“Only a fool would love a queen.” -Pietyr (Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake)
I received the first book in this series a little over a year ago in an OwlCrate subscription box. Admittedly, it took me a little while to pick up the first book, but when I did I really enjoyed it. It isn’t my favorite series of all time, but it is definitely one I am interested in reading until its end. I still don’t know which of the queens is my favorite, since I bounce around depending on the book, or the situation they find themselves in.
When I went to read the third book, the most recent, I was in the middle of my finals week in my fourth year of college (also known as three weeks before I finished the book). I wasn’t able to give it the time it deserved, but finally, I was able to pick it up and make it to the dreaded halfway point. I am a strong believer that the second half of a book goes exponentially faster than the first. I sped through the last half in two days, reading when I was inspired to.
As I was reading, I was thinking about what I thought was the ideal outcome for all the characters, given their current living status. I truly believe that Katharine should be with Pietyr. He cares for her, just as she does him. He wants her to be safe, even though he was the one that pushed her into the Breccia Domain. He is the one that made her strong enough to be the queen crowned and overcome her lack of poisoner gift.
Arsinoe is really in the place she needs to be, maybe not on the Mainland, but with Billy, and with her sister. She is with people who love her whom she loves. They are all willing to risk their lives for one another, but separate, they will not be able to achieve their goals. Perfect symbiosis.
Mirabella is a character I am still trying to crack. Unfortunately, I still see her as the one who was groomed for the crown where her sisters were not. She received the advantage by being raised by the temple. That isn’t her fault through. I feel as if she is a lot like Queen Illiann, who we learn about in this book. Illiann’s sisters were all killed or left for dead because she was an unexpected fourth child in her mother’s womb, therefore being the superior child and the one destined for the crown.
Of course, all three sisters play their part in the overall story that is being told. Most people are able to choose a favorite, and I just can’t. They each have their merits. If Arsinoe and Katharine had been raised in their correct households with the correct gifts, would everything be different? We will never know.
As for Jules, the constant friend of Arsinoe, has her own secret gift come forward. She has a war gift and is being called the Legion Queen by those who want to rebel against the crown. Emilia, another war gifted woman, is leading the charge of the rebels. I totally ship them. I am getting it out there now, and I will be sorely disappointed if I don’t get any romance between them in the final installment of the series.
We learn about blade-women in this book, which is a warrior same-sex lovership. Emilia’s mother had one with Margaret Beaulin, who was formerly on the Black Council. I think we really learn about this because Emilia and Jules are going to bond in this special way. In fact, they may already have, but Jules is still too busy mourning Joseph to take notice of the wonderful woman in front of her. Emilia has an obvious crush on Jules, and I cannot wait to see if it develops the way I want it to.
If you know of any good fanfiction of the series, please send it my way. I’m desperate to get my hands on something to satiate my hunger for the couplings I’m shipping.