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The Falconer by Elizabeth May ARC {3 Stars}

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 ARC {3 Stars}

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?

3 Stars


  • 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!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 The Falconer by Elizabeth May

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. Thank you for the head’s up on this one. I’ve wanted it for a while. Although I am a bit nervous about the romance.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: She Is Not InvisibleMy Profile

    • Bleck romances conflict me so much! This series could have a great romance or it could get sappy quite, I just don’t know!

  2. I’ve heard so many good things about this one! I can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks for the great review!
    Kel recently posted…Fan Art Up! – Snow WhiteMy Profile

  3. Great review! I also loved the world building and even though I don’t always love broken characters, I did like how complex Aileana was. I enjoyed the fast pace, but you’re right that even more fleshing out of the awesome world would have been even better. I do think there are good cliffhangers, but this wasn’t one of them! I like for one subplot to be resolved per book, but I’m ok with other subplots continuing on. Some sense of resolution is nice. This book it felt like the author just stopped writing in the middle!
    Katie @ Doing Dewey recently posted…Top Ten Ways You Know You Have Too Many Books To ReadMy Profile

    • Hehe, I agree that as long as one plot concludes, others can continue on to the next book, but I neeeeeed the major plot of the book to resolve and not end mid scene D:

  4. I hate cliffhangers, but I like the premise of this book. I hope you review the second one, so I’ll know when it comes out.
    Lark @ The Bookwyrm’s Hoard recently posted…Sunday Post – 5/18/14My Profile

    • I’m definitely planning on it! The writing was so addictive that I’ll happily keep reading the series, haha.

  5. Ha! I liked this book, but I was also afraid of the love triangle popping up. I wonder if we’re going to revisit it in book two….

  6. I loved this one, especially because the fae were evil instead of cutesy. Totally agree on the ending though; it was a horrible cliffhanger and Elizabeth May needs to write the next one asap. I demand answers!
    Grace recently posted…“The Fault in Our Stars” by John GreenMy Profile

  7. I’m actually reading this one right now and liking it so far. It’s keeping my interest. Now that you’ve prepared me for the ending, it won’t come as too big of a shock for me.

    P.S. I like the pixie. Please say nothing happens to the pixie!!
    Incredibrarian recently posted…Incredibrarian…Issue #8My Profile

  8. hahaha, priority training is needed for so many MCs! I’m constantly shocked, sometimes appalled, by when they think kissing is appropriate. I loved this one as you know. So happy you enjoyed it too! The ending was rather brutal wasn’t it?

    • We should make a priority support group for heroines ;-). Yup, I have high hopes for the series as a whole though since I love the writing style so much!

  9. I’m back lol. When I saw on Bloglovin’ that you had a review up for The Falconer I couldn’t resist coming back! Ok so, Yes:Alternative Scotland. Yes: broken kick-ass heroines. Yes: fae. And Yes: Steampunk. The killer cliffhanger and the bits about the romance are kind of a buzzkill though o_O If I didn’t have a review copy, I think I’d actually wait till book 2 was out. I don’t mind certain unresolved issues at the end of a book but I hate when it just stops mid-action and then you feel like your version of the book is missing vital pages or something >.< I appreciate the warning though, I'd read quite a few reviews on this one but no one mentioned the massive cliffhanger. I'm glad you enjoyed this one for the most part though ^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: AllegiantMy Profile

    • Mwahahaha, I shall just keep drawing you in! Oo yeah, that’s a tough call, definitely worth reading as long as you can handle the suspense though ;-)


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