The Falconer by Elizabeth May is the best kind of fantasy involving faeries: the kind where the MC is on a mission to kill the evil buggers! The Falconer combines an awesome steampunk version of Scotland with all my favorite evil faery legends to make a fun and action-packed book. While The Falconer stumbled a bit at the end, it is an addictive read and I’m dying a bit for the sequel.
Note: I received The Falconer through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Falconer by Elizabeth May (The Falconer #1)
Published by Chronicle Books on May 6th, 2014 (US)
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Steampunk, YA
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.
Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844
Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.
Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.
But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?
- I can’t get over how much I loved the setting of The Falconer. There are fun steampunk inventions all over the place and Aileana likes to tinker on top of it all. Aileana also uses a nice amount of Scottish words/slang that most readers will recognize, so I easily gave her a Scottish accent in my head. All of this combines to bring to life this alternative Scotland and it is just too much fun.
- I’m a fan of broken main characters and Aileana is rather broken. She saw her mother die in front of her a year ago and the rumor mill likes to blame her for the murder. This event has affected Aileana pretty deeply, which I found refreshing since it seems too many MCs these days are able to just shrug off those sorts of things.
- The writing of The Falconer is fast and action-packed. It often will fade to black on any scenes that are mundane and instead skip straight to the next bit of action. I blew through this one and enjoyed having an easier read.
- May is exceptionally talented at writing banter! I was laughing frequently despite the gruesomeness of events because Aileana and her various companions are just so snarky. None of her companions much like each other either, making the snark even better.
- Secondary characters can really shape a book and The Falconer has some great secondary characters. There is a pixie, Derrick, who loves honey and hates Aileana’s fighting partner, Kiaran. Then there are Aileana’s human friends who have no idea what is causing her to disappear from every ball they take her to, but try their best to cover for her. I also really enjoyed Aileana’s maid and butler even though they are only on the periphery since even in their few scenes, May is able to convey their personalities strongly.
- When you first start The Falconer, you’ll think the romance is going one way, then you’ll get confused and eventually things become clearer. I really didn’t like how the romance ended up and found it annoying when big battles were happening. We really need to force all MCs to go through priorities training…. Kill first, kiss second is all I’m saying.
- The Falconer has the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers and not in a good way (is there a good way? I don’t know). I knew it was coming because there was no way the action could wrap up in the page that was left and, surprise! It didn’t. The ending of The Falconer is literally smack dab in the middle of the big epic battle with nothing resolved. If you can’t take that, wait for book two.
- While The Falconer is nicely action-oriented, I felt that the smaller details were sacrificed for the action. I wanted more details about Aileana’s inventions or the fae and the main conflict. As action scenes were playing out, I found myself not able to remember why things had to play out this way to begin with.
- The Falconer doesn’t quite jump into love triangle territory since Aileana clearly states that she isn’t in anyway interested in one of the guys in her life, but it still seems like dangerous territory. I really hope that a love triangle does not end up manifesting, but it easily could in subsequent books.
I was sure that The Falconer was going to be at least a four-star book when I was in the middle of it. Then it tripped right before the finish line and broke my heart. If you don’t mind slightly annoying romances and cliffhangers, you definitely should read The Falconer because the rest is awesome. If cliffhangers or romances of annoyance are a pet peeve of yours, The Falconer might not be the book for you. However, I am still really excited for the sequel because I must know what happens next!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Falconer by Elizabeth May
© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.