Author: Elizabeth May
Genre: Young Adult | Historical Fantasy | Fae | Romance
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: June 21, 2016
Everything she loved is gone.
Trapped. Aileana Kameron, the Falconer, disappeared through the fae portal she was trying to close forever. Now she wakes in an alien world of mirrors, magic, and deception—a prisoner of the evil fae Lonnrach, who has a desperate and deadly plan for his new captive.
Tortured. Time after agonizing time Lonnrach steals Aileana’s memories, searching for knowledge to save his world. Just when she’s about to lose all hope, Aileana is rescued by an unexpected ally and returns home, only to confront a terrifying truth. The city of Edinburgh is now an unrecognizable wasteland. And Aileana knows the devastation is all her fault.
Transformed. The few human survivors are living in an underground colony, in an uneasy truce with a remnant of the fae. It is a fragile alliance, but an even greater danger awaits: the human and fae worlds may disappear forever. Only Aileana can save both worlds, but in order to do so she must awaken her latent Falconer powers. And the price of doing so might be her life…(goodreads)
I devoured all 500 pages in less than 24 hours, and I want more.
Plot: I rated The Falconer fairly highly because the characters all had chemistry (and sass), the worldbuilding was top notch, and the story engaged me. The Vanishing Throne was even better. The stakes are considerably higher and we see the 'war' aspect after the fae have descended upon Scotland. The Vanishing Throne is a lot darker than its predecessor which I really enjoyed. I was pleasantly surprised that May was able to brilliantly marry snark with tragedy so that the story didn't get too heavy at times.
The Vanishing Throne was a lot stronger plotwise because this is the book where things started coming together. We knew that there were fae in The Falconer but May omitted the important details like, "who are they?" "why are they trapped?" and "How is Kairan related to all of this?" The Vanishing Throne answers all of those pressing questions while still introducing new elements. If the cliffhanger in The Falconer destroyed you, prepare yourself for the last few chapters of The Vanishing Throne.
Characters: While I absolutely adored The Falconer, Kairan's character bothered me. I felt that we knew too little about him and that stopped his character from endearing himself to me. I fell head over heels in love with him in The Vanishing Throne, not only was his backstory explained, but his relationship with Aileana had that emotional impact which was missing in The Falconer.
Aileana is a brand new character as well. There were times where she reminded me of Feyre from A Court of Mist and Fury because of the hardships that she was forced to overcome. Her emotional transformation was both heartbreaking and inspiring.
With the change in the world, new characters are introduced as well, and all of them were remarkably written. I enjoyed seeing how the war changed some of Aileana's dearest friends and the new partnerships that were created because of necessity.
Worldbuilding: The awesome steampunk world that we were introduced to in The Falconer has changed dramatically. Besides being set in Scotland, we finally get a glimpse into the fae realm and its hierarchy. I loved the tone of this novel because I felt that it really helped shape how each world looked.
Short N Sweet: This series is becoming an instant favorite, and I will most likely be rereading this book before Fallen Kingdom is released. Buy it now!