Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Oracle Queen

The Oracle Queen (Three Dark Crowns #0.1)

Wow. What a story. I'm not sure what to say about this one, other than to read it. Especially if you're a fan of the series. It's not technically necessary to read this to enjoy the larger series, but it will add a lot to the background- and we finally get to see the truth of the oracle queen story that has been referenced a few times. And it's a doozy. Much like the other Three Dark Crowns novella The Young Queens, this one shows us a youthful Mirabella, Arsinoe and Katherine- but only for the prologue. The rest of the novella tells us the story of Queen Elsabet, the last of the oracle queens. 

Elsabet seems like a fine ruler, young and inexperienced, but there are currents of treachery all around her, and the machinations and political intrigue in the story will be very familiar to fans of the Three Dark Crowns books. In a lot of ways this reminds me of Game of Thrones, for the absolutely ruthless way alliances are made and betrayals are hatched. The story of Elsabet is a cautionary tale in the time of Mirabella and her sisters, a warning against the paranoia of a sight gift gone awry. After all girls with the sight gift now are drowned, so whatever Elsabet did must have been bad? After all, she is said to have killed three houses on that infamous day. 

This novella give us the story of that day, and I thought it was really powerful to go back and read the prologue after finishing it. The prologue is from Mirabella's perspective and finds her musing on the tale of Elsabet, which her and her sisters have learned just that day. Mirabella wonders how much of the story is true, and as I mentioned above, this novella gives us that information. I can say that this was gripping, even though it's mostly political intrigue- we already know from the main series how ruthless the factions are, and how not everything is as it seems- clearly this was the case five hundred years ago as well, in  Elsabet's era. And we get some insights into other aspects of Fennbirn's history, including the fact that the mist was not protecting Fennbirn yet at that time, and that their interactions with the outside world were very different. 

I can't recommend this enough. It's a good tale even if you've never read Three Dark Crowns, but for someone into the series it will add a lot. This makes me even more anxious for the next book! 


SPOILERS

Not even sure where to start, there's so much to discuss here. I'll start by expressing my horror at the ending- I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, since we know how it ends, but to see what befell Elsabet made me mad! And if I didn't like the Arron house, I really don't like them now! I mean they're about as bad as house Lannister from Game of Thrones. I liked Elsabet, and was gutted when Bess was killed. And Jonathan's family... man, that was tough. What makes it even more galling is that in Mirabella's time, none of this is challenged- everyone believes that Elsabet went mad. It's enough to make me hope that in the main series someone sets the record straight! 

41 comments:

  1. I had not heard of this but the series sounds really interesting, I will go and check it out now :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've not heard of this series before. I will take a look.
    Lynn :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like it a lot, I had never read KEndare Blake before this series.

      Delete
  3. I've seen this series and read great reviews for it, but maybe this is a great place to be introduced to the series/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not bad. You could definitely read this before Three Dark crowns and it would make more sense?

      Delete
  4. I have not heard of this one before but I am on a quest to expand my genres! Great review Greg.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love when there is a novella that is part of a series and makes for some fantastic extra reading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too, this one and the other novella she recently released have been great additions!

      Delete
  6. I'm not reading this series, but I've always loved the book covers. I do love when authors write novellas to fill in some of the blanks in their original story😊

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do too, I know sometimes the novellas don't add much but in this case they seem so relevant.

      Delete
  7. That cover is so stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I didn't know about this one but it does sound good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are pretty good, they get better and better!

      Delete
  9. I haven’t read this series yet but I can never quite make myself read novellas. I really should.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that they're quick and they add something, at least in this case.

      Delete
  10. I haven't started this series yet but I liked Anna Dressed in Blood by her.

    So this is a novella connected to the series?

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, this is set several hundred years before the series and goes into depth on a story that we hear about in the present time- and I suspect will play a role down the line.

      Delete
  11. I recently got Three Dark Crowns as a very cheap e-book, and now you've got me super excited to read it and the novella!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh it's good, hope you love it!

      Delete
  12. oh this one looks great! You made me curious there and I confess that I didn't know about it

    ReplyDelete
  13. I just put this one on hold at the library. Blake has made me change my mind about novellas. I don't usually bother with them, but I felt like I learned some important things in the last novella, and I want more before book 3 is released.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay!! I don't usually read novellas either, although lately I've caught myself doing it more? But in this case they add a lot and they're so easy to read!

      Delete
  14. I only read the first one, I liked it but then I was so disappointed by the ending and that it felt like the story went nowhere that I didnt’ continue. Maybe I will now that all the books are out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually books three and four are still to be released, but the sequel to book one was better (I thought) and the two novellas that have been released add something also.

      Delete
  15. I haven't read this series, but I feel like I've read something else by this author... The Goddess, no! The Antigoddess, right? I remember it being dark but good. Have you read that one? How does it compare to this one? I trust you when you say "read it," so I'll definitely check it out!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not read anything by Kendare Blake other than these, so I can't compare, but based on these I would definitely try other books of hers. And thank you! I do recommend these pretty highly :)

      Delete
  16. Oh sweet! I wasn't thrilled with the first book but I like this author's work so I knew I would continue it. Looks like I was right. Need to pick the rest up now. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I still haven't read Three Dark Crowns and now I feel even more behind D:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well the novellas are pretty short so you're not too far behind. :) And if you do give this series a plunge I hope you like it- I think it's a lot of fun!

      Delete
  18. It's great when you finally get to see the background/explanation of something that's been referenced a lot. And it sounds like this novella was really intense and gripping!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True! And this WAS intense, more so than I expected- that and I was way more invested than I expected to be from a novella.

      Delete
  19. I tried a few books by the author many years ago but none really suited me. The Game of Thrones vibe to this one sounds interesting though.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I really liked her first duology (Someone Dressed in Blood? Anna? I can't remember the exact title). But something is keeping me from reading these. There are SO many royal-themed YA fantasies that I just don't feel compelled to read any of them.
    Jen Ryland Reviews

    ReplyDelete
  21. Novellas can be so tricky but I love when an author does them right and they end up adding to a series without being absolutely necessary. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I have Three Dark Crowns on my summer tbr list. I heard mixed things about it but I do like Blake's writing so I'll give it a go.

    ReplyDelete