The Falconer by Elizabeth May

The Falconer

“Sometimes the memories we cling hardest too are the ones that hurt us the most.”

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?

Book Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters | Goodreads

Personal Thoughts:

If fae stories will always be this good, I think I can finally put an end in my usual routine of avoiding books that deals directly with this magical creatures. Though there are books that has faery twist or fae characters that I have enjoy reading most books that directly focus to this magical creatures are missed than hit for me. The Falconer is actually the first YA faery fantasy reads that I really enjoy.

It’s a surprise for me to love this book and the faery characters inside its world. It’s like I was magically converted or put enthralled by this magical creatures, almost like faestruck by them. The book’ spells wrap me up in a way I never expected.

Aileana Kameron aka Kam kills feary for revenge. After witnessing the death of her mother whom killed by a faery, she promised to hunt down the fae that kill her mom. With the help of Kiaran, another faery who happens to be at the opposite side of the battle, Aileana study and trained herself killing fearies. Her list of kills grow almost every night and she look forward for the day that her next kill is the one faery who kill her mom and destroyed her life.

Scotland in 1800 is just a perfect setting for this story. With the huge fae folklore from that country and the old but majestic vibes it just so fitting. Elizabeth not only utilize the setting but also creatively build an authentic and realistic environment for her story and characters. The description of things and surroundings are vivid and alive.

The steampunk touch in the story is just perfect enough. Too much doze of steampunk is not really for me so I’m glad The Falconer deliver just enough for my liking. The fantasy and the steampunk kinda jives perfectly. Nothing too much which makes the story flow easily.

And since I love actions, I love all the glory details describe in Aileana’s fights or the faery killings. From her different attacks/moves to the name of her weapons. I also like the fact that she is making her own weapons, from conceptualizing, sketching and even testing them. It shows not only her talents but also her brilliant mind.

Ailena is definitely a strong heroine – both physically and mentally. Her development from an innocent young girl whose goal is to find love and marriage as expected by the society to a girl who is driven by revenge is well executed. All the hatred that push her to be a liar, and a killer is believable. All her actions and decisions are justified by her lost. It’s her way of coping up and I think she earned the right to be like that. For a girl in the year 1844, Aileana is a definitely a kick-ass heroine.

“Time won’t fix me. Time allows me to become more skillful at hiding how much I hurt inside. Time makes me a great liar. Because when it comes to grief, we all like to pretend.”

Then we have Derrick, Aileana’s little sidekick pixie who lives in her dressing room, fixing her clothes for honey. This little creature contribute a lot of fun in the plot. He’s silly in the most endearing way. I can’t help but smile or laugh every time he shows in the plot. He is Aileana’s loyal companion and very helpful friend. Love this little creature to bit. If only I have one like him in my dressing room too.

To those who are looking for romance, The Falconer has a little bit, but it will require so much patience to its readers. It’s not dragging but more on something that exist but wasn’t quite given focus. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just me and my over imagination and too much anticipation. The hints are clearly there (or at least for me) but Aileana and Kiaran are both focus on their goal eliminating faeries along their way to entertain the possibility of romance between them. For me, this works very well, not only because it is realistic as both of them have their priorities but also it made me glued waiting for the some development. It doesn’t clouded the plot with oozing sweetness instead it give me something to hope and look forward to.

“Kiaran and I have little connection beyond our names. We battle, bleed and hunt together almost every night. He teaches me how to slaughter in the most effective, brutal ways possible. But I’ve never told Kiaran why I hunt, and he has never told me why he kills his own kind. This is our ritual, our dance. The only one that matters.”

Aside from the fantasy, this book is also a story of grief as it tells Aileana’s life after losing her mother from the hand of a faery. Not only she lost her mother, but also the one and only confidante she has. Her father is not much close to her. He doesn’t even recognize Aileana’s present but there is a reason behind this.

The ending is abrupt but promise a darker and more painful continuation to Aileana’s search for revenge.

Overall, The Falconer is an impressive start to this new steampunk fantasy series. It is a fast and surprising read that bewitch me from start to end. You’ll definitely enjoy this dark but surprising-light novel from an impressive newly debut author, Elizabeth May.

* This review is based on an advance readers copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Chronicle Books in exchange of honest opinion.


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