Rating: 5 out of 5
Synopsis: The second book in the Falconer trilogy is packed with surprises and suspense. 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. Rich with imaginative detail, action, fae lore, and romance, The Vanishing Throne is a thrilling sequel to The Falconer.
Spoiler-free Review: The Falconer is one of my favorite series, yet it’s one I haven’t recommended to others until now. That’s because book 1, The Falconer, had such an abrupt cliffhanger it would have been cruel to get others emotionally invested. However, now that The Vanishing Throne is officially out, it’s time to sing my praises for this series and author.
A Vanishing Throne picks up a few months after the aforementioned abrupt ending of The Falconer. For those who have read it, you know that Aileana failed to close the seal and thus the sìthichean have been released. As you can deduce- this has had a devasting impact not only on Edinburgh, but the world. This in turn transforms the series from a story about a debutante who secretly hunts fae, to a story about human survival. Since I can’t go into details without spoiling the book, I’ll instead touch on the areas that make this book so phenomenal: the characters, relationship development, and world-building.
The protagonist, Aileana, is one of my literary favorites. She’s clever, witty, and above all, resilient. I appreciate that she’s not infallible and doesn’t always succeed in her endeavors. Most notably, not closing the seal and dooming the human race. In book 2 she must deal with the effects of her failures and endures tremendous suffering at the hands of Lonnrach. However, she perseveres and we see growth in her character and new maturity emerge.
We also finally start to understand Kieran and more of his past is revealed. It’s not pretty. Kieran is not a good person- or rather, sìthichean. He knows this, and while he doesn’t embrace it, he feels no remorse and is completely unapologetic about it. He’s no stereotypical prince charming or bad boy with a heart of gold, he’s complex and damnable- but this makes him profoundly alluring.
Additionally, new characters come into play, both human and sìthichean. While some are only there to move the plot along- others, specifically Aithinne, quickly became my favorite. If you recall from book 1, Aithinne is Kieran’s sister and helped create the seal. Unfortunately, she also became trapped inside with the other sìthichean. For thousands of years. Sìthicheans who hated her. Heinous, vicious, cruel sìthicheans. It’s hard to say if the suffering she endured has left her a bit off, or if that her natural personality. Either way, she’s endearing and highly entertaining.
Moving on to the relationship development: we see new friendships formed and others continued, but the pièce de résistance of the novel is the relationship development with Aileana and Kieran. Book 1 had a subtle undercurrent of tension and romance intertwined with action and killing. Book 2 explores this and gives the reader plenty of ‘feels.’ You will not be left wanting, nor will you be deluged with romance. This book achieves a balance very few in the genre attain.
Finally, I want to briefly address the world-building. Book 1 left us a lot of questions about the seal, the Falconers, and the sìthichean world. This is addressed fully in book 2 and we are thrown some fascinating twists. The storyline comes together and although I don’t want to give anything away- I will say it is good.
Of course what really brings the elements above together is the writing and pace. I mentioned in my review of The Falconer that Elizabeth May is an exceptional writer and The Vanishing Throne continues to highlight this. The pace and flow are just right. There’s action, romance, friendship, witty banter, and excellent dynamic between all the characters. And while the end is does leave us wanting more, it is thankfully not a terrible cliffhanger.
Reviewed by: Pamela J.
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