Why did I choose to read this book?
For the Wolf had such a cliffhanger ending that I had to get my hands on For the Throne. Whitten tends to ramble a bit in the middle of her books, but I already knew that her endings are to die for so I read this one all the way through even though it felt like running a marathon.I had to know how it all ended.
What is this book about?
Neve has taken in the darkness and must now traverse the Shadowlands in an attempt to find her way back home. She has a dark magic now that a fallen king, Solmir, helps her hold and control, and together they will try to take out the Kings for good. Whether or not Neve chooses to act to save the world or to save herself is the driving force of this book’s plot. Red and Eammon are still there too, but they are now the holders of the Wilderwood instead of its guardians. Red is working overtime to try to figure out how to get Neve out of the Shadowlands, and along the way they learn history and myth may be playing out right before their eyes.
What is notable about the story?
This book plays with the question of what is good and what is evil, and whether anything can exist in the gray areas in between. It also extends the idea of choice and agency from what we saw Red do in For the Wolf. Neve chooses to take in the darkness and is sucked into the Shadowlands, and eventually has to make other questionable choices to lead us to the ending.
Perhaps just as notable is the notion of saving others versus saving yourself. Part of this story is that Red cannot reach Neve to save her, and she cannot force Neve to choose to save herself. The frustration of the patience and control it takes to wait for someone to do what they need to do to be okay is such an important concept to raise here, and I’m glad Whitten did. Neve gets to choose her path, her fate, and her role in the resolution of this story. I think this less discussed version of agency is essential to the story: Neve needs to learn that you can’t always save others (no matter how hard you try or bleed), but you can control your own destiny. Sometimes trying to help can cause more harm than good and create a break in a relationship that is difficult to heal.
Was anything not so great?
Similar to my criticism of For the Wolf, I felt that the middle ran a little long here as well. Solmir and Neve traveling through the Shadowlands took a loooooooong time (purposefully for their relationship to grow, I get it) and the “I’m a Monster or am I Good?” discussion was almost as repetitive as the bleeding out in For the Wolf. This book also felt waaaaaay longer to read than For the Wolf. I read For the Wolf as a physical book, and I received For the Throne as an ebook DRC, so maybe the difference in format played a part in that feeling, but this book definitely took me longer to read even though I was reading it every day.
What’s the verdict?
Again, 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads because I got a bit bored in the middle, but this was an excellent conclusion to the duology and the inclusion of the “where are they now” epilogue was much appreciated. This is a set of stories you will enjoy reading. You will care about the characters and the world they are trying to navigate and save. Highly recommend: you won’t be disappointed.
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