The Three Dark Crowns series has been a bit hit or miss for me, which is such a shame because it started off SO well but there have been a few pitfalls here and there along the way. Two Dark Reigns is the third book in the ‘Dark’ tetralogy and it’s been a very mixed bag for me. It’s sad to say, but I’m losing interest in the world that Blake has created.
At this point, I’m still reading, and still holding on, for Katherine. I love her character; always have and always will and I’ve been routing for her since day one. I want her on the throne and her story arc is one of the most interesting parts of the Dark saga.
But unfortunately I’ve become a victim of my own over-excitement for Two Dark Reigns – however I’m not so sure that without my own over-hype I wouldn’t have noticed that Two Dark Reigns, like One Dark Throne, is another book where nothing really happens. There was not a lot of advancement of the main plot at all, and it makes me worry that the next book is either going to be novella sized, or need a significant portion of the rainforest to print! But back to the point…where was the plot?! I need my plot to want to read more!
Yet despite all of this, I can’t quite shake this series off. It’s not a hate-read series like the Red Queen series and it’s not a DNF series like The Cruel Prince – I still bought Two Dark Reigns on release day, and I’ll likely do the same for Five Dark Fates when it comes out. The only difference now is that after one explosive start and two semi-disappointing reads, my expectations will be significantly lowered.
“The naturalist queen was left in the forest, for the earth and the animals. The little doomed oracle was drowned in the stream. By the time the elemental queen was placed on the tiny raft, to be pushed out into the water and on to the sea, both she ans the midwife were weeping.”
Three Dark Crowns was amazing, One Dark Throne was slow and tedious and now Two Dark Reigns is a bloated, fourth book set-up. Nothing important happens in Two Dark Reigns because it is only interested in setting up the final book and the inevitable final showdown, and that makes it no fun to read. I know that Blake is probably trying to make the fourth book as intense as the first, but the way to do that isn’t by using this book as prep.
Honestly, the only thing I got out of Two Dark Reigns is that the mist is evil and that Jules is raising and leading a rebellion.
Ok, on to the characters.
It’s not a secret to anyone who has read my previous reviews on this series but, once more for the people in the back, I fucking hate Jules! I’ve never liked her character and I’m angry at how important she’s become in the story. Two Dark Reigns was far too much Jules. She was the main character for fucks sake. The whole prophecy story is utter bullshit and I’m so over it, but unfortunately I’m just going to have to soldier on.
“That she is a poisoner in the most literal sense, her whole body toxic to the touch.”
Arsinoe was the second main character, which also sucked because she’s the boring queen for me now –it used to be Mirabella. I got serious Aria Stark vibes from her in Two Dark Reigns which was irritating. Arsinoe’s dreams about The Blue Queen would have made an amazing novella, but felt shoehorned in here.
Mirabella was barely in this book, she was practically just a side character and support for Arsinoe’s story.
Katherine, my queen, was hardly around as well. She’s got the best story line and it is completely wasted here. Her chapters were definitely my favourite ones, but I was there was less explain-y and more do-y!
So, back on Fennbirn we are introduced to a few more characters who are nowhere near compelling enough to refresh the story – which hasn’t gone anywhere for two books now and it’s getting boring. There’s no drama, and what little there is is incredibly tame – it’s like high school all over again.
“Katherine’s eyes glitter, and Madrigal recoils. The dead queens do not like her. They would stomp down hard on her pretty black bird and leave nothing but a red mess and feathers.”
But on a good note – the body count went up! No, not any of the queens unfortunately, but it’s a start. I’m glad someone finally died. Were they a major character? No, but it moved the plot along for once.
Part of me really wishes that this series was a duology. There’s nothing wrong with that. Give me two meaty, action-packed books full of twists, plot and death over four long-winded, slow books any day. It’s been going on too long now, and I just want a satisfying end.
All in all, Two Dark Reigns has done little more than add another book to the series, without advancing the plot. We’re no closer to the conclusion of this story and it’s getting old. A lot seemed to happen, yet nothing happened. Here let me break it down for you: undead queen possession, killer mist, a Leigon curse, ghosts, mistaken identity, mysterious dreams and an exorcism. Yet we are no further on in the plot! Can we please go back to the first book where it was Queen’s actually trying to kill each other? PLEASE? I really miss that.
I can’t figure out what the second reign was either – the first is undoubtedly Katherine’s, but what was the second? Was it Jules’s brief time as leader of the rebellion, or the Blue Queen…what was it?
All I can say is that after all of this, this series better not end with the three sisters living happily ever after and Jules being queen.
“She is different. But she is still not a queen.”
[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review – all the opinions are honest and my own.
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