The Falconer by Elizabeth May (The Falconer #1)
Published May 6, 2014 by Chronicle Books, 378 pp.
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.
How goes it?
The Falconer is part historical fiction, part fantasy, and part steampunk, and if you feel like that’s a barrage of information – it actually is. The setting is certainly unique, and the action is definitely one of my favourite things about this. I’m not sure how I feel about Aileana apart from her Falconer persona, but the girl as a Falconer does manage to kick fae butt pretty well.
This book revolves around Aileana, a young lady who seemingly leads a perfect life – after all, she has money, a title, and beauty – most things people would wish for themselves. But after her mother’s death, she’s led a double life – proper lady by day, fae hunter by night. She’s learned the art of the hunt from Kiaran, who is fae himself but trains her to kill them, and continues to train with him while she follows the trail of the fae who killed her mother. The kills of the particular fae have increased, and it’s just a matter of time before it reaches Aileana’s city again. However, stronger, more dangerous fae have been popping up lately, and when the cat’s been let out of the bag that Aileana is the last of Falconers, she’s unprepared for the events that follow.
I really liked this. I may have felt betrayed by that ending but Aileana as a Falconer is a heroine I like. It’s like she’s missing all sorts of pieces of herself, but she’s not quite broken yet – she hasn’t quite gotten to terms over her mother’s death, her father’s virtually absent, and her only friend that knows everything is a pixie that mends her gowns whenever she comes home from hunting fae and her clothes are in tatters. She isn’t powerful, not yet – she can barely match Kiaran for speed – and she’s prone to bouts of sentimentality at the most inopportune times. I liked that she isn’t perfect, and despite every setback, she gets up and continues to fight.
The males in this are horrible – except for Derrick, who can have all the honey, and Gavin, who is somewhat of a comfort to Aileana, since he can see the fae as well. Kiaran — Kiaran can go. I don’t like the way he’s been with Aileana, a sort of hot/cold manner that doesn’t help her one bit. The females aren’t any better as well, with the exception of Catherine.
My favourite part of this is the action – it’s a constant in this book, and thankfully the action scenes are done really well. They’re descriptive, take you right into the middle of the scene, and there is blood. Aileana is constantly beaten up, stabbed, etc it’s a wonder the girl hasn’t died from blood loss with the frequency and severity of her injuries.
I guess if there’s a drawback to having too much action is that the plot pales in comparison? I try to remember the story between the fights but I guess if you’re a fae hunter everything tends to fade out.
I think most of my questions about this are about the steampunk aspect of things, because while I accepted along the way of reading this is that it’s the normal way of things in this universe, I just can’t wrap my head around the concept. Like I get the appeal, but I don’t quite get the science of it just yet. How do such modern contraptions exist in a time period like the one in this book? Just— how? I don’t quite get it yet.
There is minimal romance in this, or whatever romance there is feels rushed, and kind of last minute. Because while there are scenes that maybe have a spark, I figure that it’s just a natural reaction to having someone really good-looking in such close proximity. Mostly I feel that Aileana is just curious and wants to know more about Kiaran, and it’s got nothing to do with any romantic notions.
There are definitely questions that are left unanswered (and that blasted cliffhanger UGH) mostly concerning Kiaran and his past – who is this Falconer chick that he apparently didn’t love enough? What warranted that vow to Sorcha? What exactly was he before he was Kiaran MacKay?
If you’d like a different spin on historical fiction, I’d say pick this up. But not if you’re allergic to cliffhangers, like I apparently am. (No really do give this a spin, go ahead.)