Thursday, June 8, 2017

Book Review: The Fallen Kingdom

Title: The Fallen Kingdom (The Falconer #3)
Author: Elizabeth May
Genre: Young Adult | Historical Fantasy | Romance | Action
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC

The long-awaited final book in the Falconer trilogy is an imaginative tour-de-force that will thrill fans of the series. Aileana Kameron, resurrected by ancient fae magic, returns to the world she once knew with no memory of her past and with dangerous powers she struggles to control. Desperate to break the curse that pits two factions of the fae against each other in a struggle that will decide the fate of the human and fae worlds, her only hope is hidden in an ancient book guarded by the legendary Morrigan, a faery of immense power and cruelty. To save the world and the people she loves, Aileana must learn to harness her dark new powers even as they are slowly destroying her. Packed with immersive detail, action, romance, and fae lore, and publishing simultaneously in the UK, The Fallen Kingdom brings the Falconer's story to an epic and unforgettable conclusion (goodreads).

This is a series that I will hold close to my heart, and I'm so happy that it went out with a bang. 
Plot: Both The Falconer and The Vanishing Throne ended with devastating cliffhangers and I must say, I'm impressed with May's ability to catch readers up without info dumping. The Fallen Kingdom took place two months after the showdown and just like in The Vanishing Throne, the world of The Fallen Kingdom has changed drastically. Aileana found herself at the start of the war between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts and must address Kiaran's unleashed murderous nature. This book definitely had the most action, which was surprising because I think it was the shortest novel of the trilogy. May kept the hits coming and I was overwhelmed by how easily she could make me cry. I'm hoping she considers returning to this world one day, because I don't want to let go. 

Characters: Aileana's character shifted slightly with every novel and I was most interested to see this new Aileana cope with understanding the girl she had become. Despite being very mature for her age, Aileana had undergone many traumas, enough that she was able to identify "Before Aileana" and "After Aileana." Her desperation to find and understand herself tugged at my heart and I loved how much time May gave to Aileana's development. 

And then there is Kiaran who went through a complete 180. In The Fallen Kingdom, Aileana and Kiaran were challenged at every turn and there were times where it seemed like all was lost. I loved the layers that we explored with all characters and how May was able to make some villains sympathetic. Maybe this is from the size,  but I was hoping that some characters would get more attention and explanation of their decisions. The Vanishing Throne went above and beyond in analyzing character motivation and helping the reader get in their heads and I didn't feel the same amount of detail in this final installment. I wish this book could have been 200 pages longer because I know the author would have found another nugget to explore that would help shape the story. 

Worldbuilding: The realms were crumbling, the landscape was bleak, and May's writing foreshadowed the awaited apocalypse. This is the darkest of the three books and I'm thoroughly impressed with May's ability to balance war and death with levity and kissing. 

Short N Sweet: I wish that Elizabeth May will consider exploring this world again in the future because there are so many other stories to tell! 

Thanks to the baes Nick, Morgan, and Wendy for buddy reading with me!


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