Unlike the first book where Kam was forced to straddle the fine line between the high-born lady that she was and the sword-wielding assassin that she was at night, there was none of that here which helped a great deal. In the previous book, I felt that a lot of the time was wasted in Kam trying to avoid suspicion and still go about her nightly duties. However, those glimpses were also important in establishing just how far she had come from the person she used to be and it also introduced us to Catherine, one of the best characters in the entire series so far.
The pace of The Vanishing Throne was feverish with never a dull moment. There was always something happening with the pursuers just a few steps behind them, it turned into a real cat and mouse game that was fairly well executed. The stakes felt real and that was a very pleasant change. And though there were brief moments of respite, there was always a sense of impending doom looming over those stolen moments.
The characters were great and I loved how normal Kam was. She was flawed and just as bloodthirsty as the fae she hunted. In The Vanishing Throne, she saw that part of herself and tried to change and to a large part, even succeeded. And while she was strong, she was also vulnerable. Though, she did feel a lot of guilt over the way things ended in The Falconer, she never tried making excuses and kept trying to set things right.
I liked Kieran. One of my favourite parts of the first book was that the romance was very understated. It helped because there was simply no time for it. The same is true here but with the stakes so much higher, I could understand their need for intimacy. It never interfered with the main plot and only served to make the characters more human. Kieran also treats her with respect and as an equal. And when he felt that she was romanticizing him, he’s quick to set her right and disillusion her. He doesn’t want her to love an illusion, but see him for who he really is and everything he’s done, good and bad.
I loved Aithinne, Kieran’s sister. She was funny and just a wee bit unstable (but in a good way) and I liked the bond between the two women. They came together and became true allies, perhaps because of what they suffered at the hands of Lonnrach. Aithinne was strong and resilient and willing to help Kam even when it meant that she would suffer for it or that it would leave her weakened.
Catherine was a sweetheart and I would have hated the book had anything happened to her. She was Kam’s one remaining friend and I loved that she never lost her light. She didn’t become bitter and hateful. She survived and came into her own. She stood up for Kam and she didn’t need for her to pass any test to know and trust her friend.
Derrick was amazing and I was so glad to see more of him. It was also nice to know that he was still stitching elaborate dresses and didn’t care that Kam no longer had anywhere to wear them to. He didn’t let that stop him. But there was also deep sadness to him and we learned more about that. His bond to Kam is deeper than just friendship, they became family and genuinely care for each other.
Gavin was another story altogether. I thought he was a decent character in The Falconer, but in this book I could not stand him. First, he subjected Kam to excruciating pain and he lied to her about it. He knew what would happen and how bad it would be and he didn’t even warn her. He didn’t bother asking her what she had gone through. Just because her face was unmarked, he assumed that she hadn’t suffered. He was a self-pitying idiot and I had no patience for him.
Then there was Daniel who was an absolute boor in the beginning but managed to redeem himself (somewhat) Moreover, I can understand why he did what he did. He didn’t know Kam and he didn’t know what she was, unlike Gavin. I still didn’t like him all that much but it was clear that he clearly loved Catherine and that was enough.
The bad guys just kept coming back. There was Sorcha and let’s not forget Lonnrach. I don’t know who was worse. And sadly, neither of them are dead so they’re sure to return for the next book. I am really hoping Aithinne kills him considering what he did to her and Kam. He has it coming. Sadly, Sorcha can’t die, not unless her bond to Kieran is somehow severed.
Like with the previous book, this one too ended with a cliffhanger. While it isn’t as bad as The Falconer, it is still a painful wait, especially since the next book will come out sometime in 2017 and that is so far away!!!