Series: The Falconer #1
Published by Chronicle Books on September 19th, 2013
Genres: young adult, fantasy, steampunk, alternate history
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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.
Pixie and I participated in Epic Recs last month, where she made a great pick for me: The Falconer by Elizabeth May.
I was excited when Pixie recommended this to me for our Epic Recs in October. I have owned this book for a while, and I have been looking for an excuse to get to it. Also, fantasy/paranormal/ etc books just fit the mood in the fall.
I had kept away from the description and the basic concepts before I read it, so I was very shocked that this was about fae, but more old school fairies, the kind that parents described to children to scare them into compliance. I have always had a great fascination and respect for an edgier, harder fae race, and this one was just a perfect touch between modern ideas and more historical accurate fae folk.
I also really enjoyed the alt-universe, steampunk approach to Scotland, a place where I rarely see YA wander (if they go in this direction, I notice that stories settle with Ireland more often). So I was pleased to have a Scottish writer introduce an authentic Scottish setting. The steampunk was also a great touch. Steampunk is a hit or miss for me, and this one made it work, and incorporated the novelty seamlessly, and added that extra pop to the story.
I actually enjoyed the characters, and Aileana was a wonderfully balanced woman of high society and spunky protest. I rather thought it was refreshing to see a character set in an old-fashioned, Victorian-like setting to actually fit in. There wasn’t the quirky, trail-blazing girl who damned the man and was still accepted, except for a handful of hateful (mostly) females. Those are fun, but they’re not always realistic. Sometimes, I think we forget that living under such conditions where the female is set in the oppressing role, it wasn’t by choice most of the time. Witch burning wasn’t always confined to one era. The gender was oppressed with threats and public humiliation, and at the time, it was acceptable. The parts were played out of fear of retaliation. There might have been enough silver-tonged and rich women to get away with “obscene” behavior, but females not acting according to her station didn’t live to see a long life. I applaud May for approaching this dilemma with honesty and integrity. It made me love the book so much more.
The constant obsessing and drive by the female MC was also a great way to set up the tragedy of the role while keeping away from the sappy non-problems that sometimes will crop up. She wasn’t choosing between love or money, or between a brooding stranger and a well-known friend. She was honestly worried about her future while seeking for vengeance against the murder of her mother. She was trapped in a loop of vengeance and personal pain.
The only part I never cared for was the (very) forced romance. I never really got into it. I didn’t dislike the two of them together, but it didn’t really work for me. (Sad, I know).
Wonderful story, great concept, wonderful female lead, iffy romance. I’m excited to read the rest!