For the Throne by Hannah Whitten
Orbit, pb, £8.18
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
Red and Eammon stopped the Five Kings from escaping the Shadowlands, but at the expense of Neverah. Red’s older twin and Valleyda’s Queen, Neverah, was pulled into the Shadowlands, the home of the Old Ones, with Solmir, the renegade King. She learns that the Shadowlands become more unstable as the Old Ones die, and if the Five Kings can absorb the Old Ones’ magic when they do, they can return to the world again. Solmir and Neve must stop them and absorb the magic first. But can Neve trust Solmir? He is one of the Five Kings, even if he has rebelled against them, and took the appearance of Neve’s betrothed to manipulate her. Everything Neve knows about him tells her he will betray her, but he is the only help she’s got if she wants to stop the Five Kings and return to Red and Valleyda.
For the Throne is the final book in Hannah Whitten’s duology and picks up where For the Wolf left off with Neve waking in a glass coffin with Solmir standing over her. Definitely not the prince she was hoping for. While the story does return to the other characters in Valleyda and Wilderwood, we focus on Neve’s development, and she is a fantastic character. She is tough, uncompromising and driven. I love her hard edges and prickly nature, and as the story progresses, Neve embraces those parts of her making her a formidable woman.
As with For the Wolf, Whitten has taken familiar fairy tales and turned them on their heads, giving the female characters more agency. For the Throne puts sisterly love centre stage as Red and Neve are both focused on reuniting at all costs. While there is plenty of romance, Red and Neve’s relationship is the most important to the characters and ultimate victory. This balance is essential as it did feel like all the characters were coupling up, which not everyone will appreciate, but I didn’t mind it. Sometimes, when there are many couplings in a novel, it can feel forced to create a happy ending. However, Whitten is skilful at crafting beautiful relationships, carefully pacing them, so the end result is natural and satisfying.
The pacing is solid throughout. The main focus is on Neve, but Red is still important, and the chapters weave between the sisters demonstrating how Neve’s actions in the Shadowlands impact Wilderwood and vice versa. This ups the pace at the end, making it impossible to put down.
For the Throne is an action-packed finale to this duology with emotional twists and turns that will leave you breathless. I broke my rule of ‘no review books’ on holiday to read this, and I couldn’t put it down. I can’t give it much higher praise than that. Highly recommended.