“The girl whose gift is chaos. Death is her burden. Wherever she goes, it follows. They say she can either save the world or end it” – Elizabeth May, The Vanishing Throne (p. 278)
The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May is the second book in The Falconer Trilogy (you can find my review for The Falconer here), released on July 21st, 2016. Just like the first, the second book in The Falconer trilogy is packed with surprises, suspense and romance, as the protagonists are forced to make impossible decisions in the battle against evil.
Aileana Kameron, the Falconer, disappeared through the portal that she was trying to close forever. Now she wakes up in the fae world, trapped and tortured by the evil Lonnrach. With the help of an unexpected ally, Aileana re-enters the human world, only to find everything irrevocably changed. Edinburgh has been destroyed, and the few human survivors are living in an uneasy truce with the fae, while both worlds are in danger of disappearing altogether. Aileana holds the key to saving both worlds, but in order to do so she must awaken her latent Falconer powers. And the price of doing that might be her life (Chapters.Indigo.ca).
If I liked The Falconer, I absolutely adored The Vanishing Throne. Where The Falconer had jarring mood shifts and problems with plot flow, The Vanishing Throne was a seamless piece of work. Rich with imaginative detail, action, fae lore, and romance, The Vanishing Throne is a thrilling sequel to The Falconer.
What I Liked:
- Aileana (Kam)’s continued perseverance and strength. As far as strong female leads go, Aileana is definitely up there. She has endured a lot at this point – the loss of her mother, torture, and the destruction of everything she knew at the hands of her tormentor, Lonnrach. Despite being broken and humbled, Aileana pushes onwards, never once wavering in her crusade against the fae who have destroyed her world. She is willing to give anything, even her life, to give a safe home back to those she loves, irregardless of what it means for her own future.
- May’s continued portrayal of strong female characters, Aileana aside. Catherine, and Aithinne, in particular, are excellent examples of strong women in a society which wishes to oppress and/or destroy them. Catherine has overcome her gentle upbringing to survive in a world on fire, her strong personality guiding her and those around her as they navigate a world much changed by the events that destroyed their home. Aithinne, Kiaran’s sister, displays a much different strength in her quiet demeanor, letting her powers speak for themselves, and never capitulating to anyone, even in the face of immense danger in fear. Truly, May has crafted some exceptionally strong female characters here, and I love it.
- Aileana and Kiaran (Kadamach’s) slow-burning love – seriously, its maddening and enthralling and perfectly written, with just the right amount of push and pull from both players. Aileana is afraid to give into her feelings, because of her uncertainty regarding the future, and the mysteries of Kiaran’s past; Kiaran is equally reserved, but for him, it’s because he knows the monster that lurks in his past. As the two continue their maddening dance, secrets are revealed, and finally they make a decision regarding their feelings for one another.
What I Didn’t Like:
- The ending of this book was just too much. Seriously, after the ending of The Falconer, I think May owed her readers a nice, easy end to at least one book. But no, readers are left with a heart-wrenching, fast-paced cliff-hanger once again, that like The Falconer felt rushed and far too sudden, considering the pace of the rest of the book.
- That being said, there were once again some minor issues with the pacing of the story, but overall, it was quite well-done.
I simply can’t say enough about this book. The Vanishing Throne, like its predecessor, is simply under rated and does not receive nearly enough attention for its quality of writing, portrayal of strong female characters or its refreshingly original story. As with The Falconer, The Vanishing Throne had minor issues with storytelling, and the magic system is still a bit muddled to me (on account of the overwhelming amount of fae types, mostly), but these minor issues were largely overshadowed by the positives. I cannot wait for The Fallen Kingdom, and I hope it will be every bit as engaging and entertaining as the rest of this trilogy has been! (4.5/5)