Author: Kendare Blake
Narrator: Amy Landon
Audiobook Length: 12 hours 16 minutes
While Arsinoe, Mirabella, and Katharine all have their own scores to settle, they aren’t the only queens stirring things up on Fennbirn Island.
Queen Katharine has waited her entire life to wear the crown. But now that she finally has it, the murmurs of dissent grow louder by the day. There’s also the alarming issue of whether or not her sisters are actually dead—or if they’re waiting in the wings to usurp the throne.
Mirabella and Arsinoe are alive, but in hiding on the mainland and dealing with a nightmare of their own: being visited repeatedly by a specter they think might be the fabled Blue Queen. Though she says nothing, her rotting, bony finger pointing out to sea is clear enough: return to Fennbirn.
Jules, too, is in a strange place—in disguise. And her only confidants, a war-gifted girl named Emilia and her oracle friend Mathilde, are urging her to take on a role she can’t imagine filling: a legion-cursed queen who will lead a rebel army to Katharine’s doorstep.
This is an uprising that the mysterious Blue Queen may have more to do with than anyone could have guessed—or expected.
Two Dark Reigns is the third novel (out of four) for the Three Dark Crowns series. The first novel started slower building to a more dramatic second novel. This one does a similar pattern where it builds a lot towards what will most likely be a dramatic conclusion with the fourth novel. There is more action in this novel compared to the first, but not as much as the third. For me, this was one of the better of the series as it had a great mix of action and description. Since the series is continuous, this review contains spoilers for the previous novels.
Katharine has been crowned Queen of Fennbirn, but not everyone accepts this conclusion based on how she got there. She has waited for this moment her whole life and has a difficult time accepting that the people continue to murmur about her not being the rightful ruler. The original assumption for everyone is that Mirabella and Arsinoe are no longer threats after they disappeared and are believed on some level to be dead. Katharine also has the possession of the dead queens within her. The struggle within Katharine was interesting as she wants to do things her way, but the inner queens want to do things another way. I am very curious how this will all be settled in the next novel.
On the mainland, Arsinoe and Mirabella are in hiding after their escape at the end of the second book. Although this part of the story was a little slow, it was nice for the two sisters to become further acquainted with each other. The island wants them to return, as they all need to finish what they started and only have one sister left standing. This includes Arsinoe being “haunted” by the dead Blue Queen. They return to the island to find that Jules is now not only legion cursed (possessed with two gifts instead of the usual one), but she has joined a rebellion. These rebels, including Emilia, who becomes closer to Jules, want Jules to be the new Queen. I continued to have a difficult time with Jules’s character, as I do not like the forced feeling for her to become a main character. She started as an amazing support system for Arsinoe, but over the three novels, it almost seems that she is not in the forefront and Arsinoe (and her sisters) are pushed to the side. While I am okay with the possibility for a secondary character to become the main, I would have like a little more build up starting in the first novel. I will have to see what actually happens, but I do not see myself being a fan of the series if this trend continues and it seems that the three main characters (the sisters) are pushed to the side.
While I am not rooting for Katharine to prevail, I did enjoy her and Pietyr. Their relationship is not direct as it is not perfect, but I enjoyed their interactions and support for the other. They add a new layer of deception to the story as their portion is not straightforward. I will be curious how their story goes in the next novel. With Joseph out of the picture, I am disappointed that there is no one there for Mirabella in terms of a love interest. She has grown on me as a character and I wish she had someone there to support aside from Billy and Arsinoe. Now Billy continues to be sweet and I hope that he continues to be in the next novel. I love him and Arsinoe together and I hope they have a somewhat happy ending. Arsinoe continues to have my vote to be the final Queen, but I would be fine with Mirabella, too.
Overall, there are many characters to track now that this book leads to the conclusion. There are many loose ends to tie up, so I am curious if the author will wrap up everything or leave some of them for the reader to insinuate the ending. With the “four” queen prospects, I have a feeling how this will all end and I hope that I am wrong. It was nice to see life on the Mainland compared to Fennbirn, so I curious if this will have any effect on the final novel or if it was just extra since some of the characters were there. I cannot wait to see how the fourth novel will turn out as this series continues to have a ton of potential and I hope it is not a letdown.