Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3) by Kendare Blake

Finally, a book I picked for meeeeee!

Nothing against the books sent to me for work, here or at, but dang, it’s nice to have free time again and the luxury of leisurely selecting from my back catalog, so to speak, what I’d like to read next. So, of course, I chose to enjoy the magnificent Kendare Blake’s magnificent Two Dark Reigns, silently screaming nearly throughout with emotion. Poor Katharine! I don’t normally have a lot of sympathy for murderous royalty but the poor girl has been stripped of so much agency that it feels almost churlish to blame her for all the bad shit she winds up doing.

Anyway, Katharine is queen now but not everyone is happy about it. The two weakest powered groups on Fennbirn — the oracles and the wargifted — are more than ready to elevate Jules to power, paving the way for a new system of government devoid of the Goddess’ blessing. Meanwhile, Arsinoe and Mirabella are navigating life off the island, but supernatural compulsions start pointing them back, having to do with the legacy of the last Blue Queen of Fennbirn, the fourth-born sister who immediately ascended the throne, dooming her siblings to death mere hours from the womb. Illian (sp? Sorry, I don’t have my Kindle handy) was a powerful elemental who created the mist that protects Fennbirn from the mainland and died aaaaaaages ago, so why would her ghost show up to two abdicating queens now?

I think my favorite part of this book was the way it portrayed the characters’ necessarily shifting allegiances and aims as they reacted to events and to each other: it was a shockingly sophisticated look at politics given that this is “merely” a YA fantasy novel. It’s hard not to root for each of the triplet queens as they struggle to break the chains of received history in order not only to survive but to preserve their beloved island. Honestly, the only non-triplet character I cared about was Billy, though Daphne-in-the-past was pretty cool too. And lol, the ending. Er, not the prophecy part (I’m pretty sure Arsinoe just assumed the worst, for some reason,) but the Pietyr part. He got what he deserved.

The WORST part of this book was ending it and discovering that the next (and last?) book in the series comes out in September. I’d thought that the whole series was completed so am just stewing at how much longer I have to wait than anticipated. That said, it’s back to the reading mines I go; hopefully, I will return here sooner rather than later!

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