Fighting Fae in The Vanishing Throne

The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May



Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Steampunk
Author: Elizabeth May
Published: November 2015
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pages: 384 {hardback}

Original review on Goodreads

**To see any spoilers, click on the link provided and you will be redirected to my review on Goodreads where the spoiler will be ‘hidden’ at the same point in the review**

This series is so ridiculously good – I don’t understand why more people haven’t been reading this. I’M REALLY NOT OKAY ABOUT EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW, *dramatically yells Kiarraaann*. If you like books with Fae in them, fantasy, or Julie Kagawa’s The Iron Fey series then I cannot express enough how much you will LOVE this.

The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May

Honestly people, if you haven’t picked up this series yet then you are MISSING OUT. I absolutely loved this sequel to The Falconer and I can’t believe I have such a long wait until book three comes out. This series is just super cool and in a really fun setting – mid-1800s Edinburgh. I thoroughly enjoyed the magic, the action, and the tense romance between Aileana and Kiaran. I think I may have died from that cliff-hanger, however. Book three is going to be an explosion of madness and I can’t wait.

Magic and Faeries

This series follows Aileana, a young lady from the Scottish aristocracy who also happens to be a Falconer. A Falconer is always female and the powers are passed from mother to daughter. They are supposed to wield some sort of magical ability and their job is essentially to fight off the fae and protect the humans from them. Being set in the 19th century means that there’s a lot of fun to be had with Aileana’s mechanical inventions and the weird mix of petticoats and sword fighting. Basically, this is everything fans of fantasy could ask for in a YA novel.

If you haven’t read The Falconer then do not keep reading otherwise you’ll be spoiled.

In The Vanishing Throne we pick up from the catastrophic events of book one. The wards that kept the fae trapped for two thousand years (or it might’ve have been one thousand, I get confused) have broken, Aileana and Kiaran lost their battle to strengthen them and now the fae are free. The fae have burst out in their crazed hatred of humanity and literally destroyed the world. No I’m not kidding. It was BAD. But of course Aileana can do nothing because she’s been captured by Lonnrach and has no idea whether Kiaran is alive or dead. Tis a messy beginning to an epic adventure.

Throughout this book we follow Aileana as she tries to right the world and uncover the truth about her heritage. Not to mention she has to find her place in the order of things again – the world is not the same as it was. I believe this series is going to be a trilogy which means BRACE YOURSELF for book three can be nothing but incredible and destructive. She is a wonderful protagonist and I love her.

“After all, everyone thinks badgers are harmless right before they bite you.”

What I Loved

Everything. Har har. I’m a real sucker for books that have fae in them warring against each other and some poor human caught up in the middle of things. The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa is one of my favourite ever so if you haven’t read that then quick! What are you waiting for? I really love how this magical world works in 19th century Edinburgh. It’s a bit of an odd choice of setting when you think about it, and certainly not an easy one to make everything plausible but I loved it. One of the things that was particularly fantastic about this book was the fact that because the world is in shambles there’s not really time to continue the fancy ridiculousness of the past and we get to see the characters more as they would be in modern times.

We get to meet a couple of new characters in this book and I think I’ve found one of my new favourite leading ladies: Aithinne (which I pronounced ‘Ay-thee-en’, but really I have no idea). She’s such a quirky character and really brought the book to life. Instead of being stuck in the comings and goings of Aileana and Kiaran’s relationship we have the added spice of an hilarious sister who’s understanding of the human world is comical at best. There’s such a great rapport between them and this is something that I think is sorely lacking in so many books. If you’re reading the Throne of Glass series then you probably get my drift with Celaena’s latest female friendship in Queen of Shadows and how awesome that is to have female characters confiding between themselves instead of this overbearing focus on men and their hair that is perpetually blowing in the wind (accompanied with steel grey/cobalt blue/vivid green eyes). So yes, Aithinne and Aileana get along so well because they have so many things to share with their past experiences and I think this did wonders for the book.

“I’ve been bitten by some demonic woodland creature. My legs have been shredded by razor-sharp tress. We almost died. Easy? I’m getting you a damn dictionary.”

Rereading my review of the first book, I realised how much I apparently hated Catherine. So I just wanted to slip in this to say that Catherine was amazing in this book. According to past-me, she was an expendable and pathetic character in The Falconer, I can assure you that she is wonderful and very useful in this book and I’m really pleased at her character arc in this sense.

One other thing I loved was the way that May draws you into Aileana’s head. She’s constantly struggling, as she does in book one, with things that trigger her brutal memories and this is done by reiterating previous quotes. It’s creepy to say the least but perfect. It makes Aileana’s struggle to be normal and helpful much more real and relatable and keeps you sufficiently creeped out.

“The truth is, memories weigh a great deal. Each one bends your bones a little more until the heft of them wears you down. Now I know that some scars go so deep that they never fade.”

The last fantastic thing about this book is Derrick. Derrick is great and I want a pixie. That is all.

Just Quickly

I just want to take two seconds to appreciate HOW ADORABLE Kiaran is and I’m shipping him and Aileana so much it hurts. IT HURTS. This book was so rough for the two of them and I just want them to have a good smooch already. The drama between them is heart breaking and the difficulties that Aileana seems to be having with forgiving and accepting him is killing me. I mean, Kiaran is so damn hot I don’t know how she doesn’t just swoon every time she seems him.

The Continued Struggle of Scottish Gaelic

My only problem with this series is that I honestly have no idea how to pronounce any of the words that are written in this form of Gaelic (I don’t think it’s Scottish Gaelic but some sort of dialect? Ehh). When it’s French, Italian, or even some German, I can pull through. But I have no idea what sounds these words make and what I’m sure was meant to be a rather blush-worthy sentence becomes herbaderablkdi in my head. I do like that it’s different, but being picky about these things made it sort of really frustrating.

Let’s Talk About What Happened

There’s some pretty GIGANTICALLY HUGE things that happen in this book that I need to get off my chest. And most of these happened within the last 50 pages, of course. I’m very, very excited for the third book because I think there’s going to be a dramatic shifting of pace and I’m a little nervous as to what is going to happen to all the characters.



I definitely think this series is worth continuing with and I cannot wait for the release of book three. I loved how magical this book was and the character development was so exciting that I could do a dance. I really wish more people were reading this because it’s just so damn good. And let’s not even get me started on the amazing covers, *drools*.


View all my reviews

End Note

~~ Kirstie ~~

6 thoughts on “Fighting Fae in The Vanishing Throne

  1. So I couldnt’ read ALL of your post because I haven’t read The Falconer yet BUT NOW I REALLY WANT TO. OMG. I had no idea that I needed The Falconer in my life so bad. Why don’t people talk about this book more?!?! SCOTTISH GAELIC STUFFS?! YESSSSS. (Although I would die at the words too. And Welsh. My mind boggles so badly at any Welsh words that I basically just give up and my brain inserts a fuzzy mess instead of pretending to figure it out. Ahem. I digress.)
    So I need take myself too goodreads and make sure I have the first book added IMMEDIATELY.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES CAIT. My goodness, how have you gone this far in life without reading this series?!! The best part is when you put effort into imagining the characters taking in wee Scottish accents. Especially Kiaran *swoons*.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.