I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer, #2) by Elizabeth May
Series: The Falconer #2
Published: June 21st 2016 by Chronicle Books
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk, Young Adult
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The Vanishing Throne is the second book in the Falconer trilogy by Elizabeth May. It’s a series about a young woman who defies societal convention to fight the fae, who aren’t the pretty Disney type, but rather are evil incarnate.
If you read The Falconer back in 2014 like I did, you’ll probably have completely forgotten the plot. I recommend a re-read, or at least reading some reviews, because The Vanishing Throne picks up right where the first book leaves off, which was on a MAJOR cliffhanger. If you haven’t read The Falconer, I’m about to spoil you big time if you keep reading. You have been warned.
So, in a twist that’s completely unlike most YA novels I’ve ever read, The Falconer ended when Aileana failed to save the world. Instead, she was captured by a sadistic fae named Lonnrach, who imprisons and tortures her for what feels like an eternity, because the fae world doesn’t operate by the same rules of time and space as our own. Aileana thinks that she’s the only one left alive, and her guilt at failing is almost as bad as Lonnrach’s punishment. He’s torturing her because he thinks that she knows something that will help him take control of all of the fae kingdoms. Aileana is eventually rescued, but not before the survivor’s guilt and torture have seriously fucked with her psyche. Meanwhile, a few people have survived the fae apocalypse, and they’ve banded together and made their own bargains to try to stay alive.
The Vanishing Throne is hella dark, and it’s glorious. I love the fact that Aileana did not in fact succeed in the first book, because let’s face it, that’s how life is, and it makes a much better story. Rather than a la-dee-dah happy ending, we see Aileana get thrown down, and then pull herself back up and kick fae ass. But in this novel, it’s not so black-and-white, because we learn more of the backstory about why the fae are the way they are. It isn’t because they’re intrinsically evil, but because their entire world is broken, and there are systemic forces at work that have led to the current chaos. The violence didn’t happen in a vacuum. And the story in The Vanishing Throne is also reflection of our own world, and the way that things that happened many years ago can have repercussions for generations. And while force may feel like a solution, it doesn’t get at the root of the actual problem.
When I read The Falconer, I couldn’t get over how mind-blowingly awesome it was. The Vanishing Throne is even better, and I can’t wait for book three!