.

    The first story talks about when Arsinoe, Katharine, and Mirabella were born and says their mother switched Katharine and Arsinoe.

    I can’t wait for Katharine to get her gift.

    Who knows what is to come for the third book!

  28. Alayna

    Ok I know I’m really late but I JUST finished ODT and I am FREAKING OUT! After reading some other comments I have a lot of little theories that fit into one huge big picture. So here are some little things that will fit into it:

    1. So, the poisoner and naturalist were switched at birth, and we know Arsinoe is the poisoner, but there is no proof Kat is a naturalist…AT ALL. However, Jules is. And the strongest in generations at that.

    2. Random thoughts about Jules. The oracle said Jules would bring the fall of the island. Jules looks nothing like the rest of her family. No one knows who her father is (however, it’s possible Madge isn’t even her mother). At the end of the book, Arsinoe noticed that it seemed like Jules was truly the one the mist was trying to keep on the island.

    3. It is VERY POSSIBLE Jules and Kat were switched at birth. Kat seems like she has no power, or at least just has a war gift, as we know it’s been weakening on the island.

    So, the queens would be
    Poisoner: Arsinoe
    Elemental: Mirabella
    Naturalist: Jules

    That, or Kat is just a giftless naturalist and Jules is a Blue Queen, because it’s possible Camille’s king-consort is Jules’ father, but Madge still is her mother, still making her a queen. She could very well be the one who defeats Kat and becomes queen with Arsinoe and Mirabella gone to the Mainland, with all that confusion and craziness being the reason Jules brings the fall of the island, because no one knew what to do.

    Side note: Madge could also be a weak oracle…after doing that low magic with Arsinoe once she got pregnant, she had visions of her baby. OR, her baby is the one that is sight gifted, and Madge is just crazy powerful or something, having given birth to both a (possibly) sight gifted child and legion cursed child.

    What a wild ride. So excited for Book 3!!!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Oh, I agree with you on so many points here! I have a lot to say about this, but most of the things I’m thinking might be spoilers for The Young Queen and/or The Oracle Queen, and I don’t know if you’ve read them yet. (If you haven’t, you should!) I’m planning to write a spoiler-filled discussion of the novellas to be posted on Monday, so go there if you want to see my thoughts!!

  29. Thamyres

    I have a theory: the Goddess never wanted just one queen. I think that somehow, in the past, a queen killed her two sisters as a political act. I think that’s why Mirabella and Arsinoe can get out of the island. That’s why the gifts are fading (war and vision), that’s why the queens are getting weaker. That’s why the murdered queens are so angry. Mirabella and Arsinoe will discoverer this and go back to the island to fix it. One more thing: some religions, like Wicca, see the goddess with three faces: the maiden, the mother and the crone; the phases of the moon (new moon= is the fourth queen?!)… Or, maybe, three kinds of witches?

  30. Madlin

    First let me say, this review/discussion is absolutely wonderfully wrote. I just finished the book today, it was 10/10 incredible. I had my suspicions about Jules being a queen, it’s a theory I really like. But, I have one of my own about Katherine and Peityr, at the end of the book Katherine kills Nicholas after he beds her. Katherine is appalled, of course, stating that she was completely made of poison, no one could survive bedding her and she could not carry triplets. Well…. Peityr is a poisoner… if he laid with her he could survive, not only that, but their children would be poisoners and likely able to survive. Katherine could still give birth to the triplets. She could simply lie and say Nicholas got her pregnant the night they were together.

  31. Medusa

    I am SO glad this thread exists because I finished One dark throne last night and seriously cannot handle waiting 40 more days for the next book. Anyway so here’s a bunch of thoughts

    1. Alright so everyone eventually realized Arsinoe is a poisoner. But what about Braddock? I’m pretty sure nobody knows about her low magic shtick at this point, so why aren’t people throwing a fit like “oh gawd we have a legion cursed queen. poisoner and naturalist. the agony”??

    2. How does Genevieve, who isn’t exactly the brightest cookie in the box, immediately realize Kat is made of poison when she sees her dead dudebro? This just didn’t make sense to me?

    3. Theories about Kat being a naturalist. At first I was like “oh that explains her affinity with her snake. So is Sweetheart her familiar?” but then again, Sweetheart is dead and replaced and Kat had no clue so I guess not

    4. Joseph was such a shitstick I’m kind of glad he got killed off and I hope he stays dead tbh. Ain’t nobody got time for him.

    5. WHAT. DID. PIETYR. SEE. IN. THE. BRECCIA. DOMAIN. also how do you pronounce his name even

    6. THE BRECCIA DOMAIN THOUGH

    7. I love how possessed Kat was written. To me it really wasn’t obvious or overdone, we just got glimpses of it, enough to make you think about it yourself instead of just giving it away immediately. Dang.

    8. Moment of silence for all the horses that suffered in these books amirite

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      YES about the Breccia Domain! That is a mystery that nobody seems to mention, but it seems like one of the biggest mysteries of the book to me. Something had to have gone down there with Pietyr. He didn’t just take a nice little visit and leave with no consequences—I can’t believe that.

  32. Val

    Through both books, which I read back to back, I can say four things with ease:

    1. I’m extremely confused with what happened regarding Natalia.

    2. Jules is in no way related to the three queens maternally, but possibly paternally.

    3. Pietyr is by far the most underdeveloped character and I feel that we should get to learn more about him.

    4. I personally believe Katharine has a gift not seen in an extremely long time, and that is why she is able to harbor the previous queens’ spirits.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      1. What part of the Natalia thing are you confused about? She’s dead now, so you probably don’t have to worry about it. 🙂

      2. I wonder if it’s paternal as well. There are some additional clues in the two novellas if you haven’t read those.

      3. I’m hoping that we learn what the heck went on with Pietyr in the Breccia Domain in the next book!

      4. Could very well be true. I’m not convinced she’s actually a Naturalist (but one commenter presented a really good theory based on The Oracle Queen, so read that novella, if you haven’t).

  33. Arreiannna

    At the end of book one when Arisone was revealed to be a poisoner, I thought she was switched with kathrine who was actually the Naturalist. My main reason is that all Naturalists have a familiar and Kathrine had a pet snake that she had a close bond with like one between a Naturalist and its familiar. But then the snake was killed and switched out so she wouldn’t notice.

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