Red and the Wolf have finally contained the threat of the Old Kings but at a steep cost. Red’s beloved sister Neve, the First Daughter is lost in the Shadowlands, an inverted kingdom where the vicious gods of legend have been trapped for centuries and the Old Kings have slowly been gaining control. But Neve has an ally–though it’s one she’d rather never have to speak to again–the rogue king Solmir.
Solmir wants to bring an end to the Shadowlands and he believes helping Neve may be the key to its destruction. But to do that, they will both have to journey across a dangerous landscape in order to find a mysterious Heart Tree, and finally to claim the gods’ dark, twisted powers for themselves.
The Wilderwood has been contained but at what cost. Red is determined to do whatever it takes to rescue Neve from the shadowlands, the place filled with the old gods of legend, and where the Kings of old are plotting to return to the world and take over. Luckily, she isn’t alone. Trapped alongside Solmir, the one person she refuses to trust, Neve has to learn to traverse this world of magic and mayhem if she is to help him bring an end to the shadowlands and the Kings once and for all. But not everything is as simple as it seems, to do this Red and Neve will need to travel to the mysterious heart tree and maybe just become monsters themselves if they are to save everyone that they love.
For the Throne is a stand out sequel and ending to Whitten’s duology, and I think I may have preferred this to book one thanks in large part to it being told from mainly Neve’s POV. In book one I really empathised with Neve. Her decisions, though not always well thought out, always came from the best of intentions, her determination to save her sister from the fate that a few minutes gave her, but in this book she absolutely shines as a character. She grows into her own person, and although her need to save Red and those she loves is still there, she gives herself the chance to become something more, to think and feel for herself, about herself, and she quickly comes to realise that while Red was made for the light, she was made for the darkness. Her conviction and outright bravery, even in the direst of situations was definitely something to behold, and I loved seeing her come out of her shell and grow into the person she was destined to be.
Though Neve was by far the main POV we also get chapters from Red who is dealing with the new form the Wilderwood has taken, learning to test new boundaries and trying to find out what has happened to her sister, as well as Raffe who is trying to hold the Kingdom together with a missing Queen. I loved the inclusion of some of my favourite characters from book one, and especially enjoyed the new ones we get introduced too. Whitten keeps our group small, there’s a tight knit group of MC’s and some side characters that make small appearances, but this just means that we get a true deep dive into our characters and ensure that we fall in love with every single one.
As with book one, Whitten graces us with a well built, equally beautiful and horrific magic system. The magic of the Shadowlands may be darker than that of the Wilderwood, but it is equally as dangerous to those who wield it. Fueled by the magic taken from destroying the offspring of God’s, Neve toes a thin line between needing to protect herself and making sure she doesn’t loose her soul to the shadowlands for good. Alongside this we have Red and Eammon needing to test the boundaries of their new magic thanks to the changing of the Wilderwood and the polarity between the two, between darkness and light, seemingly good and bad was brilliantly done.
If there’s one thing I love about these books it’s Whitten’s writing style, it’s delicious and enticing and just effortlessly drags you into the story. She manages to make you feel the bleakness of the Shadowlands, the magic of the Wilderwood through her descriptive writing, while also using it to give us further insight into our two main characters. Her use of foreshadowing and plot twists was so beautifully done and she manages to write a book that is both something you want to savour and something you find impossible to put down. Whitten brings a lot of different elements and plot points to this story, Red’s wanting to save Neve, Solmir’s determination to kill the Kings, the need to destroy the shadowlands, the development of new relationships and the cementing of old ones, but she weaves them all together so incredibly seamlessly that you never feel overwhelmed.
Whitten develops a whole bunch of different relationships through this story. We see Red and Eammons love grow for each other, Neve & Solmir’s delicious enemies to lovers, as well as plenty of other’s both romantic and platonic that get addressed, but throughout this whole series there has been one relationship that has stood out above the rest and that is the love between Red and Neve. They would do absolutely anything to save the other, even if it meant death, and even though we get to see their romantic relationships develop throughout the story, we also see their desperation to get back to one another, no matter the cost. P.S. If you’re an enemies to lovers fan you need to pick up this book because the tension and drama was just off the charts.
For the Throne was the perfect ending to this duology. Whitten has created something special with this series and I am incredibly excited to see what she has in store for us next.