The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May

The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth MayThis is the end of a trilogy and I have not read the prior two books, but as a sign of the skillful writing, what I didn’t know could be drawn from context or what is spoken by the characters. I never felt frustrated because of what I didn’t know. The author does a good job revealing information as necessary and often through the renewed conflicts between the characters. It doesn’t hurt that the story begins with Aileana reborn without her memories. We learn not just what’s important now, but also what had been important to her before alongside Aileana herself.

I was enthralled first by Aileana’s voice, despite the ignorance, and then by the story itself as a dark tale unfolded that explores the limits of personality and costs of hatred. It shows as much as tells about the stains that twist a soul, whether immortal or human, and the fight against this decline into darkness. It does become very dark to the point that even I lost hope for a bit, driven in part by events that brought tears to my eyes.

The story is complex, and the characters compelling whether old enemies or lost friends. No one gets an easy pass in this tale, but must face their demons and losses again and again while the world is literally crumbling around them. The book brings in Gaelic mythology, and an interesting premise for both fae immortality and the relationships between human and fae.

The book feels as though it has the weight of history behind it, and nothing is sure. It speaks to the complexity that I feel I cannot be specific without revealing something ahead of its time. Everything builds in the story on what happened before this book and what happens in the book, and I try my best to avoid spoilers.

This isn’t the book for everyone because of the darkness, but I’m happy to have read it and happy to recommend it as well. I have a huge to-be-read pile, but may be adding the two previous books to it simply to see the characters (and the cast is quite large, but each has a role to play) before their world came crashing down, though from what I’ve surmised from this book, I’m expecting character, not lightness.

P.S. I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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