Review – The Vanishing Throne

The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer No.2) – Elizabeth May

Gollancz, 2015

Alieana thought the end of the world would be simple: either she would save the rest of the humanity from the hordes of murderous fae crossing over from their realm into Scotland, or she would die trying. But she did not die, and humanity was not saved. Held captive by her enemy Lonnrach in the dying fae realm, she is tortured for information that he believes will save his people – information Alieana doesn’t think she has. When she finally escapes, it is into the wreck of a world upon which the monsters of fairy tales have been unleashed. The people she loves most have changed, and she’s no longer sure who to trust. To stand a chance at turning the tide, she will have to come into her own as a Falconer. If she can survive long enough.

This series began with The Falconer, which followed a classic ‘secret superhero’ pattern with Alieana fighting monsters by night and keeping up appearances as an eccentric debutante by day. The Vanishing Throne is a complete change of pace from the word go, turning Scotland into a dystopian wasteland, and it took me a while to get into the story from this radically different angle. I am not a huge fan of dystopias or of creatures so powerful they cannot be fought by ordinary people, which May’s fae certainly are. But Alieana. I loved her the first time around and I loved her even more in this, especially her interactions with Aithinne. I am tired of stories that tell angry women to be gentler, or hurt women to be more forgiving, and May handles issues of guilt and betrayal with very satisfying skill. The Vanishing Throne was an invigorating breath of fresh air, and when the third Falconer book comes out in 2017, I’ll definitely be reading it.

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