Title: The Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Series: The Falconer, #1
Format: Hardback, bought
My rating: 4.5 / 5
One girl's nightmare is this girl's faery tale.
She's a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.
She's a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. She's leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.
She's a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.
She's a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother's murder—but she'll have to save the world first.
The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.
-- As seen on Goodreads
What and awesome surprise The Falconer turned out to be! It was everything I hoped it would be, and a whole lot more. The story is set in 1844 Edinburgh, and follows debutant Alieana Kameron who juggles the expectations placed on her by the society of the day, and hunting down and slaughtering the Fae that killed her mother. Both the writing style and Aileana’s first-person narration had me hooked right from the beginning of the book, and I didn’t want it to end.
Steampunk is a genre I want to love, but in the past I’ve often felt swamped in vague descriptions of machines and gadgets that don’t make much sense. I knew there were steampunk elements in The Falconer, and I’ve got to admit when I began reading I was a little worried it would be more of the same. I needn’t have worried as the steampunk that’s presented here is PERFECT for me! It was subtle steampunk, and I LOVED it! I didn’t feel battered over the head with endless prattle about cogs, wheels and bolts – it’s there, and yes, vital to the story, but it isn’t the main focus. The Fantasy and Fae elements are the main focus, and as a complete Fantasy addict, this is exactly what I love.
More often than not I find my overall opinions of a book stem from my like or dislike of the main characters. This doesn’t seem to be changing much as I completely LOVED the characters in The Falconer! I had put off starting the book for a while, thinking the characters might be too similar to the Throne of Glass series. Yeah, there might be a few similarities between Alieana and Celaena on the surface, but where Celaena is a complete egomaniac, Aileana is more grounded and isn’t afraid to own up to her vulnerabilities. Honestly, right now, I greatly prefer Aileana over Celaena. She’s easier to like, genuinely cares about the people in her life, and she’s more down to earth and warm-hearted that Celaena will ever be. Plus, she isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, invents and hand-crafts deadly weapons to kill all Fae that needs killing without batting an eyelid. She has all the signs of becoming one of my favourite characters as the series progresses, and I can’t wait to see how her story arc develops in future books.
There is something I absolutely love finding in a book, and that’s a slow-burning romance. Yep, there is one here, and yep, it was quite torturous to read, but oh so incredibly sweet and perfect. We’re introduced Kieran MacKay early on and I began liking his character pretty quickly. He’s one of the daoine síth, and also Aileana’s Fae-fighting partner who helped train her to fight the Fae in the first place. I absolutely LOVED the chemistry and the constant banter between Alieana and Kiaran – it was fabulous! Also, I kinda ended up completely falling for Kiaran. Not that that would make me biased or anything… *blinks innocently*. When Gavin appeared later on in the book, I was a bit worried that a love-triangle would develop, but I’m so thankful that wasn’t the case.
I will hold up my hand and say The Falconer might not be the most original or ground breaking fantasy book out there, but for me, it deserves all the stars possible for being entertaining. I devoured the pages wanting to know what was going to happen next, only to arrive at the ending and realise that the book had ended on the cruellest most heart wrenching and panic-inducing cliff-hanger ending I’ve read in years. It. Was. Painful. PAINFUL! Oh, if only there was another, oh, what, 50 pages to ease the agony?! Please, I beg you! Unfortunately, the wait time to the next book in the series is just as cruel! There is an addition to the end of the book in the form of a Bestiary, which contains Aileana’s notes about the Fae she’s encountered and learned about, and it’s just as entertaining to read as the rest of the book. It might have helped ease the horror I felt after I read the ending … but only a little bit!
Overall, I loved The Falconer. Combining an awesome slow-burn romance, subtle steampunk and awesome characters, I couldn’t have asked for a better book to read. The cruel, cruel, cruel ending is the only reason why I didn’t give a full 5 star rating. Despite the ending, I loved The Falconer, and I’d definitely recommend giving the book a shot… just be prepared for the ending! (And don’t say I didn’t warn ya!)