Elizabeth May, what have you done to me?! My emotions are TOYS in your hands. Gees, my heart! What a riveting, earth-shattering finale to The Falconer trilogy!
Title: The Fallen Kingdom (The Falconer #3)
Author: Elizabeth May
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release date: June 13, 2017
Length: 389 pages (U.S. hardcover)
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, fantasy, (some) steampunk
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “Deep in a forest, Aileana Kameron claws her way out of the earth. Back from the dead with no memory of who she is or what has happened to her, the Falconer now possesses even greater otherworldly powers and a ruthless instinct to kill—and the one piece of knowledge that can change everything.
Two fae monarchs, Aithinne and Kadamach, stand on the brink of war, and according to an ancient curse, one must die at the hand of the other or all the worlds will perish. Once, Kadamach was known as Kiaran, and he was mentor, protector, and lover to Aileana. Now, under the grip of the curse, his better nature seems lost forever.
Aileana’s only hope lies in the legendary Book of Remembrance, a book of spells so powerful that it can break the fae curse and even turn back time. But the book has been lost for centuries, and many are looking for it, including its creator, the Morrigan—a faery of terrifying malevolence and cruelty.
To obtain the book and defeat the Morrigan, Aileana must form an unthinkable alliance, one that challenges every vow she has made to herself—even as the powers that brought her to life are slowly but surely killing her.”
Truthfully, if I had read this book right after I finished The Vanishing Throne, I might have been able to rate it higher. While this book did hit the ground running, something felt off, but I seriously think it’s just me. This book pretty much ripped my soul into shreds. I was captivated by this series from book 1, and I knew May could do no wrong. She put my heart through the ringer in each book, and of course, this final book is no exception.
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Fae lore and faeries. Sarah J. Maas has sort of taken that lore and run with it until I feel burned out. Yet reading The Falconer trilogy, with its weaving of Fae into historical fiction and the taste of steampunk, I love it. Aileana is both vulnerable and strong, stubborn and heartfelt. She has loads of internal tension and a struggle within herself to do the right thing even if it means giving up the ones she loves. For her, it’s a sacrifice that she doesn’t even have to question, especially after the destruction wrought on her hometown of Edinburgh and how the Fae have turned her world upside down.
There are pieces to every character we love, things we want to find in ourselves, whether it’s in the compassion of Aileana’s best friend, Catherine, or her beloved pixie friend, Derrick (whose humor I could not get enough of). Despite some characters not being good, they were still characters I enjoyed following and listening to their story.
The story easily brings you into Aileana’s suffering world, and the choices Aileana must make. I like May’s writing style, too. It isn’t overly eloquent or too poetic that I find difficult to understand. She draws you in with her characters’ emotions. She wants to feel and tug on your heart. I found myself captivated and very much in love with these characters.
This is truly a fantastic and unique trilogy, one that I’ve continued and will continue to recommend to others. We don’t see many YA historical fictions, let alone ones that take place in Scotland! I’ll be on the lookout for whatever May writes next, and I hope it takes place in Scotland, too!